General

One Of The Best Habits

Yesterday here in Britain World Book Day was observed. It was started by a charity to encourage kids to read:

World Book Day is the world’s biggest campaign to provide every child and young person in the country with a book of their own. A registered charity, World Book Day is generously supported by sponsor National Book Tokens and brings together the UK and Ireland’s bookselling and publishing industries in an extraordinary collaboration. World Book Day returns in 2019 after one of its biggest years to date with a range of new initiatives that will help to get even more books directly into the hands of children and young people, especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. Catering for all age groups, from toddler to teen, the expanded list of 13 new Β£1 titles for World Book Day 2019 has been created to appeal to the widest possible range of children and young people, tastes and abilities.

I had forgotten about it until I saw it mentioned on Instagram. I decided to post this:

I also sought out some media takes. For instance, kids dress up as their favo(u)rite characters. The tabloid Mirror newspaper tells us the day has evidently morphed into a literary version of Halloween:

World Book Day: Parents spend more on outfits than they do on novels

Parents, yeh, who’d have ’em.

Seeking a more nuanced view, I wondered what some of the “prestige” newspapers thought? I ended up first at the Stalin just did central planning too insensitively, of course today he would have supported LGBT rights and embraced windmills at his tractor factories to join in the battle against climate change Guardian:

Campaigners warn of ‘book poverty’ as UK celebrates World Book Day

The Guardian does the Guardian: always looking on the bright side of life.

Then I thought: how about the centrist, determinedly “middle class” everything wrong in the Middle East – actually, pretty much everything wrong everywhere – is America’s fault; leaving the European Union means the end of civilization; there are inexpensive holidays available to Peru; and, oh, look, the ciabatta bread at Waitrose is on offer Independent:

World Book Day: The 25 best books by women

That list might be more useful for today – indeed it’s today now restyled for International Women’s Day. Did the Indie there have some READING comprehension issues or it did not READ at the World Book Day site above that the day is supposed to be about kids and none of those are books really for kids under age 14 or so? Quick, let’s reuse it tomorrow? Nevermind.

Back to the actual point to the day: Kids having access to books. A love of reading is one of the best habits one can instill in a child. I saw my parents regularly reading for relaxation. I will always remember my mother loving her huge John Jakes and Herman Wouk hardcovers and my dad with his history books. Gee, can parents influence their kids?

[Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995 on my desk. Photo by me, 2018.]

Reading opens doors to knowledge and the wider world. A child who reads will become an adult who does. Reading is also changing more dramatically technologically in this century than at any time since the invention of type-set printing.

[Conventions: The Garden At Paris, on Kindle. Photo by me, 2019.]

Every author in touch with reality now knows it’s no longer just about volumes in libraries or in bookstores; it’s also about Kindles and other e-readers. Indeed my books are purchased mostly on e-readers. Based on what I’ve seen online and been told directly, most of those purchasers appear to be women; and I also get a distinct sense based on what I’ve been able to discern that many of them are young enough to have a tough time not only recalling a world prior to the existence of personal computers, but increasingly even of the one before that now nearly twelve year old – can you believe it? – Kindle.

You are stumped about what to buy for a child’s or a teen’s birthday gift? Think about what the kid is interested in and buy her or him a book or books – in any format – that touches on that interest… and then leave them to it. A thoughtful book(s) purchase shows them you think about them and care about them.

Have a good weekend, wherever you are. πŸ™‚

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