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April 23, 2014

Five perfect books for men who never read

RoadJust under a third of the male population don’t read books, says a Reading Agency survey. Here are five man-friendly page-turners they might enjoy anyway.


Nearly 30% of men have not read a book since school, according to a survey commissioned for World Book Night, an annual event that hopes to change their ways. The reasons men don’t read are varied, but “not really wanting to” seems to be the main one. However, if you are a man – or know one – who might agree to try just one book for the hell of it, these are my guaranteed-no-regrets recommendations.

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May 3, 2013

World Book Night: Is It Easier to Give Away a Book or a Flower?

wbn1By Judith Rosen

I felt like one of those women handing out cigarettes in yesteryear. If you’re too young to remember them, you may have seen pictures. Except I have a couple years on most of those women, o.k. all of them, and rather than a sexy outfit, I chose a heavy down jacket over which I wore a sandwich-board sign, and I use the term loosely, made with a reflective vest covered over with a couple World Book Night flers in clear page protectors. I don’t know if it helped, but I wasn’t too cold last night, given the drizzle and chill.

Last year when I was a “giver” at World Book Night, I chose a spot across from the Central Square T station in Cambridge, Mass., and found it difficult to break down people’s resistance to taking a book. They thought I was trying to foist a Bible on them, or maybe I was part of some cult. This year I was determined that it shouldn’t be so hard to give away 20 books. To get in the mood I used the pre-WBN kick off event at the Cambridge Public Library with Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers), Lisa Genova (Still Alice), and Neil Gaiman (Good Omens, with Terry Pratchett) as a pep rally. It certainly got the high school students in the row next to me wound up. They wanted to sign up then and there to be givers. So did a former educator who had read Still Alice in her book group and had never heard of WBN.

I was especially pleased to get to hear Diffenbaugh, since I had chosen her novel to give away.  A debut novel by a local author seemed like an easier sell than many of the more “classic” books on last year’s list. Plus I had one other trick for getting people to take my books. Since her book is so interconnected with flowers, I decided to buy 20 carnations from Brattle Florist, the same florist shop in her acknowledgments, to handout with each book. That was before I learned from Gaiman’s talk that April 23 marks Cervantes’s death and in Spain men give women a rose, and women give them a book on that day. The first Book Day, as it is known, was held on Cervantes’s birthday (October 7) in 1926, then moved to April in 1930.

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April 12, 2013

Record numbers sign up for World Book Night

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:38 am

wbn_logo_2013 | By Joshua Farrington

World Book Night has had a record number of givers sign up, with more than 23,000 people volunteering to hand out books in their communities.

More than half of the applicants have never taken part in the event before, with people applying from across the country, including the Scilly Isles and Outer Hebrides.

Taking place on April 23rd, World Book Night will see delivery service Yodel distribute 400,000 books to giver collection points, while a further 100,000 books will be sent directly to hospitals, prisons and care homes in an attempt to reach communities with low literacy levels.

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November 9, 2012

WBN 2013 titles revealed

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:06 am

 | By Charlotte Williams

A graphic novel from Rebellion and a Quick Reads title are among the chosen World Book Night UK books for 2013. The scheme to give away 500,000 books will run in the US for a second year, though its future in Germany is currently “unclear”.

The BBC has returned as a media partner for the UK event, with the book selection to feature on BBC1’s “The One Show” tonight (8th November) as well as on “Newsnight Review”. Time magazine is also an agreed media partner, with details of its coverage to follow.

World Book Night c.e.o. Julia Kingsford said the UK initiative is emphasising accessibility in 2013, with the list of books down from 25 titles to 20 and givers being asked to distribute a less demanding 20 copies of their chosen title, down from 24 at 2012’s event. Of the half a million books, 400,000 will be distributed by individual givers, with an additional 100,000 to be distributed centrally by WBN through charity partners and institutions.

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July 20, 2012

Nominations open for World Book Night 2013

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:28 pm

20.07.12 | By Joshua Farrington

Nominations for books to be given out for free at next year’s World Book Night will begin on Monday (23rd July).

Members of the public will be asked to choose up to 10 of their favourite books before the closing date at the end of August. A final list of 20 titles will be then be chosen from the suggestions by a panel of judges, chaired this year by journalist and presenter Mariella Frostrup.

World Book Night said the judges would be looking for books that are “narrative-driven, ideally not too long so as to be accessible to all”. They must have been published in paperback in the UK.

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April 21, 2012

Nearly 80k volunteers sign up for WBN

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 11:47 am

 |By  Katie Allen

World Book Night has attracted nearly 80,000 givers to distribute 2.5million books on the night, 23rd April.

Over 78,000 givers are to take part across the US, UK and Germany, including places such as the Shetland Islands, Jersey, Alaska, Florida and Berchtesgarden in Bavaria.

Founder Jamie Byng said: “We always hoped that World Book Night would become a global initiative that truly lived up to its name. We have been overwhelmed by the support from our international partners; the number of givers signed up and the sheer volume of books being given away across Germany, the USA and the UK is truly astounding and the prospect of so many great books being read and shared all over the world on April 23rd is very exciting.”

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What book would you share?

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 11:39 am

John Connolly

On Monday, to mark World Book Night, publishers will give away a million books by big-name authors. DECLAN BURKE asks some writers to give us their pick of recent books that slipped under the radar

THE BEST THINGS in life are free . . . books. On Monday – the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death – World Book Night will be celebrated in the US, UK, Germany and Ireland, with publishers giving away a total of a million of them. Half will be donated to hospitals, prisons and charities; the other half go to volunteers who in turn distribute them in their communities.

The 25 titles to be given away include some by household names such as Cormac McCarthy, Maggie O’Farrell, Mark Billingham, Bill Bryson, Sophie Kinsella, Emma Donoghue, Stephen King, Jane Austen, Martina Cole, Paulo Coelho, Roald Dahl, Kazuo Ishiguro and David Peace.

But what of our lesser-known names, and of books that fly below the radar? We asked a selection of writers to nominate their own World Book Night book: a contemporary classic that has been published in the past few years but unfairly neglected by critics and readers.

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March 1, 2012

WBN authors’ recommendations revealed

 |By Charlotte Williams

Brighton Rock, The Moonstone and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit are among the titles to be recommended by the World Book Night 2012 authors, with Stephen King’s recommendation of The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats leading to its acquisition by Hodder imprint Mulholland Books.

An extract from the recommended titles will be included within the WBN edition of the matching title. WBN c.e.o. Julia Kingsford said: “Asking our World Book Night authors to recommend something seems like the perfect way to introduce new books and writers to readers, and encourage people to keep on reading.”

King, whose book Misery is among the WBN 2012 picks, selected The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin, which had not been published in the UK.

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January 20, 2012

Germany joins World Book Night

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:15 am

 | By Charlotte Williams

World Book Night is continuing its international spread, with Germany now set to join the UK and US in staging a one million book giveaway on 23rd April 2012.

The German World Book Night will be carried out in association with the Friends of Reading campaign, which is launching in Germany as part of the German World Book Day. The event will be a joint initiative between Germany’s Reading Foundation (Stiftung Lesen), The Association of German Publishers and Booksellers (Boersenverein des Deutschen Buhhandels), and individual German publishers, in partnership with World Book Night.

WBN celebrations will take place at the Festival of Friends of Reading in Hamburg. Organisers will stage a public reading event with “noted authors, actors, artists, journalists, athletes, and musicians”.

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December 7, 2011

WBN aims for international expansion

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:43 pm

Photo credit: Richard Stonehouse.

07.12.11 | Benedicte Page

World Book Night founder Jamie Byng has said there is a “very good chance” the book donation event will take place in “dozens” of countries by 2013/14.

The Canongate m.d.’s ambition for major expansion of the event’s international reach was declared at a Downing Street reception last night (6th December), alongside the news that half of the one million books to be given away in the UK in 2012 (April 23rd) will be distributed directly to prisons, hospitals and disadvantaged communities.

World Book Night is already set to take place in the US as well as the UK next year.

Byng said the aim for the UK event in 2012 was to “expand the reach and take it to a new level”, with a priority to “take books to some of the hardest to reach potential readers particularly within UK prisons, libraries and hospitals, care homes and homes for the elderly”.

The remaining 500,000 books will be distributed by 20,000 volunteer members of the public to donate and share as happened at the inaugural event earlier this year. more

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