As part of your World Book Night Party,
try one or more of these bookish
• A book topple
• A book swap
• Book dating
• Book crossing
A book topple uses books like dominos. You line them
up on their ends in some kind of pattern, knock the
first one over and watch them fall, well, like dominos.
To make it work you’ll need lots of hardback books
from the library, plenty of time to set up, a large flat
surface to put them on, some logical and creative
minds to plan the positioning and some steady hands
to arrange them.
And a video camera to record the event for posterity.
If you’re really clever you can make them fall into a
Here’s a recent example from Barnsley library:
Not bad, eh?
A Book Swap pretty much does what it says on the tin.
Everyone at the party should bring a book and swap
it with someone else.
You could bring books that you love but no longer want
to keep or bring one of those books that you bought
and, let’s face it, are never going to get round to
There are several ways you could do your book swap.
Here are just a few options:
• Lay them out on a table and rummage for one you
• Pitch your books to the audience as if at an auction
and present to the highest bidder (or the person who
gives the best reason for needing the book).
• Stalk the person who has the book you want and
then try to persuade them that they really need your
• Stalk the person you fancy and persuade them that
you really need their book and that you’d love to
meet them for coffee to discuss it afterwards.
Carrying on the romantic potential of World Book Night,
why not try book dating?
For this you could adapt any number of tried and tested
dating formats such as:
• Take me out (in which 30 young people ply their library
books to one reader)
• Blind date (in which one reader asks questions of three
potential books and their owners to decide which one to
take home with him/her)
• Speed dating (in which participants move around the
room interviewing prospective books and their owners)
Take me out
For this dating game, follow (loosely!) the format of the
One person stands at the front and talks about his or
her reading habits and preferences, whilst everyone
else stands with their chosen library book.
Book givers can take themselves out of the game if they
don’t think their book is appropriate to the
contestant (You like to eat pizza while you’re
reading? No way!)
When there are 5 or 10 books left, the contestant gets
to ask some questions of the book givers and then
selects which book he or she is going to take out
from the library.
Blind Date was a long-running TV dating show in which
one man or woman asked three questions of three
unseen potential dates who were hiding behind the
screen. From their answers, he or she chose
someone to go on a date with.
To apply the concept to books simply do the following:
Have three young people bring along a favourite book
(or choose one from the library) and put them in
Have one person be the book chooser who asks three
questions of each book holder. Questions like:
• I like a book that keeps me guessing until the end.
How will your book hold my interest?
• I like an element of risk in my books. Will your book
leave me hanging from a cliff?
• I want a book that will make me cry. How will your
book tug at my heartstrings?
When the questions have all been asked, the book
chooser makes his or her selection and the identity
of the chosen book will be revealed.
In the real Blind Date, a camera crew then followed the
couple on their date and they came back the
following week to tell the viewers how it went. It
might be a bit much to film the contestant reading in
the bath but you could ask him or her to make a
short video diary to bring back to your group.
In a speed dating event, participants sit at either side of
a long table and, after a set time (say 2-3 minutes)
they move clockwise around the table to size up the
Participants have a score sheet and rate potential dates
out of 10 and make notes about their preferences.
At the end of the event, organisers review the score
sheets and let participants know about their
Brutal but efficient.
With book dating, instead of representing yourself, you’ll be
representing a book that you’ve enjoyed (or you might
chose to represent one of the World Book Night titles).
During your 2-3 minute chats, you can discuss the relative
merits of the books on offer and jot down your scores on
your score sheet.
At the end of the event, the organisers will review the
sheets and look for potential matches.
In order for it to work, two people would have to score each
others’ books highly and therefore be able to swap
It might be helpful to have contigency plans for when this
doesn’t work out neatly!
Even if you haven’t got World Book Night books to give
away, you can still spread the word about reading by
taking part in Book Crossing. Free some old books
into the wild by registering them on the Book
Crossing website and then leaving them in
interesting places around your local community.
For more on Book Crossing see:
Find out more: