So I was curious, what with the plethora of holidays on the way, as to whether there is a holiday which belongs specifically to books: a day for swapping books, giving books, reading books, eating books, or whatever traditions might be involved. Of course, we need another holiday just at this time of the year the way we need another big toe on each foot (as I was informed by Hallmark when I tried to promote a line of St. Andrew’s Day cards to do for the Scots what St. Patrick’s Day does for the Irish. As St. Andrew’s Day falls November 30, this idea offered no profit to the folks at Hallmark, and I missed another chance at immortality.)
I was directed by my computer to consider World Book Day, which is on April 23, marking the death date of Cervantes and Shakespeare, to name but a few. (I MUST point out, because it fascinates me as much as it did Wikipedia, that Cervantes and Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616, but not on the same DAY, because their respective countries had different calendars. Isn’t that int…stop snoring: you’ll wake the reader next to you.)
Anyway, World Book Day is a production of UNESCO, though it follows a tradition in Spain of giving books on April 23. They have it as a day to celebrate reading and publishing and copyright and…it carries a little too much important cultural weight for me, sriracha sweet potato. Is there a holiday JUST for enjoying books, without pulling in other cultural phenomena?
My computer next directed me to Nude Reading Day, but that has its cultural overtones as well…or some kind of overtones. Is there no Bring Your Book to Work Day, or Lock The Door and Read a Book Day?
There’s going to be, Cranberry Potato Chip. I hereby nominate the Sunday After Thanksgiving as Reading Sunday. It’s the only day in the four days after Thanksgiving when we’re not being urged to go buy something. AND it’s a day when a lot of people are going home after a big weekend, so it’s a day when the kids in the back seat, at least, could be reading a book. How’s about it?
We can work on a traditional holiday greeting (“Read Any Good Books Lately?”), scrounge up a few carols “We Wish You a Happy Hardback”), and send each other cards (nothing shorter than 16 pages.) I’ve thought hard about the traditional meal. After discarding the suggestion that we eat great volumes (since we did that Thursday), I say that any leftover you can eat with one hand while holding the book in the other will do fine: a turkey sandwich, a sturdy chunk of pie, a handy bowl of pecans. No need to cook something fancy, unless you want to read a cookbook: everyone else will be too deep in chapter 17 to notice. Exchanging books will be expected, but don’t forget to hang up your bookbag at bedtime so Uncle Blogsy can slide out from under the bookcase and fill it with bookmarks, reading lights, and gift memberships to the Newberry. No other activities are expected: you won’t have to go library-to-library caroling because this would make you fall behind on your reading.
If anybody calls you that day to attend a Book Group meeting to discuss what wine to drink with John LeCarre, just tell ‘em you’re booked.