Wednesday, 24 April 2013

World Book Night

This was my first year as a World Book Night giver. I can certainly recommend the experience. Of the twenty titles available I chose Victoria Hislop's The Island. A young woman discovers the secret history of her great-grandmother Eleni, and her connection to the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga, Greece's former leper colony. It's a book I enjoyed several years ago, partly for the moving story and also for its sense of place. I gave my copies away in the playground of my son's primary school, some to people I knew and others to complete strangers. It was wonderful to be able to give away something that has given me pleasure and also to enjoy the bookish conversations it provoked. I hope the recipients will enjoy the book as much as I did and pass it on to friends and family.

Whilst I was sitting in Nero's doing battle with an essay on Plutarch and Antony and Cleopatra, a stranger came up to me and offered me a book too. Philippa Gregory's The White Queen tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, mother of the Princes in the Tower. I've been told it's very good.

When a third of households in the UK don't have books in them and 16% of adults struggle with literacy, World Book Night is a wonderful idea.

You can find this year's list of books here. Which book would you have chosen?


  1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. I also had a great time. I got invited into people's homes who I'd never talked to before, but I think the best thing for me was the smiles on people's faces when they accepted a book. How rare is it to be able to give away something that the receiver has to do absolutely nothing for but receive and read? No hidden agendas, nada? And the payoff... I also felt full of smiles too. Can't get better than that can it?

    1. You're absolutely right Vee. It is rare that we get the chance to give something away and not want anything in return. It was interesting to see people's surprise - and sometimes confusion - when I gave them the book.
      I'm already planning next year's application!

  2. It's all about finding the right location - the school playground is an excellent idea. I tried to give my books away (two years ago now) in college and no one was in the least interested. I guess it was a case of coals to Newcastle....!

    1. The right location is important. I'm sure I'd have received a less favourable response if I had given the books out at my uni. It would definitely be a case of preaching to the converted.

      Next year I'd like to give books to my neighbours. I don't know most of them at all and it'd be great way to break the ice. I like the idea of talking about books over the garden fence.


Long time, no see

I blame Facebook. And Twitter. And Whatsapp. Not to mention Cooking Fever and Candy Crush, both of which I've installed and deleted from...