Formed by authors, publishers, agents, libraries, booksellers and readers, World Book Night is a charity dedicated to reaching out to those who have the least access to books, and who could really benefit from that access being improved. Today, at events across the country, free copies of books from a list of 20 titles will be handed out by organisations and individuals that have agreed to become World Book Night Givers. The long list of books come from suggestions from the public, with a panel then choosing the final 20 from these.
I don’t have any physical books to give, but I can share with you my recommendations based on the books from this list I have read. The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink, is not only a fascinating story about love, war and innocence lost, but also highlights the power of reading and the role it plays in society; how losing yourself in a book can, for a while, help you to forget even the most dark moments of your life.A very apt story for World Book Night.
I also quite enjoyed The Island, by Victoria Hislop, though perhaps more so because I have visited the location where the story is set – the island of Spinalonga, off the coast of Crete – and have seen how inspiring it is. Spinalonga was a leper colony for the first half of the twentieth century, but was abandoned quickly in the 1950’s, after effective treatment for leprosy was developed. It is now a ghost town, with the abandoned buildings full of memories of those who lived and died there, taken away from their families against their will and unable to leave the island.
Both of these authors have taken their inspiration from real events, but they are two very different books. You may or may not be given a free copy tonight, but if you come across either of them at some other time, I think you will enjoy the read.