More than 1,300 books will be handed out across the region on Thursday as part of World Book Night.
The date, April 23, is already special, being Shakespeare’s birthday and Unesco’s International Day of the Book.
But, from a literary perspective, it has become a bit more special since 2011 when publishers, booksellers, librarians, writers and others came together to work out a way of spreading their love of reading and improving literacy levels.
World Book Night, now run by a charity called The Reading Agency, was born.
This year – as last – 250,000 books will be given away by volunteers across the country, the targeted recipients being among the 35% of the population who say they don’t read.
The idea is that this will encourage at least some of them to pick up the habit.
More than 70 volunteers will give out the books in this region, all chosen from a list of 20 chosen titles which include Skellig, by David Almond, and an anthology of life-enhancing poems from Bloodaxe Books – both these, of course, being based in Northumberland.
Other titles include Chickenfeed by Minette Walters, Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante, The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
Among the Newcastle volunteers will be Kathryn Hardy who says: “My love of books keeps me sane. As a midwife I work all sorts of shifts – long days and nights – and what better way to wind down than to read and forget the rigours of the day.”
Emily Thomas, also from Newcastle and a previous volunteer, said: “One of these hard-to-reach groups is young males.
“My husband is part of a pub quiz team at our local pub and there are regular teams of (mainly) young men. I would like to give my books to the people taking part in the pub quiz and perhaps introduce them to a whole new world of reading.”
As well as book donations there will be special events.
Robert Williams, whose first novel Luke and Jon won a Betty Trask Award, will be at Houghton Library, Houghton-le-Spring, at 2pm on April 23 and at Ponteland Library at 7.30pm.
At 6pm there will be a World Book Night murder mystery event at Holy Trinity Church, Church Street East, Sunderland.
An event called Rainy Day Reads will take place at Newcastle University’s Robinson Library at 6pm and at 6.15pm Robert Lloyd Parry, of Nunkie Theatre Company, will present the MR James ghost story Casting the Runes at Newcastle City Library.
Meanwhile Jennifer Klinec will be at Gateshead Central Library at 7pm to about her book, The Temporary Bride, subtitled a memoir of love and food in Iran.
For full details of all events go to www.worldbooknight.org