Today, 5 March, is World Book Day. It is an occasion, for bibliophiles, readers, writers, illustrators, book owners, borrowers, perusers, caressers and flippers, to show a little love to something wonderful .
I’ve always been a book lover. Apparently I doggedly learned to read before kindergarten, and just got dove headfirst into the worlds that books create. And I have yet to emerge. I mean sure I live in the real world, but books and their influence, are always part of how I interact.
Currently in my orbit are the following books: a recently finished copy of Dave Eggers’ The Circle (which I need to return), the delightful A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk which is in my bag (ordered from the American Book Center, that wonderful Amsterdam literary institution), along with my notebook. I’ve also just started reading a secondhand paperback copy of Sunstroke by Marc Blake, which has been on my shelf for a while, plus two books from the Do Lecture series (Improvisation and Storytelling), and I’ve been referring to a bluebound little copy of a 1936 printing of Hamlet, for something I’m currently writing.
The thing is: I love all these books, for the stories contained within, for the stories of how I got them and the possibilities of where they, as artifacts, may be going next. And of course for the words, ideas and stories they contain. And as far as books themselves go: I love having them around. The tricky part is making time to read.
Because even for me, a card-carrying bibliophile, carving out time to read is a challenge. I have needs like checking my phone, or writing a tweet, or washing the dishes, but very little delights me the way reading does.
There was nothing I loved more when I was younger than reading: detective stories, adventure tales and more, and that has shaped me well, shaped everything I do. And as today is World Book Day, I’m taking a moment to thing about how much I enjoy books, the feeling, the thought, the reading, and just having them in my life. I like to be surrounded by them, I like to go to new bookstores, I like to frequent used bookstores. I like to look at my shelves, think of the books I’ve read, see what might be in my literary on-deck circle, and marvel at their influence. And I encourage you, on today of all days, to do the same.
The World Book Day website says that “World Book Day is a celebration! … In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.”
So grab a book, and join celebrate. And as you head off to do so, bear in mind the epigram in the front of my edition of Hamlet. It says: “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit”- Milton.
Those are words to read by.