Happy World Book Day, everyone! (The link below is to what seems the official site.)
Today is World Book Day!
World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on the 23rd of April in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day. A related event in the United Kingdom and Ireland is observed in March. (World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland.)
Reading has been an important part of my life for close to 6 decades now. My first memory of being read a book was The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss when I was 3 or 4 years old. While I don't remember understanding the words fully, it was the evocative pictures that I remember the most. I don't remember what the first (more adult) book I ever read was, but it was close to the time that I first read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, followed by Isaac Asimov's Foundation, and then Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. When I was 8 or 9. Those books have shaped my taste in fiction and love for science fiction and fantasy, but I also read historical fiction, various types of non-fiction, and books from the mainstream literary field that appeal to me. I also love science books (notably those on anthropology, archaeology, palaeontology, and the space sciences fields). That said, I draw my line (in the sand) at romance novels and horror books.
Literacy has seemingly dropped somewhat among the North American and other cultures, partially due no doubt to the presence of electronic devices and smartphones. This is a day that reminds us to *READ* books ourselves, for so many reasons, but especially to see other viewpoints, to read about subjects and topics we may not know or have an understanding about. But more importantly, today is the day to give a book to a child and read with them and introduce them to the wonderful world of literary imagination and creativity. Reading is important and vital in our culture and society.
And, in many ways, at least for me, it's what has kept me sane.