Posted: April 22, 2014 -- letizia

Get a free book at the Washington State University Libraries on Wednesday, April 23, and be part of an international event to promote reading.

The giveaway is part of World Book Night 2014. During the daylong event, 25,000 volunteers from across the United States each will give away 20 copies of a specially printed book they have read and loved, chosen from a list of 35 titles selected by a panel of librarians and booksellers.

An anticipated half million free paperbacks will be handed out, some to people who may never have owned a book.

Twenty copies of “Miss Darcy Falls in Love” by Sharon Lathan will be available starting at 4 p.m. in the Terrell Atrium while supplies last. The book is the sixth in Lathan’s “Darcy Saga” series and follows the life and loves of Georgiana Darcy, the younger sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy (Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”). Lathan started publishing her sequels to Austen’s classic in 2009.

“My hope is that we encourage people down the road to a love of reading with this event,” said Kay Vyhnanek, the local World Book Night organizer.

In 2013, the first year WSU Libraries participated in World Book Night, several librarians gave away their favorite reads to strangers. Christy Zlatos handed out copies of Lisa Scottoline’s 2009 missing-child thriller “Look Again” at Pullman Regional Hospital.

“Although the process went pretty well and the recipients loved the books, I ended up wishing I had more books to give out and also a wider range of books, such as graphic novels for teenage boys and something in Vietnamese for a woman who didn’t speak English,” Zlatos said. “World Book Night is a fun thing to do and very worthwhile, too.”

Librarians Vyhnanek, Marilyn Von Seggern and Lorena O’English centered their efforts on WSU students in the CUB. They distributed “My Antonia,” Willa Cather’s 1918 pioneering classic, and “Moneyball,” Michael Lewis’s 2003 nonfiction account of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.

“Not every student is interested in reading, but those who did stop were generally enthusiastic about receiving a free book,” Von Seggern said. “You can tell the real readers by the gleam in their eye as they anticipate a good story, a book they haven’t read yet, and they walk away examining the cover closely.”

“It was harder than I thought to give my books away,” O’English said. “I think people just found it unexpected. I hope that more awareness of World Book Night will help with this in the future. I appreciate all the publishers who work with this program to provide such wonderful free books.”

For more about World Book Night, visit http://www.us.worldbooknight.org.