Books as gifts — in April

Anyone who is thinking about giving a book for a gift is thinking of Christmas. But four months from now is the perfect opportunity to give someone a book as World Book Night premiers in the U.S. on April 23, 2012. And now we know the 30 books that will be given away and the list is impressive both in variety and quality.

World Book Night was launched last year in the U.K. and encourages thousands of people to go out into their communities to spread the love of books and reading. How do they do it? They give away free World Book Night paperbacks to a stranger or to people they might know but believe aren’t frequent readers.

Here’s the list of books that will be used in the U.S.:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blood Work by Michael Connelly

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Stand by Stephen King

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Just Kids by Patti Smith

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The goal is to have 50,000 people participate — meaning 1 million books would be given away. But to participate you have to apply to be a “giver.” Givers will be chosen based on where, to whom and why they want to give the books. And one of the more interesting things they are asking potential givers to agree to is that they’ve read and love the book they apply to give away. (Since The Things They Carried is one of my Desert Island Books, I’m guessing that will be my choice.)

Applications for potential givers are now available. Go ahead and check out the site and consider becoming a giver. Think of it as an early Christmas gift to yourself and to the love of reading.

Reading is everything.

Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

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