World Book Night: selected from a list of thousands!!

An email this morning really made my day. I had been waiting for it for several months.  Not life-changing nor earth-shattering in any way…..but one of those little affirmations in life that quickens your gait. My love of literature was once again affirmed by being selected as one of the army of “givers” for the forthcoming World Book Night (April 23rd), which had its first edition only last year. This time I will be giving away 24 copies of Joe Simpson’s Touching the void.

The 2011 WBN saw 20,000 “givers” give away 1 million books. I had selected Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the time of cholera, and was sent 40 copies for distribution. It was an exciting new venture. It had never been done before. How would it affect global sales of books and levels of readership? These were all unknown quantities. The bottom line for me, as a “giver”, was the delight of giving away 40 copies of one of my favourite Latin American authors. The whole experience helped to instil in me a change of attitude to book ownership. We all love to keep the books we have read and store them in already heavily-laden bookshelves, where they gather dust over the years, sometimes never to see the light of day again. So why not give them away? Whenever I do this now, I realize I am giving away a little bit of myself…..but the returns can sometimes be unexpected and very rewarding.

Both Jenny and I accepted an invitation last year to attend the launch in Trafalgar Square, after which some 10,000 of the givers mingled, swapping books and sharing their enthusiasm for literature. It was a remarkable occasion. Watch this short video of the event:


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on February 18, 2012, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think it is a great idea to give away books. I found a delightful book in a railway station loo and I look forward to reading Margaret Atwood when I have finally got to the end of Shantaram: only two months to go!

    • ….and I sometimes pick up books (yes, books!) by the roadside when I am cycling. I think the last one was PD James. Hope you enjoy the Atwood. She appeared at the Trafalgar Square launch last year.

  2. Olivia A wylie

    I have signed up for the American side of this event in the States. I hope I get chosen to give books away – thanks for sending me the information about such a wondrous event.

  3. Congratulations! My girlfriend and I are awaiting our book selection email. This will be our first year as book givers. We can’t wait!

  4. Nice one dad! I’ve started reading Touching the Void, I’m up to the bit where they’re starting their descent.

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