Why April 23? It is the International Day of the Book (who knew?) and the day on which both Shakespeare and Cervantes both died (April 23, 1616). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one. (I'll need to get flowers for my wife. If she is reading this closely, she'll understand why!)
Yours truly signed up as a volunteer and I am happy to be handing out copies of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto. Two nights ago, I picked up a box of 20 copies of Bel Canto at my local Barnes and Noble. My job is simple -- give away a great book to friends and colleagues. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the book (for free of course) drop me a note and let me know. If we can coordinate an easy drop off/pick up system, I'd love to get you a copy that day or shortly thereafter. I have delayed reading the book so I can enjoy it with everyone else at the same time. I have read and reviewed Ms. Patchett's recent book, State of Wonder, which I enjoyed. A blurb about Bel Canto from Amazon is as follows:
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxane Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds, and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.