Last Friday March 5th was World Book Night. With the support of the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books were given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.
I unfortunately didn’t hear about World Book Night until I read about it in this article in the Irish Times on Saturday. In the article they pose the question ‘If you could give the gift of a single book, which one would you choose?’ and ask a number of well known authors for their suggestions. I particularly liked John Banville’s answer – he chose a Dictionary, a essential item in anyone’s home. I also liked Claire Keegan’s answer – she chose “If This Is A Man” by Primo Levi, a book which I think should be required reading for everyone on the planet (especially John Galliano, who could do a lot worse than read this book in rehab).
I started thinking about the books that I have gifted most often. I’d say I have given away at least ten copies of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas as presents to friends, and Trues Tales of American Life edited by Paul Auster is another favourite. I have also given many copies of Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy to female friends as I think it’s required reading for every woman and a great wake-up call for those who say “I’m not really a feminist”.
How about you? Which books do you give away most often? And what’s been the best book you ever received as a present?