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World Book Night

Some like the aroma of kitchens
Others, the bouquet of fine wine.
I like the look and smell of a book
As I lovingly finger its spine.
I long to uncover its secrets
I just want to take it to bed
Most delicious of treats,
To slip into its sheets
Head down, pages spread.

- Tony Lupton

World Book Night, a British experiment in giving away royalty-free new books to strangers, is coming to the US - let's get on board! Check out their website at www.WorldBookNight.org (click on the blue icon above for a direct link) for more information on this world book giveaway program. Volunteers to give away books needed! Here’s some background provided by Authors Guild.

"On every first Thursday in March since 1998, the UK has celebrated World Book Day by giving several million British schoolchildren £1 tokens they can use to purchase any book at a bookseller. UK publishers produce special £1 World Book Day editions of select books, and booksellers, schools, and libraries host hundreds of author visits, story times, and dress parties to celebrate the day. By all accounts, World Book Day has become quite successful in bringing books to children and families to bookstores.

A couple years ago, Jamie Byng, managing director of British publisher Canongate, had the thought that the festivities shouldn’t be limited to schoolchildren, that adults who rarely read books could also use some encouragement. He founded World Book Night, an event in which volunteers, including book authors, would give away one million special-edition paperbacks to strangers at train stations, hospitals, prisons and other sites. Margaret Atwood, Alan Bennett, John Le Carré, and Philip Pullman, and other authors kicked off the first World Book Night last year by reading from their favorite books to thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square on a chilly March evening.

British media covered World Book Night extensively, and, defying the expectations of some, the publishers and authors of the books given away fared well: book sales rose substantially for nearly all the 25 titles that were handed out.

On April 23rd, World Book Night comes to the US, with much of the publishing industry behind the effort, including major publishers, Ingram, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, and the American Library Association. A committee of booksellers and librarians selected the 30 books that are being printed in special World Book Night editions."

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
Sherman Alexie

Laurie Halse Anderson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

Friday Night Lights
H.G. Bissinger

Octavia Butler

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

Little Bee
Chris Cleave

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

Blood Work
Michael Connelly

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Diaz

Because of Winn Dixie
Kate DiCamillo

Dave Eggers

Peace Like a River
Leif Enger

A Reliable Wife
Robert Goolrick

Q is for Quarry
Sue Grafton

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini

A Prayer for Owen Meany
John Irving

The Stand
Stephen King

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

The History of Love
Nicole Krauss

The Namesake
Jhumpa Lahiri

The Things They Carried
Tim O'Brien

Bel Canto
Ann Patchett

My Sister's Keeper
Jodi Picoult

Marilynne Robinson

Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot

Just Kids
Patti Smith

The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

In my humble opinion the list for 2012 represents a diverse and honorable collection of work any reader might peruse in modern literary and pop culture writing. These are books, whether through original content, adaptation to film, or standard of craft, have deeply impacted contemporary thinking. Happy reading!
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