Books, Books and More Books for World Book Day.
How can two famous writers both have 23 April as the anniversary of their death and have died 11 days apart?
I’ll come back to that, get your thinking caps on.
St George´s Day, 23 April is celebrated in England, as St George is the Patron Saint of England, and it is traditional to wear a red rose in his honour. But, St George is also an important Saint in Spain, particularly in Catalonia, where 23 April has been ‘The Day of the Rose’ since 1436.
In honour of Miguel de Cervantes, soldier, novelist, poet and playwright, best known as the author of Don Quixote, this date has also been World Book and Copyright Day, also known as the International Day of the Book, since 1926. Books, as well as roses have been given as love tokens on that date since then.
Cervantes(1547-1616 ) actually died on 22 April and was buried on 23 April according to the Gregorian Calendar which was still in use in Spain. That´s a massive clue to my earlier question!
In 1995 UNESCO decided that World Book and Copyright day would be on this date because of the Catalonian festival and also because it was the date of both the birth, in 1564, and the death, in 1616 of William Shakespeare. A fortuitous coincidence for UNESCO, except that in actual fact Shakespeare died 11 days after Cervantes, on 23 April on the Julian calendar which was in use in England.
So that sorts that out!
In Spain Don Quixote is read in a two day read-athon on 22 and 23 April every year.
In England, and also in Germany, the event has mushroomed and it is hoped that in the future it really will become a WORLD Book day and be celebrated worldwide.
The main event in England on 23 April is now actually World Book NIGHT, when, with massive media coverage 20,000 volunteers undertake to give away 20 books each, to people who do not read regularly, encouraging them to make a commitment to reading the book and then passing it on to another infrequent reader. There are 20 titles to choose from and the volunteer can choose which book to take. This year’s titles are at the end of this article.
In the build-up to the event libraries and schools hold book-review and writing and poetry competitions and a whole host of events to encourage reading, and every child in England gets a free book token to the value of one pound. A selection of special editions priced, at one pound is made available in the shops to ensure that it is possible for every child to purchase a book. This has been moved to the first Thursday in March in recent years as 23 April is already celebrated as St George´s day and also children are often on holiday on that date, depending on when Easter falls, depriving the schools of the opportunity to make this a really special event for school children.
This year’s give-away books 2016:
1. After the Fall by Charity Norman (Allen and Unwin)
2. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton (Constable, Little, Brown)
3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (HarperCollins)
4. Chickenfeed by Minette Walters (Quick Read) (Pan Macmillan)
5. Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson (Head of Zeus)
6. Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle (Quick Read) (Vintage, Penguin Random House)
7. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Pan Macmillan)
8. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.) (Bloodaxe)
9. Honour by Elif Shafak (Penguin General, Penguin Random House)
10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion / Hachette Children’s)
11. Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster)
12. Queen’s Gambit by Liz Fremantle (Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House)
13. Skellig by David Almond (Hachette Children’s)
14. Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind (Hesperus)
15. Street Cat Bob by James Bowen (Quick Read) (Hodder)
16. The Martian by Andy Weir (Ebury, Penguin Random House)
17. The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington (Canongate)
18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Transworld, Penguin Random House)
19. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Two Roads, John Murray)
20. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman (Headline)
2014 Book List
- The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
- Zora and Me by Victoria Bond & T.R. Simon
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
- The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice, Book 1 by John Flanagan
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Large Print edition) by Jamie Ford
- The Lighthouse Road by Peter Geye
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
- Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
- Pontoon by Garrison Keillor
- Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
- Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
- Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan
- Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee
- Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
- Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
- Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
- Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
- The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
- Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Large Print edition) by Maria Semple
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
- Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
- 100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith
Giveaway books for 2013:
- The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
- Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
- Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
- The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
- A Little History of the World by E.H Gombrich
- Little Face by Sophie Hannah
- Damage by Josephine Hart
- The Island by Victoria Hislop
- Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
- Last Night Another Soldier… by Andy McNab
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
- The Reader by Bernard Schlink
- No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Road Home by Rose Tremain
- Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
- Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges by John Wagner
Blog Category: Miscellaneous Tags:Writing,Journalism:Interest