Massive book giveaway set to celebrate World Book Night

BAR HARBOR — It’s a book look, a page rage, a veritable feast of feeding reading.

World Book Night, a massive book giveaway designed to spread a love of reading, is coming to locations across the United States, including Bar Harbor, on Monday, April 23.
Sherman’s book store is providing books for one event, and is serving as a coordinator and book drop-off point for several others.  
“The whole thing is about spreading the love of reading from person to person,” said Debbie Taylor, the book buyer for Sherman’s. She’ll be at the MDI YMCA on Monday beginning at 9:30 a.m. to hand out books to all comers.
The event began in Europe last year and is operated in the United States by a nonprofit organization made up of American book publishers, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and Ingram Book Distributors.
The organization chose 30 books to give away and publishers printed extra copies. Of those, Sherman’s chose seven titles: “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” a Pulitzer Prize winner by Junot Díaz; the classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou; PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel “Bel Canto,” by Ann Patchett; “The Book Thief,” a children’s book by Markus Zusak that received many awards; the nonfiction book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot;  “Housekeeping,” the first novel by eventual Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson; and mystery thriller “Blood Work,” by Michael Connolly.
“Publishers agreed to publish thousands of copies just for this event,” Ms. Taylor said.
Part of the point is to reach people who don’t read for fun or have lost the habit, she said.
“It’s also to promote the value of reading, of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round … through social media and traditional publicity,” according to a statement from the parent organization.
Organizations and individuals could apply to be “book givers” and Sherman’s is ground zero for them here. There are four “givers” in addition to Sherman’s in this area: one at Mount Desert Island High School; one at College of the Atlantic; one at Ellsworth High School, and one at Jesup Memorial Library.
The library, which normally is closed Mondays, will open April 23 at 4 p.m. in honor of the event to give away copies of the sci-fi classic “Ender’s Game.”
Ruth Eveland, executive director of the library, said she’s always happy to introduce readers to new topics and authors. “And I love the idea of being able to take a book home and keep it.”
She chose “Ender’s Game” because she wanted something that was imaginative and engaging. “It appeals to a wide range of ages and it has more going on underneath it than appears on the surface,” she said.
The book, originally published in 1985, envisions a future in which Earth is preparing for yet another attack by aliens, by training children from a very young age to fight and lead fighters in a center called the Battle School.
For more information about World Book Night, visit

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Melinda Rice

Melinda Rice has been a journalist since her teens when she worked on her high school newspaper. She’s worked as a reporter and copy editor at newspapers and magazines, written a travel book and four middle-grade novels and become a Registered Maine Guide.