You may have heard of World Book Night, but you may not be exactly sure what it is. Is it a night of literary events? A mass giveaway of books? Shakespeare’s birthday party? Or a celebration of the love of reading? The answer to all of the above is yes.
Last year, the first World Book Night gave away over half-a-million free books, and one week from today, on Tuesday, April 23, they will be back to do it again. Think of it as an organized, proactive version of leaving free copies of books on your stoop. The books are intended for light or non-readers, and suggested venues for distribution include hospitals, diners and subway cars (so expect a free book or two if you’re stuck on the G train).
Volunteers will give away books all across the U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. All the book giver positions for this year have been filled, but don’t worry, you can still join in at one of the World Book Night events going on in Brooklyn.
Tomorrow, April 17, Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene is hosting a kickoff party where volunteers can pick up their giveaway boxes (see the full list of books here, chosen by booksellers and librarians for their accessibility, quality and diversity), and volunteers and non-volunteers alike can enjoy readings from the chosen books from some of Brooklyn’s finest writers.
Highlights include Touré, who just released I Will Die 4 U, his book about Prince, reading from Tina Fey’s Bossypants; Jessica Hagedorn, reading from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros; and Live at the NYPL host Paul Holdengraber reading from my favorite book on the list, Fahrenheit 451.
Community Bookstore in Park Slope will be hosting an open house on Saturday, April 20, from 4-6pm. Givers can pick up their books and meet each other during that time.
On April 22, the night before World Book Night, WORD is celebrating with an evening of poetry. Selections from Favorite American Poems, one of the 2013 World Book Night picks, will be read by several Brooklyn poets.
On April 23, givers will head out to distribute the books.
If you know someone who could benefit from one of these books, or have a good giveaway spot in mind, suggest them to a giver at one of the events or on World Book Day or by using the hashtag #WorldBookNight on Twitter. And, if you’re inspired to volunteer next year, be sure to sign up for the World Book Night newsletter.