As both an avid reader and author, I spend a great deal of time with books, they form not only part of my professional life, but are a great source of entertainment and relaxation. I usually have a fiction and a non- fiction book on my bedside table and more in the lounge, where I enjoy sitting in my favorite chair, by the window, with a cup of tea and my latest tome.
And so, today is of particular interest to me, as I like to find out what is going on in the world of books and reading, and this day reminds me to do some research into the ways in which World Book Day is being recognised around the world.
To tell you a little more about it, it’s easier for me to refer you to some facts found in a recent post on Calendarlabs.com:
Today and every year, 23rd. April is World Book Day.
UNESCO undertakes the responsibility of the event with the aim of instilling reading habits among people, especially the youth. It also highlights the various issues surrounding authors, publishers and other related parties. Since Copyright is a big issue in the world of books and writing, there is always a focus on the issue on the World Book Day. That's why, in many parts of the world, this day is also known as the World Book and Copyright Day.
The first ever World Book Day was celebrated on April 23, 1995. The date as decided by UNESCO as it was also the death and birth anniversary of William Shakespeare, a world famous author. The date also coincided with the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, who was a noted Spanish author. Some other well-known authors whose birth or death anniversary falls on this day are Maurice Druon, Josep Pla and Halldor Laxness.
The idea of the day was taken from a Spanish tradition. April 23rd has always been celebrated as "The Rose Day" in Spain. On this day, people exchanged roses for showing their love and support, much like the Valentine's Day. However, in 1926, when Miguel de Cervantes died on the day, people exchanged books instead of roses in order to commemorate the death of the great author. The tradition continues to this day in Spain and that's from where the idea of the World Book Day originated.
There is also the tradition of organizing a reading marathon spanning two days in Spain, at the end of which an author is given the coveted Miguel de Cervantes prize by the King of Spain. In Sweden, writing competitions are organized across schools and colleges. In UK and Ireland, the day is celebrated on the first Thursday of March instead of April 23. to avoid a clash with St. George's Day
Another interesting fact, one of the world’s bests known writers, William Shakespeare, was born on April 23rd, 1564 and died on April 23rd. 1616. And so, why not take a little extra time to settle down with a good book or read an article about what’s trending in the literary world.
Although we all love to read the latest best seller and those recommendations from our local book store, this is the ideal time to try something in a different genre than you would normally read, perhaps a historical novel, some sci-fi, short stories, some poetry or a graphic novel. There’s so much material to enjoy and you can always check out your local library to see how they’re commemorating World Book Day.
If you have children, one of the best activities you can do today – share a book with them. Happy Reading!
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.