Thursday, February 2, 2012

World Book Night

Is that a library tucked into that shady glen?

It is, absolutely, and why not? It's the main branch of the Altadena Library at 600 Mariposa Street, home of amazing books (and book sales, thanks to the Friends of the Altadena Library).

I read a lot about the publishing industry, which is undergoing wild changes like every other industry affected by the internet and the economy (which is every industry except the chocolate-covered insect industry). Some people say books will disappear. I don't think so. I think this will fadge in such a way that we'll just have different ways of distributing and receiving reading material, much as we have different ways of distributing and receiving music and movies.

Speaking of distribution: World Book Night is coming up on April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday). If you want to sign up to distribute free books you need to do that by February 6th. From the website: 

"Just take 20 free copies of a book to a location in your community, and you just might change someone's life...The goal is to give books to new readers, to encourage reading, to share your passion for a great book. The entire publishing, bookstore, library, author, printing, and paper community is behind this effort with donated services and time. The first World book Night was held in the UK last year, and it was such a big success that it's spreading around the world! Please volunteer to be a book giver in the U.S."

When you volunteer, they give you the books to distribute. You are required to have read the book you give away. Here are this year's books

I've read four of the books on the list: Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which I can't say I liked because it was too horrifying but it was also excellent, if you know what I mean; The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, which I'm sorry to say I barely remember; The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I don't know why I read it because the subject matter is about my least favorite but everyone was reading it back then so I did; and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, which I absolutely loved. 

Several other books on the list are ones I want to read, but I don't think I'm in the target audience for a free book and my pile of to-be-read books is almost up to my waist, so I'll have to get to them when I can. Because they're good books, and good books aren't going anywhere.

Let me know if you sign up.


Shell Sherree said...

I knew I should have bought those chocolate-covered ant shares years ago. This is a beautiful library ~ as they all are, but especially peaceful in a setting like this. And World Book Night is a wonderful notion.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

You will love Half Broke Horses.. that's Wall's second novel. There should be more libraries like the one above.. That is a gorgeous place I wouldn't want to leave... Little Bee I have read, will have to check out the other book.

Bellis said...

I've only read a couple of books in that selection. I'm not sure many of them will hook people who are not already readers. Some deal with difficult issues, like Little Bee, the Lovely Bones and the Kiterunner, which had some unpleasant scenes that I wish I hadn't come across. Perhaps the target market isn't entirely new readers? Perhaps it's those that already read a lot, but haven't explored further than Dan Brown, Stephen King, James Patterson, and Stephenie Meyer? Not that there's anything wrong with those - they tell good stories.

altadenahiker said...

Agree with Kalei on Half Broke Horses. As for the others, Lahiri is a most subtle, elegant, and slyly funny writer.

Petrea Burchard said...

I felt that way about the Lahiri when I was reading it, Hiker. Perhaps my memory's not so good because I read before I fall asleep. But I do remember the Jeanette Walls (less subtle, maybe).

I think they're just trying to get non-readers to read. And of course they have to get the books donated, and not every writer and publisher is willing so they can't just pick and choose. Plus they'll want a variety--not everyone will be interested in (I hate these categories, but) "literary fiction" so they throw in a mystery, some "young adult," some sci fi, whatever. That's my guess. The idea is to get non-readers to start reading with the best writers in whatever the category, and to get them wanting more.

Desiree said...

In honor of world book night I'll turn off the electronics, light a candle, and cozy up to a tree-based text.

Deb said...

What an enticing looking library. I read the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks out of professional curiosity as I have used HeLa cells. Her story deserves to be much more widely known.

Petrea Burchard said...

I might look for a partner and go give out books, Des. Anybody up for it?

Deb, I agree. That one's high on my list. I've heard the author in a couple of interviews and the story is amazing.

Ms M said...

World Book Night is a great idea! And the library you featured looks like a wonderful place.
I've only read a couple of the books on this list. A book I loved that came out late last year was Michael Ondaatje's "The Cat's Table". Currently I'm reading "The Year of Living Biblically," A.J. Jacobs, which is fascinating and funny.

Petrea Burchard said...

Looks like a good pair of books, Ms. M. There are so many wonderful things out there to read.

altadenahiker said...

Ms M, I haven't read The Cat's Table, but I will. Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient was such a beautiful book (oh, so so much better than the movie, which is usually the case).

Ms M said...

I loved The English Patient, the book, much more than the movie. Ondaatje is one of my favorite writers; I love the beauty of his writing.