I am grateful to Wikipedia for the following information: The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of Saint George's Day (also 23 April) in Catalonia, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange.
In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March. Although it might be argued that this makes it more a 'UK and Ireland Book Day' than a World Book Day as such, it was decided to avoid the established international 23 April date due to clashes with Easter school holidays. World Book Day UK began in 1998, launched by Prime Minister Tony Blair. In 2011 it will be held on Thursday 3rd March.
I thought I’d look at what I was reading in 1998 (because even I don’t go back as far as 1923).
In 1998 I read 17 books and four of those recorded were read aloud to Eldest (she’d have been four). To myself I read Leslie Thomas, Terry Pratchett, Nick Hornby, Helen Fielding, Arabella Weir, P.D.James, A.A.Milne, Philippa Gregory and Georgette Heyer. Largely light and funny novels, but also Libby Purves’ How Not to Raise a Perfect Child which was both tongue in cheek and helpful! To Eldest I read Dodie Smith (her two delightful Dalmatian stories), P.L.Travers’ Mary Poppins, and an odd little book called The Log of the Ark, a retelling of Noah’s Ark. At this time the girls shared bunk beds and Youngest got a story book of her choice first and then fell asleep while I read a chapter of a ‘proper’ book to her big sister.
Over the years we worked our way through the Puffins lurking on my bookshelf since childhood and added in some more recent authors. J.K.Rowling and Eoin Colfer are family favourites: we’ve read them individually, aloud and listened to them on tape and then CD!
Today I am reading Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble, my tenth book of the year. It’s not a competition, but I am amused to see that as the girls have got older, so that I rarely now read to them, I have found more time to read to myself, often while waiting for them to complete a ballet/swimming lesson. The three of us always have a book on the go. Husband also reads, but it’s more likely to be The Economist, military history or a Maths book.
What are you reading?