World Book Night Returns with ‘Rebecca’

Many apologies if the jubilations yesterday evening woke you up, or disturbed you, wherever you may be. I think most of the people in the local vicinity of where I reside will no doubt already be aware that I got picked to give out Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’, my favourite book of all time so far, for World Book Night on the 23rd of April. To say I was beyond thrilled would be something of an understatement.

I really enjoyed the experience last year when I gave away many a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, one of my favourite contemporary novels, at Christies Hospital (which specialises in cancer) last year. Without dumbing down that experience I have to say I even more excited that I can now share my very favourite read with 25 unsuspecting people, and know that they will have several hundred pages of utter reading delight ahead of them. The only questions now are where to give them out and how?


As ‘Rebecca’ is such a special read to me, as you may know, I really want to do something rather different. My initial idea was to dress as Mrs Danvers, but I decided that might actually freak people out (and while I have lost a good three stone in the last few months, Polly of Novel Insights didn’t recognise me initially when we last met up, I don’t think I have the austere willowy figure Danvers requires) and that might have them running away without the book rather than running off to read it. Second thought was to give the book out at a suitably Manderley old house, yet I am not sure a stately home’s clientele are going to be hard up for money to buy a copy of it, and I do want to spread the Daphers and bookish love to those who might not have the opportunity to have read it for whatever reason. Hmmm, there’s something to puzzle over a while. I do have a good few weeks though.

For now I will just revel in the warm happiness of knowing I am giving the book away, and keep brainstorming. If you have any ideas for a way of me appropriately giving ‘Rebecca’ away then do let me know. Have any of you been chosen, and if so what are you planning to do? Any stories, or ideas, if you gave books away last year are also welcome.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Daphne Du Maurier, World Book Night

36 responses to “World Book Night Returns with ‘Rebecca’

  1. I gave away ‘A Fine Balance’ last year – and I started out at a local library in an area that is mainly populated with people from the Asian/musilim/somali communities – and is very near to where I work in a primary school. I gave some books away to people in the library including one of the parents from school – who was somewhat bemused. Then went into the city centre where I hit a favourite cafe and gave books to people there, before going to a WBN event at the Birmingham library theatre – was good fun.

    • I should have a look at what libraries are doing in Manchester actually, or maybe I should see if there are any World Book Night parties up here… I am hoping something is going on in Manchester, if its not then it should be.

  2. Jo

    I am having a good old think about how I am going to give my copies of Rebecca out. I am tempted to leave a few on a park bench randomly and see what happens.

    Whatever I do, I know from chatting with some friends we are going to start a book club and Rebecca will be the first book read!

    • Hooray another Rebecca giver. I thought about the book group option but a) I’ve made them inadvertently read a Du Maurier book already and b) if one of them didn’t love it we could fall out for good.

  3. I’m still finalising plans for giving out my choice of book this year. Last year I went to the local Salvation Army and gave copies of One Day out to random people. This year I have The Book Thief to give and I’m torn on plans.

    I’d like to have a book party but not many of my friends are that into books. So, I’m not sure what to do, I may go to the local cancer treatment clinics or hospice. Dunno.

    • You aren’t really meant to pass them to friends though are you? That’s the impression I got. I gave some away last year on the blog and to family who hadn’t read it but they had strict instructions to pass it on. Sadly lots end up in charity shops taking away the free idea, though making money for a good cause.

      • I dunno, really. I gave out about 10 to friends last year, why not, you’re still sharing them? This year I will hold 4 or 5 back for friends and the rest will be given out as intended.

        I had about 6 the ended up in charity shops 😦

      • I think you can. I know bloggers gave theirs to other bloggers. I think, in my head, it’s about giving to random people who might not grab a book otherwise but might afterwards.

  4. the Waterstones where I live were giving away The Spy Who Came in from the Cold…I think someone didn’t bother collecting it or something.

  5. Congratulations on getting to pass out Rebecca! That’s wonderful!

    • I am beyond thrilled as you can imagine!

      • I so wanted to participate in this but I’m out of town that week and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to get the books and do it. What an awesome feeling when you turn someone onto reading that has had no interest in it before!

      • I loved doing it last year! Sadly there was a glitch and you couldn’t find out where your books ended up which was part of the idea, I’m hoping that’s fixed this year, would be interesting to see where they travel!

  6. I thought as part of the application process you had to say how you were planning on distributing them? Or have they changed things this year?

    I didn’t bother applying as I found the experience disheartening last year: I handed them out at my local tube station but most people thought they were bibles and didn’t want them! I did give away 10 on my blog, but that meant I had to spend quite a bit of money on postage.

    Pleased you got Rebecca though. I know how much you love that book. I’ve just borrowed it from the library, along with My Cousin Rachel.

    • No we didn’t have to say how, just why we wanted to give that title this year. I hadn’t noted the difference till you mentioned it just now.

      I was lucky I think last year Christies were thrilled. It’s nice it’s only 25 this year though I have to say.

      Ooooh Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel… You have two wonderful, wonderful reads ahead and from your library too – bonus points 😉

  7. FleurFisher

    I’m pleased that Rebecca is in safe hands. I asked for it too, because I have loved it ever since I first read it in my teens, when the author was still living just a few miles away, but I didn’t get it. I have no idea at all how and where you might give away your books, but do convey that love.

  8. Yay for you, Simon! So glad that you are able to give away a book you obviously love and cherish.
    You could hold a costume ball and give copies away to those who dress up 🙂

  9. Good for you Simon! I have sadly steered clear this year after taking so much personal flak from the naysayers last year for being involved and for loving the whole concept. It all left me feeling a bit bruised and battered and horribly guilty for giving out free books when apparently booksellers were on the breadline. Hell hath no fury, nasty e mails etc and I spent so much time justifying it and trying to fly the flag for the benefits that by the time the give away came I felt like a criminal! It all seems much quieter on that front this year so I am assuming the booksellers have been placated and come on board, so absolutely enjoy your moment. Christies sounds like a great venue will look forward to hearing more.

    • Stuff the haters is my instant reaction to that. Waterstones were a pick up point so if they loathed it that much they would have done it. Plus it’s idea was like a free flowing library I thought. You read it, you love it, you eternally loan it to the world.

      It saddens me it put you off especially as you had such a delightful role last year. Yes, I was jealous.

  10. I think Daphne du Maurier is one of those authors that people wrongly assume to be all literary and unapproachable, when I tell people she wrote The Birds etc they’re all shocked! Anyway did you see this news story? Exciting!

    • Oooh interesting, though if there is a mention of Keira Knightly in the remake I may very well be so cross I could do something awful… erm… like not go!

      I agree with you 100% on the wrong assumptions of Daphne du Maurier, its very saddening people miss out on her because of this.

  11. great perfect for you with your love of her books ,I got picked ,all the best stu

  12. I’m a first-timer this year and quite nervous about figuring out where in the world (um, where in Houston) to give away The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I would love to have Rebecca as an option but obviously the US has a different list. I know you’ll kill it, I have confidence. 🙂

  13. You could find somewhere called “Manderley” near to you and give out your copies of Rebecca there! There is a Mandolay Hotel in my local town (Guildford)…spelling different I know, but something like that could be good fun? Good Luck!! PS I just adore Rebecca, which led me to Jamaica Inn, which led me to Don’t Look Now…you get the idea

  14. novelinsights

    Woo! Spread the Daphers love 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s