World Book Night was first envisioned in 2010 as an initiative to encourage more adults to read. Its organizers believe that adult readership can be reinvigorated if avid readers go into their communities and share their favorite books with those who don’t have access to printed books or who don’t regularly read. The event is set to be celebrated globally this year on April 23.
Nearly 80,000 people in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany gave out 2.5 million books in 2012.
The date is also an important one for literary culture: it is Shakespeare’s birthday but also the anniversary of his death, as well as the anniversary of the death of Don Quixote writer Miguel de Cervantes. It is also the date of the UNESCO International Day of the Book.
Thirty-two different titles ranging from classic and contemporary fiction to nonfiction to personal essays will be distributed this year. Included on the roster is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day. Chicana novelist Sandra Cisneros’s book The House on Mango Street will be distributed in both English and Spanish.
You can find out more about the event and how you can get involved at the official website for World Book Night.