What a truly innovative idea – one of those ‘wish I’d dreamed that one up’ moments. Never mind that I didn’t and let’s celebrate Jamie Byng’s initiative.
I bet he didn’t foresee that this great giveaway would be held against a backdrop of threatened library closures, removing cost-free access to all genres of the written word for entire segments of the population.
World Book Night on 5th March will celebrate books and reading by giving away one million books, chosen from all genres by a wide panel. Fifty copies each of twenty five carefully selected titles with recommendations canvassed from the book trade will be distributed not only to those who can attend the giveaway, but also to those who are unable to participate.
What an imaginative collaboration and a spotlight on the joys of the written word. I don’t own a Kindle from choice, but I’m no dinosaur. It’s just that as a passionate reader I adore the weight of the book, the feel of the page, the anticipation of ‘what comes next’ in a particularly tactile sense that I think only a book can give.
Many of my books have a resonance and a history all of their own not just for their content, but because of who gave them to me, or where I bought them, where I read them, who I discussed them with, the list goes on.
I doubt that a Kindle could, for example, instantly transport me back in time and place to a rainy afternoon in a beautiful corner of south west Ireland, browsing the treasure trove that was a small independent bookshop with my husband and young son.
Passionate readers, reluctant readers, all will be welcome at the giveaways up and down the country. In Worthing, West Sussex support World Book Night at Mooey’s Mocha Shop in Chapel Road and meet with local authors and writers. The organisers hope that this will be start of a new programme of literary events for the town. (www.wbnw.co.uk).
Wherever you live, support this superb initiative and let’s celebrate the world of books.