Posts Tagged ‘World Book Night’

Happy World Book Night!

For more information, go to the WBN website at


As it is World Book Night tonight (and i was unable to visit one of the live events going on around the country due to work commitments) i watched BBC2’s series of book programs put together especially for tonight.

We started with A Million Books For Free: A Culture Show Special, which showed the preparations for WBN and went through the books which were being distributed, and followed some of the WBN book givers as they explained why they had chosen their book and showed them distributing the books to people. It also talks to the authors, and in between tonight’s shows, the BBC picks up live coverage at places like Glasgow and London as people celebrate and swap books. It was a very interesting program, as i havent read many of the books being given away and it’s made me want to read more widely!

A Million Books For Free: A Culture Show Special

The next program was The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special where Sue Perkins explores the bestsellers lists in a bid to find out what people really read, as she and many others are into more difficult literary fiction, so she discovers what is so good about crime, romance and thriller novels. This was quite an interesting program as i can differentiate between difficult literary fiction and bestselling fiction, but didnt realise quite how different the two are, but obviously bestsellers sell more because they are easier to read. I’m afraid i wasnt so interested in the romance bit because i don’t like that genre very much, even though i do own a few such books, but its just not very exciting for me!

The Books We Really Read: A Culture Show Special

The next program was New Novelists: 12 of the Best from The Culture Show which introduced us to some new authors and how they aspire to be the next big thing. It was interesting to see the new talent, and i hope they do well (which will likely happen as they are getting a fair amount of coverage on tv tonight!). It makes you think about what you want from a book, so that’s pretty crucial in determining which books make it to the shelves.

New Novelists: 12 of the Best from The Culture Show

The programs were all very interesting and its good that the BBC is making an effort to promote books as there havent been many programs about books on tv until now. One particular quote which stood out for me was when Ali Karim (a Stieg Larsson/Crime fiction fan) says:

“[on crime fiction] Its nice for the bad guys to get a good biffing now and then, compared to the reality, because we all know: good things happen to bad people as well as bad things happen to good people. I have an extremely stressful day job, i’m under time pressure, i have got family issues, i’ve got kids going to university and all that nonsense, and money’s tight and all this. The way to cope with it is sit down and read a book…. and what i said to my wife, i said thankgod this serial killer isnt after me, my life is so much better than being trailed by a bloody serial killer, and she said i think you need therapy, and i said, therapy, books are my therapy.”

That last bit rings true with me, and i’m sure it does with everyone else – when life starts getting on top of you, books are a great form of escape and indeed are very therapeutic!


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Image via Wikipedia

World Book Night was launched yesterday evening (2nd December), a vision which sees 20,000 people being chosen to distribute 1 million free books to people they know, in a bid to get more people reading.

World Book Night finalises giveaway list – The

The list of books available to giveaway goes as follows:

Kate Atkinson – Case Histories (Black Swan)

Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin (Virago)

Alan Bennett – A Life Like Other People’s (Faber/Profile)

John Le Carré – The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Penguin)

Lee Child – Killing Floor (Bantam)

Carol Ann Duffy – The World’s Wife (Picador)

Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage)

Seamus Heaney – Selected Poems (Faber)

Marian Keyes – Rachel’s Holiday (Poolbeg/Penguin)

Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin)

Ben Macintyre – Agent Zigzag (Bloomsbury)

Gabriel García Márquez –
Love in the Time of Cholera (Penguin)

Yann Martel – Life of Pi (Canongate)

Alexander Masters – Stuart: A Life Backwards (Fourth Estate)

Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance (Faber)

David Mitchell – Cloud Atlas (Sceptre)

Toni Morrison – Beloved (Vintage)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun (Fourth Estate)

David Nicholls – One Day (Hodder)

Philip Pullman – Northern Lights (Scholastic)

Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front (Vintage)

C J Sansom – Dissolution (Pan)

Nigel Slater – Toast (Fourth Estate)

Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin)

Sarah Waters – Fingersmith (Virago)

As you can see, it is quite a good selection of books. Its quite a good incentive to get more people reading books, and as it is backed by various publishers, it gives them a good marketing strategy for the future.

However, one could argue that those less charitable people who are chosen to distribute free books may decide to sell them and make themselves a profit. But of course, the books will still be read by anyone who gets hold of them (whether they buy them or get them free) because that’s the whole point of a book – to be read!

This whole experiment is basically like a larger-scale version of buying books and lending them to people within your group of friends, family and acquaintances, only the books are free to acquire, your friends keep the books AND get hold of some high quality reading material! It just seems like a great way to spread the word about a good book and ensure more people have to opportunity to experience reading such a book!

As Margaret Atwood is quoted in the above article: “World Book Night is truly an astonishing vision! It mirrors the way books really do move in the world – from one passionate reader to another. But this one night will be white water rafting, with books!”

So true!