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Spreading the Love of Reading Person to Person

Across the country and world tonight, hundreds of bookstores and libraries are participating in World Book Night 2012, including Danville’s Rakestraw Books.

Updated 10 p.m.

Anyone who knows Michael Barnard, the long time owner of the Danville independent bookstore, Rakestraw Books, appreciates his passion for books. He’s shared that love with locals for years, inspiring and introducing them to great local and national authors.

Today’s he’s joining thousands of bookstores and libraries that are participating in World Book Night 2012 in the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland. An estimated 50,000 book givers in the U.S. along are expected to hand out half a million books donated by publishers for needy groups and organizations. Barnard recruited more than 50 people, mostly customers, and others who volunteered by signing up as Givers on the World Book Night 2012 web site, so-called because on that evening they will be giving away a big box of new paperbacks donated by publishers. Each Giver chose the book to give away from a list of 25, which includes everything from Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games to Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.”  

“It’s a great way to spread the love of books,” Barnard said as he handed out boxes of books to local Givers at an informal meet-up at his cozy downtown store on April 16. “And it’s fun.”

For William “Andy” Blick, Senior Vice President for Wealth Management at  in Pleasanton, it’s all about inspiring others to find the joy in reading.

“My family has been coming here to Rakestraw for years,” said Blick, who will be giving away “A Prayer for Owen Meaney,” by John Irving.  “We are a reading family. This is a way to share that.”

Other local Givers include Marilyn Marquis, an instructor of English as a second language at in Livermore who promised 100 books to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. At the Rakestraw Books meet-up the Danville resident connected with others who opted to pool their books and join her at the jail. “I came tonight hoping I’d connect with others who would donate their books to the jail,” said Marquis, who is giving out “The Namesake,” by Jhumpa Lahiri, a best seller about an immigrant family from India. Several others joined her at the jail, where they gave out more than 250 books to grateful inmates who eagerly snapped up the new paperbacks, include Loucille DeAtley, California Sun Foods; retired librarian Barbara Perry, horticultural therapist Marjorie Levy, and Susan Moreno, who teaches at the jail. 

World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. Launched in the U.K. in 2011, this is the first time U.S. book lovers have participated. April 23 is also UNESCO’s World Book Day, chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes’ death, as well as William Shakespeare’s birth and death.

THE BOOKS  

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
    Author: Sherman Alexie
  • Wintergirls Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author: Maya Angelou
  • Friday Night Lights Author: H.G. Bissinger
  • Kindred Author: Octavia Butler
  • Ender's Game Author: Orson Scott Card
  • Little Bee Author: Chris Cleave
  • The Hunger Games Author: Suzanne Collins
  • Blood Work Author: Michael Connelly
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Author: Junot Diaz
  • Because of Winn Dixie Author: Kate DiCamillo
  • Zeitoun Author: Dave Eggers
  • Peace Like a River Author: Leif Enger
  • A Reliable Wife Author: Robert Goolrick
  • Q is for Quarry Author: Sue Grafton
  • The Kite Runner Author: Khaled Hosseini
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany Author: John Irving
  • The Stand Author: Stephen King
  • The Poisonwood Bible Author: Barbara Kingsolver
  • The History of Love Author: Nicole Krauss
  • The Namesake Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Things They Carried Author: Tim O'Brien
  • Bel Canto Author: Ann Patchett
  • My Sister's Keeper Author: Jodi Picoult
  • Housekeeping Author: Marilynne Robinson
  • Lovely Bones Author: Alice Sebold
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Author: Rebecca Skloot
  • Just Kids Author: Patti Smith
  • The Glass Castle Author: Jeannette Walls
  • The Book Thief Author: Markus Zusak

    Marcia Parker, the West Coast Editorial Director for Patch, also participated as a Giver at the Santa Rita Jail in World Book Night. 

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