World Book Night dilemma

The titles for this year’s World Book Night (the UK version) were announced today. I’m rather underwhelmed by the selection to the point that for the first time in 5 years I’m probably not going to volunteer to be a giver. It’s disappointing because the objectives of this event are so worthwhile.

Of the 15 featured titles on the World Book Night site  I have read precisely zero. I’ve heard of just two: S.J. Parris’ historical fiction work Treachery and Carol Ann Duffy’s collection Love Poems. Both sound perfectly fine though clearly they can’t have interested me that much since I’ve not bought them or borrowed from the library. There is a third (Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose) which I know is a film but didn’t realise was first a book.

It’s making it very difficult to decide which book I’d want to donate.

I’ve never had this problem before. Some years I’ve felt spoiled for choice. But some of these books are in genres I never read. If I’ve never read the book I don’t feel comfortable recommending it to other people.

Are any of you planning to be volunteers this year? What do you think of the choices?

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on November 24, 2015, in Bookends and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I’m not familiar with this event: are you supposed to donate books that are on the list and only these books?
    I’ve heard of some through blogging but none appeals to me except the Jonathan Coe.

    • It started in the UK Emma and has become more international now. There is a USA version I know of for sure. The idea is you volunteer to be a donor, you choose one of the books (all provided free of charge by the publishers) and then on the day you donate them to a group. In the beginning it was easier to find the group but in the last few years the rule became that it had to be one representing individuals who do not traditionally read.

  2. I have read some of these, principally the crime fiction selections which I think will possibly appeal to non-readers and two of these in particular are excellent with wider messages than ‘just crime fiction’ but overall the entire selection doesn’t wow me.

  3. Me too I didn’t last year as felt selection poor like you band of brothers does appeal not read but I have seen the tv series a few times and I did read rotters club when it first came out

  4. I’ve never taken part – I’d like to but there’d be no interest at all round here. But if it was this list I certainly wouldn’t be bothering – none inspire me at all….

    • I have a vague idea that the selection cannot include any author whose work was previously chosen. which seems a bit of a daft idea since over time the options are going to get more and more restricted.

  5. I can throughly recommend The Rotters’ Club. The period detail is so accurate that my contemporary historian partner includes it on his undergraduate reading list. It’s also a great piece of story telling.

  6. Hahahaha, have never heard of any of these books. I only know a bit about World Book Night, but usually I know at least some of the choices. Are they trying to highlight lesser-known authors? It is a good idea in theory, but in practice it would probably leave people cold.

  7. ‘The Rotters’ Club’ is the only book that appeals to me in the list; I haven’t read it, but I do like Coe’s ‘What a Carve Up!’. As I recall, there’s usually a much stronger ‘modern classics’ and/or literary2 yfiction selection…

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