World Book Night marking a second year in the US
by Nick Davies
World Book Night has been an institution in the UK and Ireland since 2010, and last year it crossed the pond, with the US celebrating it for the first time. Come April 23, 2013, Americans will have the chance to observe the holiday again; the list of books available for giveaways was announced last week, and the thirty titles include two that are available in both English and Spanish (Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street).
Novelists James Patterson and Ann Patchett are the honorary chairs of the program for next year, and Patterson’s children’s book Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is one of the titles on the list of books. The list also includes Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster—you can see the full selection here. The books were chosen by a panel of librarians and booksellers looking for titles that meet a set of criteria, such as “accessible books of high quality” that are available in paperback, both recently published and classic works; and the list must have “gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.”
World Book Night is looking for 250,000 volunteers to sign up to give away books for free to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them. Volunteers can pick their first, second, and third choices for the title they want to distribute, and receive one box of twenty books to hand out in a public place—not to family & friends or book groups, the website specifies. If you’re interested in volunteering, more information and the application form are available on the World Book Night website.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.