World Book Night 2012 – Almost There!

My books are packed, I'm ready to go...

Good Evening, Bookworms!

What you see above is a suitcase full of World Book Night books, ready to be given out! Yes, folks, I collected my 24 copies of The Book Thief from Waterstone’s at the Trafford Centre on Tuesday night and I was writing the required information in the “book plate” pages on Wednesday. At the front of each copy of a World Book Night special edition book, there is a book plate page in which the Book Giver, myself for example, has to write the following: Firstly, their name, then where they collected the book from. In this case, “Waterstone’s, Trafford Centre”. Then I had to write one of the 24 unique identifying numbers which I had been allocated for my books, so I was ticking them off on my printed-out email.

Can’t quite believe that it’s almost upon us and that I have been chosen as a book giver! I first blogged about World Book Night 2012 in a blog entry on 5th July last year, so here we are just over 9 months later and I’m blogging about how it’s soon come around and I will be spending the evening of my 39th birthday going round the Trafford Centre with a suitcase full of books to give out to those who are light readers and may require a free book to get them going on the book front!

There are 25 different books being given out for World Book Night. I imagine that for the first WBN last year, a panel of literary bods chose the books, but this time round, thousands of bookworms have helped to determine which books would make it into the Top 25 for Book Givers to hand out by registering with the World Book Night website and voting for books they love. The 25 books with the most votes would make the cut. Indeed, The Book Thief, my chosen book, finished 3rd! Not sure which book came 2nd but I’m pretty sure Pride And Prejudice topped the voting. That was one of my set texts for GCSE English Literature at high school! The 25 books cover a broad range of reading tastes and while some books such as Pride And Prejudice and A Tale Of Two Cities were published years ago, some of the others are very recent publications from the last year or so, such as Room by Emma Donoghue. Other notable books on the list, as far as I’m concerned, are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which I read and enjoyed and the excellent and utterly hilarious¬†Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson which was, I think, my 2nd choice to give out.

The Damned United by David Peace is also on the list. I have the book, but haven’t read it yet. I have, however, seen the film which was made, loosely based on the book, detailing Brian Clough’s very short time (44 days, I think) as manager of Leeds United. For those of us who harbour an immense dislike of that club, it is an excellent film as Leeds were utterly crap under Cloughie and kept losing, so it’s most amusing indeed for a Manchester United fan like myself! While I’m on the subject of football-related books, I dug out my copy of Odd Man Out: A Player’s Diary by Brian McClair the other day as I’d been messaging with one of my fellow Reds on Facebook – she’d been giving a few quiz questions on a United-related group on FB and one of them was about McClair and his nickname Choccy, which I correctly said was because it was choccy as in chocolate eclair due to it rhyming with McClair! Choccy scored the 2nd goal in the first match I ever went to! Denis Irwin scored the first and Ryan Giggs the third as we beat Norwich City 3-0 on 7th September 1991 at Old Trafford.

Also, while we’re on the subject of football books, I have just bought myself Chris Kamara’s autobiography, Mr Unbelievable. The subtitle of this book is: Fighting Like Beavers on the Front Line of Football! I am a huge fan of Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News. I already have Jeff Stelling’s book, Jelleyman’s Thrown A Wobbly, but I have lent it out to someone else at the moment. My sister, I think. For those who are also fans of Soccer Saturday, and I know there are many likeminded people out there, you might also enjoy How Not To Be A Professional Footballer by Paul Merson, former Arsenal midfielder and regular Soccer Saturday panellist. Not a SS panellist, but definitely of the Gooner persuasion is Nick Hornby and I can’t really mention football books I have loved without mentioning Fever Pitch, can I?! I absolutely laughed my head off reading that book!

Back to World Book Night for a moment and at the back of each special edition is an extract from another book. These are chosen by the authors (or sometimes the publishers or estate of the author if the author is deceased) and they think the reader might like this book if they’ve enjoyed the book they’ve just finished. At the end of The Book Thief, there is an extract from a novel called Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. Returning to the main novel itself, though, one of my favourite parts of The Book Thief is when the 1936 Olympics are on in Berlin and Liesel’s friend, Rudy Steiner, makes himself black with charcoal in an effort to emulate his new-found athletic hero, US sprinter Jesse Owens! Anyone who wants to know more about those particular Games would be advised to read Hitler’s Olympics: The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games by Christopher Hilton. However, I have a big book about the Olympics that my parents bought me as either a birthday or Christmas present years ago, and it was from that book that I found out that Mr Owens’ name was actually James Cleveland Owens. However, due to the way he said J C quickly, it came out sounding like Jesse, and thus the name Jesse stuck and he became known as Jesse Owens! For the record, his four gold medals in Berlin came in the 100m, 200m, long jump and the 4 x 100m relay. There are plaques on the walls at the bell-tower end of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin listing all the Olympic Champions from 1936. I saw them when I visited the stadium in February.

Olympic Champions 1936

Honours Boards at the Olympic Stadium, Berlin.

Given that the Olympics are on in London this summer, prepare yourselves for more Olympic-related books, fiction and non-fiction alike, in the coming months! In the meantime, this decidedly unathletic bookworm really ought to give some serious thought to clocking up some Zs for the night, so it’s time to bring this blog to an end and wish you all goodnight for now. Take care and Happy Reading!

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Room – Emma Donoghue
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The Damned United – David Peace
  • Odd Man Out: A Player’s Diary – Brian McClair
  • Mr Unbelievable – Chris Kamara
  • Jelleyman’s Thrown A Wobbly – Jeff Stelling
  • How Not To Be A Professional Footballer – Paul Merson
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey
  • Hitler’s Olympics: The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games – Christopher Hilton
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Filed under Books, Books About Books, Football, Olympic Games, Sports, Travel, World Book Night

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