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Friday, March 11, 2011

What's Better Than a Free Book? How About a Million of Them....

Posted by Alana T.

One million books (40,000 copies each of 25 different titles) were distributed free last Saturday night across the UK and Ireland in celebration of World Book Night. The goal was to have 20,000 members of the public distribute 48 books to others who may not have access to books, or who are reluctant readers.  The remaining copies were distributed to prisons, hospitals and other locations where books may not be easily accessible.

A committee selected 25 titles that cover a wide range of literary genres and time periods, with the hope that there was something in the list for every type of reader.  The founders of World Book Night are optimistic that distribution of free books and positive publicity about the joy of reading will encourage everyone to strengthen their relationships with books.

A number of events publicized the celebration, culminating in public readings by a variety of authors in London.  Other writers gave interviews in British newspapers (read one by Margaret Atwood), on television and on the radio.  Interestingly, some of the press about the event was negative, with a few booksellers concerned that giving away books was eating into their bottom line.  However, the general opinion was that World Book Night was a wonderful celebration of books and the joys of reading a good story.

Most of the titles are available through the library system.  Click on the link above to read descriptions of each book, and if any look interesting to you, request them here:

A Fine Balance by Robinton Mistry
Agent Zigzag by Ben MacIntyre
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Dissolution by C.J. Sansom
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Killing Floor by Lee Child
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gariel Garcia Marquez
Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the U.S.) by Philip Pullman
One Day by David Nicholls
Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
Stuart by Alexander Masters
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre
Toast by Nigel Slater

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