Today/tonight is World Book Night which has become one of my favourite nights of the year, yes along with such joys as Christmas, my Birthday and the second night on a long holiday (when you have gone past the first day and night of being knackered from travel and have all that blissful time ahead, I need a holiday abroad soon). Any venture that sends you out into the world, without putting yourself in danger, to give people copies of books is a marvellous thing and in the UK alone they are giving a million books away. Great stuff.
I have been thrilled to have been chosen again, I initially had a sulk thinking I hadn’t until I checked my spam mail, for the fourth year running. I have been very lucky so far giving away copies of some of my favourite books; Half of a Yellow Sun, Rebecca (which I also read from to lots of people that year) and The Reader (at the first night of Liverpool’s first literature festival which really should come back). This year I think I have topped them all, yes even Rebecca, as I am giving away the first in my favourite ever series of books which I read in my teens (and made me feel less alone) and have re-read and re-read since. Yes, I am giving away Tales of the City.
Now as is tradition, because it means a lot to me, I am giving most of these away to the local cancer hospital where the staff, patients and their loved ones can have copies that hopefully might shine some light in a very difficult time and then be passed on to others again and again.
I am keeping some back though this year and, as a giver who just loves to go on giving, four of them are going to come into work with me tomorrow, two being left on the train in the morning on the way in and two on the way home, with a little note hopefully finding them some new temporary homes and fans who will pass them on again. I am also sorting through my own books to pass some on to people at work and leave more in the library I made in the communal hall a while back.
Who else is giving books away for World Book Night, which title have you got to give and how are you going to give it away? If you haven’t been a giver have you planned on passing some of your favourite books? Oh and just out of interest, if you could give away a million copies of just one book which would it be and why? Suggest a few and who knows I may pick some of you at random to send a bookish treat through the post!
Sorry for a belated World Book Night post, I meant to post last night but I was rather shattered after the wonderful event that Waterstones Deansgate, in the heart of Manchester, put on last night. It was a night of book readings and book swapping… And quite a lot of booze!
This was all good with me as I needed some Dutch courage before I got up as the sixth person to read, naturally I was reading from Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ which I was giving some copies of away. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous. I’m glad I did it though.
I also ended up getting my hands on a book myself. I loved Roald Dahl as a child but interestingly I have never read his adult novels or short stories, and now I will.
So what did you get up to?
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.
I was going to give the blog a day off but then I received an email about all this so thought that I would pass some of it on. I know that actually World Book Night is months and months away (April 23rd 2012 in fact) so some of you might not be interested but an email this morning reminded me about it and the fact that you can vote for your favourite books to be given away. I was also a bit over excited when I read this specific email as previous givers, and you can see what I gave away and how I did it earlier this year, two people could win a chance to be on the World Book Night Editorial Selection Committee (theres a mouthful), well of course how could I not want to do that?
So what did you have to do? Well, give them your details, tell them what you gave last year and name the “top 10 books you most love to read, give and share for 2012” now initially I thought they meant books out in 2012 then twigged they just meant your favourites. You then had to write, in 100 words or less, an impassioned argument for your number one book. I did it in ninety-nine.
I liked the idea of this list of ten books you would want to pass on and realised that not all my very favourite books would pass the test of being books I would avidly pass on, those tend to be books I have liked a lot but not enough to keep on my own shelves, this however is the list of ten books I would happily buy other people and pass them on in that way…
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
- Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
- Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
- Perfume by Patrick Suskind
- The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Annabel by Kathleen Winter
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
I couldn’t choose ‘One Day’ (which I am desperately telling the Aunty Who Doesn’t Read So Much to read before she sees the film next week, will she listen…) or indeed ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ because both books were in the list last year and given away. I like the idea of some classics being given away in 2012, some corkers though, not necessarily the same old ones. You can guess which books I might mean but I will never tell, ha.
I am pretty sure that I won’t be picked as one of the World Book Night Editorial Selection Committee, though if it did happen I would just be over the moon, partly because I have blabbed about it on here. It gave me a think about books though, and a chance to give you all a list of books to try should you have not read them so far. You can find more out about World Book Night 2012 here. What would your ten be? What are your thoughts on the whole World Book Night idea?