Thousands of books left in public places around the UK for curious readers to discover
From fiction to design, and children's books to science, the Guardian has gathered thousands of books from publishers and authors and is distributing them around the country for free. Books will be left in public places where readers are liable to chance upon them, from stations and coffee shops to galleries and museums.
The giveaway is part of the Guardian and Observer Book Swap, for which readers and writers are also being asked to give their own favourite reads away. After inserting a bookplate sticker (which will come free with the papers on Saturday and Sunday, or can be downloaded online) into the front of their book, and writing a message for the finder, readers can then leave the book somewhere it will be picked up by a new owner and upload the details of where they left it at guardian.co.uk/bookswap or on Twitter (#guardianbookswap). The bookplate sticker asks the finder to upload a picture of the book where they found it, and to read it and review it on guardian.co.uk/bookswap.
Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw is among those taking part. "In deciding what to read, serendipity is something we need more of," he said. "The Book Swap is a fascinating idea because you might get a book placed in your hands invisibly, out of nowhere. I've chosen Tolstoy's novella Hadji Murad partly because it is a work of authentic genius, and it's relatively short. I envy the person who finds it and reads it for the first time."
Author and columnist Grace Dent, meanwhile, is keen to spread the word about her choice, Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. "I finally picked up and read this beauty last year. Frankly, I'm rankled it took me so long. I've determinedly tried to make others read it ever since, so Book Swap is a great chance for me, hopefully, to charm a stranger."
The Book Swap launches a six-week Guardian and Observer Book Season, which runs until the end of October and will see a host of free books, guides, audiobooks and competition giveaways, starting at the weekend with free John le Carré audiobook downloads: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the Saturday Guardian, and Our Kind of Traitor with the Observer on Sunday.
A guide to independent booksellers in the UK will be given away later in the season, with a Dickens wallchart also planned along with a children's audiobook CD giveaway during Children's Book Week (3 to 9 October).