Today, April 23rd, is World Book Day. Perhaps, in the scheme of things, such a day is not so momentous. It could easily pass unmarked or join the plethora of other “days” assigned to celebrate everything from “Jelly Bean Day” to “Hug a Plumber Day”. (Yes, both real!)
The celebration of books should, in my view, rank somewhere above a love of jelly beans or even a love of plumbers (although I’m sure many of them are very lovable in their own right). Why? Well, just think what people get from books:
Non-fiction books are like time capsules, preserving a moment in time. Whether it be a biography or a history or a travel guide, a reference book or a how-to book, these volumes capture things about our past and present that will educate and inform the people of the future.
Novels can transport you to places you’re never likely to go, expand your world view and draw you into the lives of fictional people. You can learn about the social mores of days gone by, see yourself reflected in characters and ponder the way the world works. You can sit on the sidelines of crime-solving and international espionage without the slightest danger of getting hurt. You can explore strange new worlds, and be transported to another time, place or galaxy, all without leaving your armchair.
What’s not to love about all of that? And is there any feeling that compares to the satisfaction of getting to the end of a well-crafted story that draws you in so much that you stay up late just to see what happens? I think not.
For me reading has done all of that, and more. As a youngster I read voraciously and loved anything that sparked my imagination and that made me feel like I could be a part of something bigger, if only in my mind. Reading has given me a greater understanding of my fellow human beings, made me feel intense emotions and continued to entertain and inspire me to this day.
But probably greatest of all, reading fed the flames of my love of writing. And, in celebration, here’s my own contribution to the world of books. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
So thanks to all the great writers who’ve blessed my times of reading. Oh, and Happy World Book Day to you!