#WorldBookNight – 20 fantastic titles for 2015 announced by @readingagency


World Book Night  is an annual celebration of reading which takes place on 23 April: UNESCO’s International Day of the Book, chosen in honour of Shakespeare and Cervantes. It was probably Shakespeare’s birthday and both died on that day in 1616.

Volunteers can share their love of reading by giving out books in their communities to people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books. It’s run by the charity The Reading Agency 

If you’d like to be a volunteer and receive books to share, apply here. You can collect your WBN books from most Leeds Libraries. We’ll also be posting details of our own events for 23rd April later on, where you can join us and give out books.

The titles are great!  ‘Water Elephants’ by Sarah Gruen (When Jacob Jankowski – recently orphaned and suddenly adrift – jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters and misfits in the form of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a travelling circus struggling to survive the Great Depression) – has had  some fantastic ratings from our readers, as has ‘Queen’s Gambit’ – a riveting account of Katherine Parr, the Tudor queen who married four men and outlived three of them – including Henry VIII. But they’re all good.Small wbn covergrid


The 20 titles for World Book Night 2015 are:

  1.   After the Fall by Charity Norman
  2.  Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton
  3.  Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  4.  Chickenfeed by Minette Walters (Quick Read)
  5. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson
  6. Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Quick Read)
  7. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
  8. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.)
  9. Honour by Elif Shafak
  10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
  11. Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante
  12. Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
  13. Skellig by David Almond
  14. Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind
  15. Street Cat Bob by James Bowen (Quick Read)
  16. The Martian by Andy Weir
  17. The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington
  18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  19. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  20. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman




Five perfect books for men who never read for #WorldBookNight

The roadNearly 30% of men have not read a book since school, according to a survey commissioned for World Book Night which is tonight and happens every year on 23 April. Volunteers passionate about reading give hundreds of thousands of books away to share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books.

 Leo Benedictus suggests in the Guardian Books :

“‘The reasons men don’t read are varied, but “not really wanting to” seems to be the main one. However, if you are a man – or know one – who might agree to try just one book for the hell of it, these are my guaranteed-no-regrets recommendations” (or read one of the 100 greatest novels of all time  if you need more inspiration)

 Everything Bad Is Good For You By Steven Johnson (on order)

If you feel guilty about preferring video games, movies and TV to reading, this is the book for you. Swiftly and straightforwardly, and sometimes with charts, Johnson argues that popular entertainment has grown far more complex in recent decades, and may even make us cleverer.

 Stalingrad By Antony Beevor

Look how unbelievably terrible the Battle of Stalingrad was, this book says. “Look how unbelievably terrible the Battle of Stalingrad was!” yell its excited readers to each other/their wives/passersby. Because if you like war, this is war all right, explained with impeccable authority and detail by a former soldier. It is long – 500 pages – but you’ll want it longer. Besides, the length means that in a combat situation the book itself might be useful as a weapon.

 The Old Man and the Sea By Ernest Hemingway

I’m not aware of any novel that is easier or more exciting to read. It’s also so short – 99 small pages – that we are being kind even calling it a novel. It is a perfect adventure story about an old man having a hard time in the Atlantic. (And if you want it to be, it is also about much more.) You’ll read the whole thing in about 40 minutes, then need a scotch.

 The Road By Cormac McCarthy

a) It’s an incredibly exciting short novel about a father and son trying to survive a global catastrophe. b) It’s a practical guide to surviving a global catastrophe, which might one day be useful. c) It does away with the need to survive global catastrophes because you’ll be so depressed you won’t care. If you have ever been curious about what makes people cry in books, this is pretty much the deep end.

 Finnegans Wake By James Joyce

Don Quixote is maybe K2. Tristram Shandy is barely Kilimanjaro. But Finnegans Wake is definitely Everest. Essentially plotless, and barely even written in English, it might be a novel about an Irish family, but no one really knows. Nor is there a consensus on whether it contains characters. Even serious readers of daunting masterpieces get someone to take a picture of them on the final page. Get there yourself, and even if you never read another book you can lord it over your more literary friends indefinitely. (Call it “high modernism”, if anyone asks.)


What are we doing on World Book Night?

The World Book Night BooksDiscover the 20 books for 2014Click here to explore

 To celebrate World Book Night on 23rd April, join us at one of these exciting events . 

Read Regional Poetry Evening. A lovely night of reading and discussion around regional poetry followed by poetry reading by Cara Brennan, one of this year’s Read Regional Poets. It’s a free event and starts at 7pm -8.30pm Chapel Allerton Library, 106 Harrogate Road. Leeds, LS7 4LZ

Tel: 0113 2476016 or email enquiry.express@leeds.gov.uk for more details.

 Or are you a Shakespeare fan? Help us celebrate his 450th birthday andWorld Book Night.

Trio Literati are coming to Headingley Library to read from the plays and sonnets. The event starts at 7pm -8.30pm at Headingley Library, North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3HG. Tel: 0113 378 1868 or email stuart.hennigan@leeds.gov.uk for more details.  This event is also free.

And we’ll be at Trinity Leeds from 4-6pm on World Book Night, so look out for us there, we’ll have some goody bags and World Book Night books to hand out.