If in general it’s better to give than receive, the rule ought to hold true for books -- and giving is the basis of World Book Night, in which millions of books are distributed, for free, by willing volunteers.
World Book Night launched in Britain and Ireland in 2011 and came to the U.S. (and Germany) for the first time in 2012. It’s on April 23, which is known as Shakespeare’s birthday, the day both he and Miguel de Cervantes died, and UNESCO’s International Day of the Book.
Thousands of volunteers sign up to give away 20 books each on that date. The idea is that volunteers go to a place where they might find non-readers -- a public park or pizza place rather than a bookstore -- and hand the books out. Hopefully, the enthusiasm volunteers have for the book they’re giving away will entice people to take the book -- not to mention that fact that it’s free.
Volunteers must sign up online well in advance -- the sign-up is open now -- and indicate which book they’d like to give away.
Participating publishers print up special editions of the books for World Book Night; each year, the titles are different. The next set of 32 titles was announced Wednesday. They include two books in both regular and large print, and one in English and Spanish, bringing the total choices to 35.
The 2014 books include bestsellers such as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”; novels including “Catch-22"; the graphic novel “Same Different”; a poetry anthology and more. The complete list is below:
“The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman
“Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain
“The Weird Sisters” by Eleanor Brown
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
“After the Funeral” by Agatha Christie
“The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1" by John Flanagan
“Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford
“Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” (large-print edition) by Jamie Ford
“The Lighthouse Road” by Peter Geye
“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell
“Wait Till Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Catch-22" by Joseph Heller
“The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller
“Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen
“Pontoon” by Garrison Keillor
“Same Difference” by Derek Kirk Kim
“Enchanted” by Alethea Kontis
“Miss Darcy Falls in Love” by Sharon Lathan
“Bobcat and Other Stories” by Rebecca Lee
“Young Men and Fire” by Norman Maclean
“Tales of the City” by Armistead Maupin
“Waiting to Exhale” by Terry McMillan
“Sunrise Over Fallujah” by Walter Dean Myers
“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson
“The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
“When I was Puerto Rican” by Esmeralda Santiago
“Cuando Era Puertorriqueña” by Esmeralda Santiago
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple
“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (large-print edition) by Maria Semple
“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
“Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow
“Code Name Verity” by Elizabeth Wein
“This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff
“100 Best-Loved Poems” edited by Philip Smith