In some ways, the setting aside of one day a year to celebrate something—World Pi Day, World Grilled Cheese Day, World Poetry Day—can be said to have gotten somewhat out of hand (not the grilled cheese day, though). But it’s also kind of lovely, a way for us all to take a moment in our day to acknowledge how special something or someone is to us, even though we know full well we should be celebrating it or her/him every day.
I couldn’t let today’s world “days” go unnoticed because they celebrate two of my favorite things: reading and books!World Book and Copyright Day
April 23 is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth and death and Miguel Cervantes’ death, and UNESCO chose this day to celebrate “reading, publishing, and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.” This year, UNESCO is also marking the 80th anniversary of the Index Translationum, “a database containing information about published translations provided by national libraries, translators, linguists, researchers and databases worldwide.” The League of Nations established the program, which predates UNESCO, in 1932.
How to celebrate? Reading something in translation seems like a good way to acknowledge the day. If you’re pressed for time, how about reading some haiku? Click here to discover 10 Japanese haiku that have been translated into English. The page includes a scan of the worksheet that shows the two translators’ work.
Or, if you’re blessed with an abundance of time, you could always read Don Quixote.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the fun is over. World Book Night began in the U.K. in 2011 as “an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books,” according to their website. What does this mean, exactly? Participants promote and spread the love of reading among adults by giving away free “World Book Night” paperbacks, a list of 30 titles that includes “Zeitoun,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Hunger Games,” “Bel Canto,” and “The Kite Runner” (among others).
So if you see people giving away books, you’ll know why!
Since it’s a little late to get in on the giving-away-books act, I came across another wonderful way to mark the occasion: Emily Temple at flavorwire.com suggests reading aloud to or with friends and family tonight and shares 10 books whose language lends itself to being heard aloud. You can read her article by clicking here. Though I would like to add that reading aloud is an excellent activity for any day of the year.