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First U.S. World Book Night giveaway announces book selections

December 14, 2011 |  4:16 pm


World Book Night, a celebration of books and literature that has turned into a bonanza of free books in England, is coming to the U.S. for the first time in 2012. On Wednesday, the organization announced a list of 30 books that it will make available for volunteers to hand out for free on World Book Night next year.

This is how it works: Between now and Feb. 1, people can sign up to give away copies of one of the books on the list on (or around) World Book Night, April 23. The idea is to select a book you love as a reader, and to give copies to people who read infrequently. The volunteers become ambassadors of sorts for the books as they give them away for free.

There are five more books on the American list than appear on the 25-book British list to accommodate more books for young adults. Two notable young adult books are Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," which won the 2007 National Book Award, and "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, about to be a major motion picture.

The books represent a wide range of tastes. There is the L.A.-based mystery "Blood Work" by Michael Connelly, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by poet Maya Angelou, the dystopia classic "The Stand" by Stephen King, popular fiction writer Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper," rocker Patti Smith's National Book Award-winning memoir "Just Kids," and" The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Díaz, in both English and Spanish, published as "La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao."

Several of the books will be printed in special editions for World Book Night.

Those interested in signing up to give away books on World Book Night can do so on its website. The organization promises that books will be delivered to a local bookstore or library for pickup, and plans are to distribute them nationwide. The complete list of books to be given away for free is after the jump.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
"Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou (Ballantine)
"Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger (Da Capo)
"Kindred" by Octavia E. Butler (Beacon Press)
"Ender’s Game" by Orson Scott Card (Tor)
"Little Bee" by Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster)
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
"Blood Work by Michael Connelly (Grand Central)
"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Díaz (Riverhead); a Spanish-language edition, "La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao" (Vintage Espanol), will also be made available.
"Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
"Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers (Vintage)
"Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger (Grove Atlantic)
"A Reliable Wife" by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin)
"Q Is for Quarry" by Sue Grafton (Berkley)
"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
"A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving (Ballantine)
"The Stand" by Stephen King (Anchor)
"The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver (Perennial)
"The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton)
"The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner)
"The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien (Mariner)
"Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett (Perennial)
"My Sister’s Keeper" by Jodi Picoult (Atria)
"Housekeeping" by Marilynne Robinson (Picador)
"The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold (Back Bay)
"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot (Broadway)
"Just Kids" by Patti Smith (Ecco)
"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls (Scribner)
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak (Knopf Books for Young Readers)


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— Carolyn Kellogg