World Book Night 2014
Many of you may have already heard of World Book Night. This is the time when, once a year, volunteers from the UK, Ireland and the US unite to hand out books.
That’s it. That’s really all there is to it.
In the UK alone, 35% of people don’t regularly read. And it is WBN’s mission to get avid readers to share their love of books with the not-yet-avid reader.
I’m a great believer in the idea that it’s not that you don’t like reading, it’s just that you haven’t found the right book yet. And WBN has the same principle. On the 23rd April every year, volunteers hand out their choice from a selection of 20 books to their community. There are even events put on in local areas to encourage reading en masse.
Why April 23?
April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death day of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that we choose it to celebrate World Book Night. April 23rd also marks the city of Barcelona’s celebration of St George’s Day. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as England and traditionally, to celebrate this day, Spanish gentlemen gave their ladies roses and the ladies returned the favour with a book. Considering the rich literary history of this day, it seemed more than fitting that April 23rd should be chosen as the day of celebrating reading and the giving of books!
You can apply to be a volunteer online, and join in with your local community to share the love of reading. You can choose to be either a World Book Night Edition Giver, whereby you get 18 copies of your chosen book from the list to hand out; or the new Community Book Giver, which means you can give away a book of your choice (click the link for more detail).
Applications to be a World Book Night Edition Giver closes on 23rd January, so get in quick!
World Book Night‘s 20 Books
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
PC Peter Grant is your everyday London copper. Right up until the moment he tries to take a witness statement from a ghost. Poor Peter Grant is suddenly thrown in to a much more magical London, where the Metropolitan police has a wizardry unit, and the rivers of London turn out to be a pretty complex family.
I‘ve read this: If you like Neil Gaiman and lashings of urban fantasy, this is the book for you. It‘s laugh-out-loud and so cleverly written.
Four Warned by Jeffrey Archer
In this collection of four short stories, Jeremy discovers how to steal a ring for his fiancée, Albert turns 100, Richard’s murderous plan to get rid of his wife involves some hotel water, and Diana finds herself being stalked down a motorway by a black van.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
A sweet and heartbreaking tale of friendship between a fence. Bruno is nine, and doesn’t really understand what’s going on – why his family has had to leave Berlin, and why there are a lot of very sad people in striped pyjamas on the other side of the fence next to their new home. When he can’t get the answers he wants, he decides to investigate for himself.
I‘ve read this: One of the books that I cried and cried over. It‘s so beautifully done because of the innocence it‘s narrated with – Bruno really doesn‘t understand and it becomes more and more painful to hold. You‘ll enjoy this if you like your books emotional.
After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
A classic novel from the Queen of Crime. Hercule Poirot is on the trail again, after Cora is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the day after her brother’s funeral. Because Cora was overheard to announce that her brother had, in fact, been murdered. Can Poirot get to the bottom of it? (Of course he can)
Short Stories by Roald Dahl
Enjoy some of Dahl’s darker and more adult short stories in this specially chosen collection, exclusively for World Book Night. Roald Dahl might be better known for his children’s tales, but his wickedly astute adult short stories are desperately entertaining.
I‘ve read this: Okay, so I‘m not entirely certain, but if it contains any of the stories from Boy, you‘re going to love it! (Though you might need a strong stomach for some…)
Confessions of a GP by Dr Benjamin Daniels
A memoir from a witty and slightly angry GP. Benjamin Daniels regales us with tales of his patients, from a woman haunted by pornographic Tom Jones dreams, to a 7-year-old boy with phantom tummy aches.
Hello Mum by Bernardine Evaristo
When her teenage son is stabbed in front of a chip shop, the mother wonders how this could have happened. But she soon finds the answers are perhaps closer to home than she had imagined.
Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon
Jane Fallon is the star of romantic comedy. So what happens when your secret lover decides to actually leave his wife and kids move in with you, just as you think you might be over it? Aim to make yourself as repulsive as possible to put him off, or try to ingratiate yourself with his ex-family? I bet you can guess what Sophie decides to do…
Theodore Boone by John Grisham
Theodore Boone is most definitely a lawyer. Even though he’s only 13. He knows every policeman, every judge, and quite a bit about the law. So when a cold-blooded killer is set to go free, only Theo, who knows the truth, can stop it.
The Humans by Matt Haig
Professor Andrew Martin isn’t quite the same after the night he is found walking the streets of Cambridge naked. Food and clothes are alien to him, his family is repulsive. The only one he feels any connection with is Newton. A dog. But what happened to him? And what has made him change his mind about the human race so drastically?
The Perfect Murder by Peter James
Victor and Joan have been married for nearly twenty years. And they pretty much hate each other. One day, Victor decides that there is only one way to get rid of Joan for good… but he’s not the only one with murder on their mind…
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
The first of six novels about 28 Barbary Lanes, Tales of the City is over 30 years old. It tells the story of a young secretary who goes from Cleveland to San Francisco, and discovers a world of laundromats, debutantes and dance contests, in a transfixing tale of romance, wildness and wit.
Today Everything Changes by Andy McNab
The inspiring life story of Andy McNab starts here. Abandoned as a baby, and moved from school to school, he turned to petty crime, before being recruited in to the army and experiencing life under the military ideals.
Geezer Girls by Dreda Say Mitchell
As teens, Jade Flynn and her three friends, are under the rule of the man they called The Geezer – drug dealing, money laundering, amongst others. Until one day they steal something that wasn’t theirs and go on the run. 10 years later, Jade Flynn is Jackie Jarvis and is getting married. But an unwanted guest turns up to the wedding…
CHERUB: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
James is at rock bottom. But then a secret organisation finds him. CHERUB agents are aged between 10 and 17, and no one knows they exist. And the terrorists are letting them in to their houses.
Whatever it Takes by Adele Parks
How far would you go for the people you love?
But what if love is not enough? Eloise Hamilton has moved from London to Dartmouth for her husband, helps her best friend to try for a baby, and supports her mother-in-law when she thinks she’s losing her mind. But what about Eloise?
Black Hills by Nora Roberts
Childhood friends Coop and Lil are inseparable, until a terrible tragedy causes a huge rift. Twelve years later, and Lil and Coop find themselves face to face again. But the reunion reopens old wounds and old dangers.
The Boy with the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera
Wolverhampton in the 1980s is a bewildering experience for a young Sathnam Sanghera. From Dallas to topknots, Sanghera never quite knows what to make of his eccentric family. Until he turns 24 and makes a breathtaking discovery. With humour and affection, Sanghera delves in to his family’s past and tries to make sense of the boy with the topknot.
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
In Soviet Russia, three bodies are discovered in Gorky Park. But Senior Investigator Arkady Renko finds his job near on impossible as the victims are unidentifiable with faces and fingers missing. Battling political and corporate corruption from the USSR to the USA, Renko is in a fight to find the murderer, but also to save his own life.
59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman
If you think about going to the gym, you can keep in shape, and if you put a pencil between your teeth, you instantly feel happier. Richard Wiseman debunks and discusses some of today’s modern day myths, and offers some quick and quirky techniques to change your life in minutes.