Shelf:Life tipped me off on a great program going on across the UK this year: a mass-reading program designed to introduce young readers to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (one of my very favorite books; my first copy of it (thankfully just a mass-market paperback), which I probably read fifty times, is falling apart. I recently acquired a new copy, the Chronicle Books edition, which should hold up a bit better.
The Lost World Read 2009 program, sponsored by a consortium of arts, education and government bodies across the UK, provides thousands of free copies of The Lost World (in either a full version or an abridged version for the very young), plus copies of a short biography of Charles Darwin. The BBC has also provided a free audio version of the book, and several cities have organized events around the mass-reading program.
The Lost World was chosen partly to honor Conan Doyle's 150th birthday and Darwin's 200th birthday, both celebrated this year.
A great idea, and one which I'm sure will bring much delight to those who read the book. It's one of the best.