What a terrific idea: on one night, people around the world go around giving books to strangers:
World Book Night 2012! The idea is that on one night, throughout America, 1 million books will be given away by hand by tens of thousands of people. Authors and publishers have enthusiastically agreed to print over 30 thousand copies of 30 different titles, to be delivered to pick-up locations throughout the country — mostly independent bookstores and libraries. Individual readers will sign up to be Givers who agree to hand deliver 20 copies of a title of their choice to strangers in locations outside of their homes, their bookstores, and their libraries. It may be a park, a prison, a school, a hospital, an intersection, an airplane, a bus.
The first World Book Night was held in the UK last year, and the idea obviously really caught on: this year it is being held in the UK, Ireland and the United States. The goal is to have 50,000 people hand out 20 copies of a book – for a total of one million books given away in the one evening.
The process is simple: you sign up with your personal details, and pick the three books you would most like to hand out from the list of available titles, then say a bit about who you want to give them to and why you want to give out those books. The teams behind World Book Night will select (somehow) from among the applicants, hopefully so as to maximize the spread of books. Books will be delivered to local bookstores for pick-up by the selected applicants.
I picked as my three choices (in order) The Book Thief, The Hunger Games and Housekeeping with the goal of distributing these to street kids and young people in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. The Book Thief was just too obvious a title for a free book program to pass up – but fortunately it’s also a great read.
Go, sign up, pick your own top titles to give to strangers. It could be the beginning of all sorts of things – a friendship, someone’s love of literature, a social movement…