World Book Night, the extraordinary celebration of adult reading from the UK and Ireland, will make its American debut on April 23, 2012.
In March 2011, after the kids-centric World Book Day, 20,000 volunteers in the UK each gave away 48 copies of a book (from a selection of 25 specifically chosen and printed books) to non-reading adults. In total, 1 million books were given away on buses, street corners, in pubs and restaurants–even to prisons and hospitals.
Julia Kingsford, CEO of World Book Night, elaborates on the project’s aim to encourage adults who, despite good literacy levels, simply do not read books:
[F]or too long the focus on engaging teenagers and adults in reading was because it was something important, something good for you, something you should or had to do. Ask any regular reader why they read and it is not to make them a better person, it’s because they enjoy it. Sure, reading a great book may teach you new ideas . . . but the passion that drives heavy readers is the pleasure not the self-improvement. And it is this passion that World Book Night has utilised through the network of volunteer givers.
Led by former HarperCollins publicist and author Carl Lennertz, World Book Night in the U.S. will make its debut next year.
Lennertz announced yesterday that the process of choosing the 25 2012 books is nearly complete. (The UK already has their list.) Come April, 50,000 Americans will each pass out 20 copies of one of these books.
“The selection committee is being careful not to create another ‘best-books-of-all-time’ list, but, instead, to choose books that they know readers will be passionate about personally sharing with others,” says Lennertz. “We believe this will inspire a fun and resonant celebration of books and reading across our country.”
What book would you love to give away to 20 non-readers?