Happy World Book Night! Free books on offer all over
If someone approaches you with a book today, take it. That's because it's World Book Night -- which, to be accurate, takes place all day long. It's a massive international book giveaway that this year is making its U.S. debut.
The idea behind World Book Night is that devoted readers are great proselytizers. Each is asked to distribute 20 copies of a book they like or love, for free, to strangers or acquaintances who are unlikely readers. With the power of the giver's enthusiastic endorsement and the free book in hand, the recipient is, hopefully, converted into a book-reading and -buying junkie who craves more.
Really, is a book junkie such a terrible thing?
In Britain, the scheme has worked. World Book Night sparked a boost in book sales in 2011. That's probably why publishers have signed on to participate in this year's first American giveaway -- and bookstores have too. Some local participating bookstores include Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, Diesel in Brentwood, and Los Feliz's Skylight Books. The best places to find the free books might be in the neighborhoods where readers who shop there spend their free time.
There are 30 titles being given away for free today, in various genres, for various age groups, award-winners and bestsellers, in fiction and nonfiction. One book, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," is being distributed in English and Spanish. The complete book list is after the jump.
The books being given away today as part of World Book Night:
"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)
Volunteers are invited to gather for a mixer and reflection about the event at Mysterious Galaxy next Monday evening. Recipients -- those who aren't busy reading -- are welcome to join them.
-- Carolyn Kellogg