Today (April 23rd) is World Book Night, a time for readers and publishers accross the world to come together to celebrate our favourite things: books.

As well as live events in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Liverpool, World Book Night, along with publishers across the country, will give 20,000 volunteers half a million books to give away to members of their community who do not or are unable to regularly read.

At Penguin we’re proud to have contributed two books to this year’s list of 20 World Book Night titles. The first book is an enduring classic, one of the most famous adventure stories of all time…

Treasure island

Penguin Press editor Simon Winder says of Treasure Island:

“Within moments of starting to read it you realize that Stevenson has set out very self-consciously to write as enjoyable and gripping a book as possible, and – because Stevenson was a genius – he pulls it off.  He distills the essence of every pirate tale, takes the brilliant decision to see it all through the eyes of a boy, and simply lets rip.

Parrots, doubloons, curses, shanties, castaways, a map and of course treasure pour from the story.  The villains could not be more villainous (surely Blind Pew must be in any rationally managed Top Ten), the forces of good more colourless.  I envy anyone who has not read Treasure Island as they have something wonderful to look forward to.  But, having read it myself off and on for some forty years, I can’t say that it ever gets less good.”

Also as part of World Book Night, we’re distributing 20,000 copies of JoJo Moyes’s heart-breaking Me Before You.

Me before You

Julia Bookford, World Book Night CEO, had this to say about this best-seller:

“We all read for different reasons, and those
reasons will change by the day, the time, our mood and our perception of a book
and what we expect to get from it. It could be that I enjoyed Me Before You so
much because I wasn’t expecting to (based purely on my judgement of it’s
cover), but I completely fell in love with it. I was intrigued, I was gripped,
I was entranced, I was educated and in the end I emerged a little bit changed
by having read it.

is, of course, a love story (but aren’t all our lives to some extent?) but it’s
about as far as ‘girl meets boy, they go through some complications but
eventually live happily ever after’ as it can get. It’s about playing the hand
we were dealt, however unfair it may be and what happens if we decide we simply
don’t want to play any more and about how our lives can be utterly changed by
meeting the wrong person at the wrong time. There’s a good chance, if you’re
that way inclined, that you might cry your eyes out at the end (I did, but
please don’t let that put you off if you’re not quite so sentimental!), but
whatever your emotional state I challenge you not to be a tiny bit effected by
the story.”

We’ll be hosting hourly book bundle giveaways on our Twitter feed all evening tonight – be sure to follow us and look out for the links from 4pm to win a selection of fantastic books. From classics to cookbooks, and erotic fiction to hot literary prospects, we’ve tried to cater to something for everybody, and demonstrate the breadth of delights that await you in your local library or bookstore.

So why not close your laptop, switch off your monitor, put your phone on silent, and settle down with a good book this evening?

A very happy World Book Night from all at Penguin!



Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. For no discernible reason one book was given to more friends than any other. The feedback was that they wouldn’t have thought of buying it – but they enjoyed it immensely and passed it on to others.
    My own copy of “Toast” – the autobiography of Nigel Slater – came from a charity shop. Any book on their shelves which is in pristine condition often indicates one that was received as a “must read” gift – but proved unexpectedly controversial. In the case of this book one can imagine a certain reader discarding it with a tight lipped cry of “disgusting”.
    Those who liked it were of a certain age – entranced by nostalgic English food and confectionery. However Walnut Whirls and Mars bars gained a new aspect.

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