“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Today is World Book Day, traditionally celebrated by school children and librarians alike, World Book Day was always a favourite for me as a child, I've always loved books. And even now I have a bookcase overflowing and sadly often neglected. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of reading copy after copy of old Reader's Digest annuals at my Great Grandparents beach house in a small village in Greece. I had literally read every other book (which was suitable for a 7 year old in the entire house) and so worked my way through the annuals, I partially credit reading these to my wealth of random general knowledge.

Reading is really important to me, I write a blog and am constantly reading blogs, so it's pretty obvious right? Earlier this year I applied to be a 'giver' on World Book Night :) World Book Night is on April 23rd and is a celebration of reading. Did you know that in the UK over half of adults of working age have a literacy level below that of the level of a good GSCE. Literacy levels are on the increase but along with this reading for pleasure has begun to decline, I myself am massively guilty of this. I don't read for pleasure enough, instead I'm often reading academic journals or books for college, this year I've made a conscious choice to put time aside and actually read books I enjoy.

Between a third and a half of the UK population do not regularly read. I find this really sad, we are so privileged to be able to read and write and some people do take it for granted. World Book Night is a charity funded organisation which aims to involve tens of thousands of people in the joy that is reading.

This year I am a 'giver' for World Book Night and will be giving away 20 copies of The Reader by Bernard Schlink, the main reason I signed up was reading this story of a giver last year:

 ‘Maybe the best story was about the book I didn't give away. I asked Rani if she would like a copy of Small Island; would she promise to read it if I gave her one. "No" she said, "I'm 57 and I can't read nor write, I can't take your book" She wants to learn so much, she says, but how do you find out about where you can learn to read if you can't read? When she goes to the hospital or the bank, she says she has forgotten her glasses so other people fill in the forms for her. She told me she can't use trains as she can't read the stations. Her life is truly impoverished by her inability to read. So, we have made a pact. I have her phone numbers. I will find her a local literacy scheme, get her on it and next year, she will take a World Book Night book - and read it for herself.’ Sara Nathan, Giver testimonial 
source

Books are hugely important and with the technology we have these days, we have  access to them in so many ways, I think it is important that we celebrate books. I'm so excited to share these books with people, perhaps some who don't get the chance to read much. I don't know if my books will have as great an impact as Sara's did, but I hope that even one person out the twenty will perhaps be exposed to the joy of reading for the first time, we'll see.

Have any of you taken part in World Book Night before? As a giver or been given a book perhaps? I haven't read The Reader yet but I'm starting it tonight, so I can have a bit of insight into the book I'm giving away. I'll keep you posted on what it's like, and I urge you all to also try and read more, I'm as guilty of it as anyone else but I'm trying to change that, after all I love reading.

(For more information on World Book Night click here)

Till next time lovelies, 
Iona