March 2011 saw the first World Book Night event being held across the country with 1 million books being given away to encouraging the UK to get stuck into a good book.I joined in the celebrations by visiting my local library which was staying open late in order to host a variety of book worm activities.
A table of books, as part of the ’ give away,’ caught my eye. As I glanced over the variety of titles a librarian thrust a copy of Case Histories by Kate Atkinson into my hands. ‘Do you like murder mysteries?’ she asked and as I tried to say something about not liking too much violence, the Lady insisted I take it adding, ‘you’ll love it, its fantastic story, read it as soon as you get home.’
Now for the confession….
Despite the Ladies enthusiasm, I did leave the book on my shelf for a good length of time. I always find murder mysteries difficult to read as I feel exposed to enough tragedy in the news, without having to read fictional crime. However, I owed to it to the Librarian and World Book Night to give it a go and what a good job I did. Whether you are a crime fan or not, this book is worth adding to your ‘to read’ list.
Private detective, Jackson Brodie, investigates cases that have been closed by the police, with no conclusion. The disappearance of a little girl 35 years ago, the murder of a young girl on her first day of work, and the location of a girl, adopted due to her parents’ tragic ending, are all on Brodie’s journey. As he delves deeper into history, the cases appear to overlap and his own motives for finding these lost girls become clear. Quite the page turner, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Yes, there are sad and horrific parts but Atkinson balances this with humour and humanity which means by the last page you feel surprisingly uplifted.
Many critics have said that World Book Night would damage the publishing industry, however, I would disagree. I was both a giver, and a receiver, and know those who got a book that night in March, went on to buy other books either by the same author, or others in the ‘give away’ list. Including me. Half way through reading Case Histories, I ordered the whole Jackson Brodie series in one go.
With eager anticipation, I wait for next year’s World Book Night and its continuation to spread the joys of reading and the importance of good book recommendations.
Find more details for World Book Night, including how to be a giver next year at: www.worldbooknight.org