This week, on April 23, we are celebrating World Book Day. We salute the joy of reading that can never be taken away from us, even if everything else shatters into pieces. This celebration is inspired by UNESCO, promoting literature, education, and fair copyright use. All the bookworms, college students, authors, editors, and publishers can rejoice, comfort themselves with a mug of tea, and celebrate the best-loved activity — reading. But what are other ways of creating a festive mood on World Book Day? Here are several fascinating ways to praise your favorite books, and not just by reading them.
Why has this date been chosen for World Book and Copyright Day? Well, this day happened to be quite crucial for the history of world literature. It is a commemoration day of one of the greatest English-speaking writers and the father of modern literature… you’ve guessed right, it’s William Shakespeare!
In the previous years, we were welcomed to celebrate this day outside, strolling through book-fairs, or going to public lectures. We could throw a book-themed party or participate in public readings. Some of us would do volunteer work, or simply drop by a favorite bookstore and bring home several kilos of literary catch! Nowadays, with the pandemic gathering its pace, we don’t have such a privilege — we are bound within our homes, adjusting to new routines and challenges. Even so, there is no reason to forget about this day or not to take any action.
I believe that many of us have realized the significance of reading: this activity provides us with food for thought, teaches us compassion, nourishes our imagination, or simply diverges our anxieties by bringing into a completely different world. Moreover, reading is an anchor for our communities, a vehicle for learning, and a valuable bonding experience (not only between kids and parents reading to them).
We have selected 9 fun activities that perfectly fit the date and the quarantine-circumstances. Since you are already a bookish person, suggesting you “reading a book on pandemics” is kind of plain. We’ve picked something less obvious that can compensate for our current lack of mobility and events. Let’s make World Book Day special together!
1. Cook a meal from your favorite novel
The Little Library Cafe has tons of recipes inspired by literature: you can find a meal as simple as sausage rolls that Neville liked so much (in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Or you can choose something more extravagant as Blinis Demidoff from Babette’s Feast by Karen Blixen. My advice is to start this day with some Blueberry and Chocolate Pancakes from The Goldfinch — a good enough reason to spoil yourself. For more literature inspired cookbooks, check a blog post here.
Mos of these initiatives appeared as a response to the pandemics: to entertain children and let their parents have some spare time in this challenging period. Although authors and actors mostly read children’s books, it’s hard not to muffle up in this blanket of tenderness that immediately throws you back to childhood days. Our favorite read alouds are on Storyline (Oprah <3) but also listen to Goodnight with Dolly. It goes without saying that you should check #Savewithstories: 5-minute stories read by celebrities like Reese Witherspooncheck or Eddie Redmayne.
3. Take book quizzes and tests
Do you want to know how impeccable of a bookworm you are? Or get tailored suggestions for what to read next? Try this tough quiz by Penguin — suitable only for ultimate book lovers. Goodreads also has a bunch of quizzes that test your expert knowledge in a particular book or subject, these are a lot of fun! But before you do so, make sure that you’ve actually updated yourself on the most relevant classic books. For reading recommendations, take a “What should I read next” quiz.
4. Watch film adaptations of great books that are totally worth it
The list of amazing adaptations is indeed endless, from Wuthering Heights to The Devil Wears Prada. What you can choose for tonight to celebrate World Book Day depends exclusively on personal preferences. Still, this list of classical literature adaptations from IMDB is a good start. If you want more cinematic and bookish experiences, you should laugh like crazy watching Black Books — a sitcom from the early 2000s with Dylan Moran.
There are millions of interviews with authors on YouTube: George Martin, Donna Tartt, Joanne Rowling, Nabokov. I recommend listening to the lectures by Nobel Laureates in Literature: from 2000 onwards, they are available on the Nobel Prize website. Although some of them were not delivered in English, there are translations provided.
If you want to watch some live-streams, you can join interviews from the Quarantine Book Club for a small voluntary donation. The club offers “spirited discussions from the privacy of our own quarantined space” with amazing authors, and not only fiction-writers! Check their calendar and book yourself a meeting with Chuck Wending or Lulu Miller. In any case, keep your eyes open and regularly check for similar events!
6. Support your local bookstores
These are not the best times for small businesses. If you want your favorite bookstore to open its doors again in a few months, make a donation now (together with a few orders, if the store is still operating for deliveries)! You can also get a membership from an independent bookstore in your neighborhood, even if you can’t make use of its benefits for a while. This will be excellent support for people who share the love for books with you. It’s so much easier to find an independent bookstore and make a donation (or provide any other help needed) with the Save Your Bookstore app. Spread the news so that more independent bookstores can join this network!
7. Read aloud!
Open a book and read a chapter to your children, younger siblings, parents, or any other member of your household. You can also invite your friends for a zoom chat and read something together!
Just pick up a book (short stories would work the best — the classics are by Edgar Allan Poe or O.Henry), or be bold and read some Whitman! Read in turns or role-play it! This can be very exciting, especially when you haven’t tried this before.
8. Check one of the most exciting early prints — the Nuremberg Chronicle from 1493
The first book was printed in Europe by Johannes Guttenberg in 1455, and since then, the world has never been the same. This first print is called the Gutenberg Bible (one of the copies can be checked here).
Within a few decades, printed books became more and more elaborated. One of my favorite pieces printed before 1501 (they are called incunabula) is a chronicle published in Nuremberg, compiled by a local intellectual and physician Hartmann Schedel. This book became the best-seller of its times, no exaggerating! It’s easy to understand why — it has more than 400 colorful illustrations, and its full-page panoramas of cities are exceptional. You can enjoy this edition even if you don’t know Latin or Old German — check this Latin edition from the Bavarian State Library.
9. Join a book club or organize one with your friends
Book clubs are fun: they give you a chance to socialize, they supply the group with shared experiences… and give you the joy of talking about favorite literary pieces. Establishing a book club is an excellent chance to strengthen the existing bonds (with your classmates, for example) or make new connections while discussing something you really like!
When setting up a book club, you should decide whether you all read the same book, or each of you will present something from your own lists. Decide on the frequency (every two weeks?), the date, and the platform — and off you go!
You can join the existing book clubs: some require strong commitment and take place regularly on Zoom. In contrast, other book clubs function via Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms, where you share your thoughts and concerns with other readers.
To give you an example — here you can commit to reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace, while Andrew Luck Book Club has a few books assigned per month. There are also plenty of book clubs on Goodreads. Find the one according to your literary preferences or be bold and dive into something yet unexplored!
Finally, you can share with the whole BooksRun community your favorite books and how you celebrate World Book Day! Use #WorldBookDay — a hashtag suggested by the UN — and don’t forget to tag BooksRun on Instagram or Twitter so that we can see and share your post!
Stay home, stay safe, keep on reading!