Last year's World Book NIght was a hoot to be part of, a celebration of books, authors and reading, a chance to get great books into the hands of people who might not otherwise have them, a chance to meet random strangers and give them a gift.
The event began in the United Kingdom and Ireland and spread to Germany and the U.S. in 2012. This year, reports are that Germany is bowing out, but the U.S. is still going strong. The list of the 30 titles to be given away was released in November (and you can find it here), and this week e-mails are going out to applicants, letting them know if they've been chosen to be a volunteer book-giver.
I got my email yesterday. Whew! It was fun last year, going with my mother and my new puppy down to Como Lake and giving away copies of Kate DiCamillo's "Because of Winn-Dixie." I don't know yet which book I'm giving out this year, but I asked for Timothy Egan's "The Worst Hard Time," his prize-winning history of the Dust Bowl.
Last year, two Minnesota authors were represented among the give-away books: DiCamillo, and Leif Enger, and there was a big to-do that night at Magers & Quinn Bookstore in Uptown. This year, no Minnesota authors will have books given out, but Wisconsin will have two: Neil Gaiman and "Good Omens," and Michael Perry and "Population: 485."
World Book NIght is a day set aside to celebrate books, with a half-mllion copies of 30 different titles given away at random. Don't be surprised if a volunteer walks up to you that day and hands you a paperback book, no strings attached. Don't run! Don't say no! It's just a book, and a good one. The date is April 23, the time is no particular time at all, and the location is--random.