And the date offers a number of reasons to celebrate:
It’s World Book and Copyright Day, it’s traditionally celebrated as Shakespeare’s birthday and the day of his death, and it’s also the day Miguel de Cervantes died.
It’s St George’s Day, too, (San Jordi) and Castile Day – not to be confused with Bastille Day, of course – or, perhaps more accurately, El Día de Castile y León.
It seems to me quite apt to celebrate castles in Spain and the world of books on the same day, and it’s also appropriate that the picture accompanying this post is taken from Lance Tooks’ upcoming book Sketches from Spain, due out in May. (Thank you, Lance, for permission to use it!)
I do wonder if the woman in the picture is feeling a little overwhelmed with the number of unread books and the limited time available – and if that’s the case, I can only sympathise.
I used to travel to work each day on public transport, which was a great opportunity to read. Now, though, working from my study requires no travelling, and I read considerably fewer books.
Here’s a poem written in the days when I did travel and read:
A spotless Stephen King
sits opposite Dostoyevsky
on the metro. The Russian
looks a little down-at-heel:
his jacket, once expensive leather,
is now worn and shabby. Sadly,
he is only a translation. Beside him,
a paternal-looking businessman
holds tight to JKR, while,
further down the car, a little girl
in a blue frock frets and scuffs
her round-toed sandals. Defiantly,
her bare arms clutch Lewis Carroll
to her undeveloped chest.
I probably ought to update it to take account of the number of people who now use i-phones and e-readers (which makes it almost impossible to identify what they’re reading). But I doubt even Lance could make a ‘digital reading device’ look quite as attractive as he’s managed with those books.