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Tonight is World Book Night. World Book Night takes place on April 23, 2014 and is in its third year in the U.S., after the UK launch in 2011. It’s celebrated today for a couple of reasons. April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616. In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.

As part of World Book Night USA, 2,300 bookstores and libraries serve as community organizers for the book distribution to the volunteer givers. Its reach includes all 50 states, Puerto Rico, USVI, and overseas military bases.

The WBN picks are by a wide array of award–‐winning and bestselling adult and YA authors, as well as classics, books in Spanish, and books in Large Print. The assortment of 39 WBN titles is based on diversity in subject matter, age level, gender, ethnicity and geography. The books were chosen in a vote by booksellers, librarians, and givers.

Bestselling author Scott Turow said: “I can’t imagine any greater compliment to a book —or an author— than to know his work has been selected to welcome people to the pleasures of reading.”

Today, 25,000 volunteers from Kodiak to Key West will give away half a million free books in more than 6,000 towns and cities across America. World Book Night U.S. is an ambitious campaign to give thousands of free, specially–‐ printed paperbacks to light or non–‐readers. Volunteer book lovers like myself will help promote reading by going into our communities and handing out free copies of a book we love, often to those without means or access to a printed book.

I’m giving out copies of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, a great book for middle-schoolers. Any body else giving out a book today? Which one?

Tonight, if you happen to see a giver out and about, say “hi.”

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Here’s the list of books being given away today.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond & T.R. Simon

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Large Print edition) by Jamie Ford

The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Pontoon by Garrison Keillor

Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan

Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Large Print edition) by Maria Semple

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith