The World Book Night List – A Rant?

This is the first time that I’ve had a little rant on this incarnation of my blog, but something is bugging me and I need to air it out. The problem is, people’s view of World Book Night.

Yesterday, the people behind World Book Night (WBN) released the list of books that people can choose from for the 2012 iteration of the program. Twitter jumped on the list with both praise and vitriol. I can understand mixed views on books, if anything it is what makes reading so great – the differing of opinions leads to conversation. However one point I noticed across many tweets and people is that they weren’t happy with the list because there were only a few books that appealed to them.

Surely that is the point?

Personally, I thought the list was perfectly varied and allowed for anyone to choose a book that they love and give it away. The list was in fact voted on by the public, so what better forum in which to choose the 2012 list? I took part in the vote, only three of the books I voted for made it in, am I bitter? Not in the slightest, if anything I now have at least ten more books to add to my wish list!

Here is the list:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage)


The Player of Games by Iain M Banks (Little, Brown)


Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)


Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (Transworld)


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperCollins)


The Take by Martina Cole (Headline)


Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins)

Someone Like You by Roald Dahl (Penguin)


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Penguin)


Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown)


The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)


Misery by Stephen King (Hodder)


The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Transworld)


Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline)


Let the Right One In by John Ajvde Lindqvist (Quercus)


The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Pan Macmillan)


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Vintage)


The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (Headline)


The Damned Utd by David Peace (Faber)


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Transworld)


How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Penguin)


Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (Vintage)


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Vintage)


The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak (Transworld)

The point of WBN is to choose a book that you love/like and plan to give them away to friends, family and strangers – in order to promote reading on the whole. The idea is simple, there are many people that no longer read and WBN want us book fans to place these tomes in their hands and say ‘here is a great book, read it and pass it on’.

So surely, as long as there is at least one book on there that you love/like, you can apply to give that one away and everyone is happy!? It isn’t an opportunity for book fans to extend their bookcase, nor is the list tailored to anybody particular. The list is far superior to last year in the fact that there literally is something for everyone, from Martina Cole to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. There’s chick lit, classic literature, contemporary literature and there’s young adult novels on there.

I was a giver last year (I gave One Day by David Nicholls) and everyone who received a copy was happy to take the book and read it, despite the fact that I targeted people who don’t jump at the chance to visit a Waterstones. I am envious of this new list and will happily try to give again this year, because I want more people to read and if this is a way to do it, then I want to take part. Out of 25 titles, I’m sure there’s at least one book that you want to promote? Surely?!

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