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We spy: people handing out free books

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APRIL 24, 2013

If you saw someone walking down Telegraph yesterday carrying a bunch of copies of Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” and were slightly confused as to why this person was handing them out to random people on the street, the Clog’s here to satiate your curiosity.

Yesterday was World Book Night, a day (yeah, we know that’s confusing) dedicated to spreading the love of reading by giving out free books to light readers or people who don’t have access to books. Each year, 32 books are selected to be passed out to the less bookish population by the bibliophilic population.

Where are these people getting these books, you ask? The book giver chooses one book from that year’s list that he or she is passionate about and wants to share with others. Then, World Book Night sends them free special-edition copies of that book donated by their respective publishers to hand out on April 23 — Shakespeare’s birthday and UNESCO International Day of the Book. 25,000 people participate as book givers each year. We’ll leave it to you to do the math. That’s a whole lot of books. Pretty cool, huh? Some of the titles on this year’s list include humorist David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” young adult novelist John Green’s “Looking For Alaska,” Margaret Atwood’s dystopian nightmare “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Paul Coelho’s bestselling aphoristic novella “The Alchemist.” You can access the rest of list here.

And of course, our resident Berkeley bookstores didn’t miss out on the fun. Mrs. Dalloway’s celebrated the day by hosting author Michael Lewis — the guy behind stories like “The Blind Side” and “Moneyball.” Both Moe’s Books and Pegasus Books promoted the day as well. But the Clog’s favorite thing about World Book Night? Watching the expression of one member of Berkeley’s homeless population as a book giver stuffed a novel into a box labeled “spare change.”

Image Source: danbruell, under Creative Commons

Contact Sabrina Werts at [email protected].

APRIL 23, 2013