Last Saturday saw the first ever World Book Night, when a million books were given away across the UK. The Guardian had the wonderful idea of asking writers which books they most often give as gifts, and which they’ve been most pleased to receive. Take a look here – it gives you so many new ideas about what to read.
This, as an example, is Margaret Atwood’s entry:
The book I most often give as a gift is The Gift, by Lewis Hyde (Canongate). I keep four or five copies around the house at all times, for swift giving to people who need them. Most often they are artists of one kind or another, and are worrying about the disconnect between what they do and how hard they work, and how little money they make. Hyde’s book explains the differences between the money economy in which we think we live, and the gift economy, in which we also live. Gifts – including artistic gifts – travel in mysterious ways, but travel they must, or else they die. The Gift is essential reading for anyone who has embarked on this journey. (It also inspired the creators of World Book Night. That is one of its gifts.)
Twenty-five titles were chosen to be given away. How? The World Book Night website explains that they “were selected by a committee of people committed to books, based on recommendations from publishers, booksellers and others”.
I’ve copied the covers below. If you click on the title-links it takes you to the World Book Night comments on the book. (I can’t get all the titles and covers to line up nicely – oh well!)