World Book Night takes place on 23 April.
Set up in 2011, it’s a huge celebration of books and reading, with the aim to spread the love of reading and give adults who don’t regularly read the chance to, through a free book initiative.
I used the initiative to start Bee’s Bookshare – as one of the 20,000 volunteers, I gave out free copies of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief to people who came to the first share. They then shared the book with someone they know who doesn’t often read books (you can track the books’ journey online at www.bookcrossing.com). The initiative has had an incredible response, with some terrific stories – visit www.worldbooknight.org to read some of them.
In Thanet, Bee’s Book Share has exchanged over 100 books. The idea of the group is that you bring a book you’ve liked, loved or loathed and share it with someone else, in return for a book. But we’re an enthusiastic lot and often bring about 3 books and take away 5. Needless to say the bookshelves are bowing!
Regular sharer Danny, by his own admission, only got into reading 4 years when he read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (one of the bestselling novels of all time with over 80 million copies sold worldwide).
He was nervous about coming to the share because ‘I didn’t want to feel out of my depth, I’d only read one author. But I wanted to find new things to read, and to meet new people.’
Now, Danny hardly misses a meet up, and often tells me how much he likes coming to hear others talk about books, discover and take away new ones, just because he enjoys it. He says
‘You walk into Fort’s cafe at 7.30 pm with one book. Two hours later after a great chat and lovely coffee, you leave carrying three books away that you may never have picked up in a book store. Then you know you’ve had a good evening.’
So, if you’d like to see what the share is like, meet new people and try something new, then come and join us at this year’s World Book Night bookshare party. We’re celebrating on Tuesday 23 April 7.30pm with a talk by the hugely talented Margate linocut artist Nick Morley (also a Bee’s Book Sharer), who will be talking about the book cover designs he’s created for publishers including the acclaimed Penguin books.
And we’ve got 20 copies of Rose Tremain’s The Road Home that we’ll be sharing, amongst many other books, plus I’ve got some other surprises up my book sleeve…
We’d love to welcome you. And don’t worry if you’re not ‘into reading’ or haven’t finished a book in ages. It’s not a race to read a 100 books this year. It’s just a really good night out. And you never know where a book will take you…
Bee’s Bookshare takes place on the third Thursday of every month 7.30pm at Fort’s Cafe, Cliff Terrace Margate.
Read my column in the Isle of Thanet Gazette about World Book Night here.
‘World Book Night would have to be one of the most exciting things to be happening in 2012. The thought of thousands of books being handed out, street to street, town to town, is one of those dreams I would have never thought possible – but World Book Night is making it happen. People will be reading and sharing books they might never have had the chance to before, and that will lead them to more great stories as time goes by. At the moment, though, I think World Book Night itself is the story to celebrate and embrace. It’s an honour to be involved.’
‘I was never a big reader when I was young. It took a friend giving me a novel and telling me to read it before I really understood what a wonderful and enriching experience reading can be. After that I started reading voraciously and it changed my life to a point I would never have imagined – I started writing books myself! As a novelist I want my work to be read by as wide an audience as possible, so to have one of my titles on the WBN list is a real thrill and a privilege. World Book Night is a great project and I’m honoured that Small Island is one of the books chosen for 2012.’