World Book Night - Just Do It Anyway


April 23rd, Shakespeare's birthday and death day, and Cervantes death day, is the night of giving away books. Book-giving is a very good idea as I strongly suspect most of us readers of Words & Pictures have far too many but mostly because reading is a very good idea.

"In the UK 35% of people don’t regularly read despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health." World Book Night

Read the testimonials on Why World Book Night is Important. If we can each persuade someone who doesn't normally read to give it a go we'll have done something wonderful for them.

From World Book Night, I also learned that:

"April 23 also marks the city of Barcelona's celebration of St George's Day. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as England and traditionally, to celebrate this day, Spanish gentlemen gave their ladies roses and the ladies returned the favour with a book. Considering the rich literary history of this day, it seemed more than fitting that April 23 should be chosen as the day of celebrating reading and the giving of books!"

Interestingly, April 23rd was also my dad's birthday and this year would have been his centenary.  So even though the only book I remember him reading was Old Moore's Almanac, I feel it's a sign.

I sometimes make small piles of books to give away - books I know that other people must love but I couldn't get on with. The books I love stay resolutely on the shelf. However World Book Night is the night of giving away books you love. How else can you persuade someone who doesn't read to give it a go?

It's giving not lending. I find lending hard - lending and being lent to. Lending a loved book is like lending a child - Are they ok? They should be home now. Being lent to is a worry - How did I miss that coffee puddle on the table? How can I tell her I didn't like it? Giving is no questions asked, no ticking clock of I've got to give that back soon, what am I going to say? Giving is the freedom to enjoy....or not.

Applications to be an official World Book Night giver closed ages ago and to be a official community giver, you needed to have thought of that by the 22nd April at the latest but why not do it anyway? Why not do your bit to improve someone's life chances, their mental health and open their minds to the wonderful experience that getting into a really good story gives?

It's a struggle to find a book on my shelf that I love and that I can give away - must start buying two copies - but I'm off to a St George's Day community event this afternoon and have just enough time to swing by a bookshop....

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is all over the place, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta. You can contact her at


  1. Oooh, how to choose? I mean, there's a couple of books near the bottom of the pile teetering on my bedside table that I'd happily give away. But a book I love? Oh, Jan!

    1. I know.
      It's defintely a trip to town but what I'm doing this afternoon is such a good opportunity.
      Just have to work up energy for the extra bit of bike ride!

  2. I bought 10 books for my little nephew on World Book Day. He will get them when I return to London


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