On 23 April, 20,000 volunteers in the UK and Ireland will be distributing about 500,000 books to people who don’t normally read – we take our hats off to them! World Book Night is a celebration of reading that aims to support the libraries, bookshops, book clubs, authors and more by making reading more accessible to people in these days of PlayStations, iPads, smartphones and dumbphones.
This year, the charity has selected 20 books to hand out in the British Isles and the authors have waived their royalties, with publishers covering production costs. The list covers a broad range of fiction and non-ficiton from Robert Louis Stevenson through Ian Fleming and on to EH Gombrich. Every year we pick through the list to see what crime fiction they’ve selected and in 2013 new readers will be introduced to The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall-Smith on the cosy side, and Sophie Hannah’s tense, psychological thriller Little Face. The books will be handed out to potential readers in prisons, care homes and hospitals, as well as sheltered, supported and social housing. The homeless will also be able to get copies.
In the United States a similar effort is being staged, and their list includes 30 titles – many of these are on the UK list too, but in terms of crime fiction new readers in the US will also have access to Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress.
If you’d like to help World Book Night with its cause, click here to make a donation in the UK, and here if you are in the US. Watch for our interview with Sophie Hannah before World Book Night on Tuesday here on Crime Fiction Lover, and be sure to visit our site on the day to see our own listing of the crime fiction books that we think makes the genre accessible to new readers.