I love everything about books. I especially enjoy the smell of an old, rare or collectible book. It's so satisfying to find one at a second hand store, or at my neighbor's lily pad sale; to rescue it and give it a new, permanent home in my collection. And what about new books? Don't you love receiving a new book, all fresh, crisp, and unread? It becons you to sit, open it up, and read a few pages. There's so much anticipation as you turn the page. I simply enjoy reading books, whether new or old. And the subject doesn't really matter, as long as it's well-written.
Getting lost in a good story, even as a young tadpole, has never lost it's thrill for me. I find it endlessly fascinating the way writers string words together and form wonderful, scary, happy, mysterious, sad, and even terrifying stories. Words are only words until they're put together. And then they have endless potential to amuse us, scare, us, make us cry, or jump for joy.
So how did National Book Lovers Day come to be? No one seems to know for certain. But what we do know is that books began as carvings on stone tablets. Humans and frogs alike have always had stories to tell. Then books came along. A wonderful, more portable method, of carrying those stories with us. Books were originally written in ink on parchment or vellum (calf skin) and bound together with a wooden cover. Sometimes, the wooden cover was tightly wrapped in leather to prevent the wood from getting wet. These early books were fastened with clasps, or straps. Books changed and became more accessible in the 1440's when the Guttenberg press was developed. Guttenberg was a goldsmith by profession but developed a complete printing system which perfected the printing process through all of its stages. By the 1500's the printing press spread throughout much of western Europe and over 20 million books had been printed! By the 16th century, printing presses were even more common, in more countries and, it is estimated, that between 150 and 200 million books were in print by that time.
Both the typewriter and the computer have had positive effects on books, as well. These "new-fangled" gadgets made writing books much easier and much faster. And today, books can be downloaded onto every type of electronic gadget from a desktop computer to the small cell phone. Lucky us! We can read a book whenever and wherever we like. For me, though, there's something magical in holding book in my hands. Yes, it's a bit tricky turning the pages when you only have 3 digits but, somehow I make it work. And I read ALL the time!
So how does one celebrate Book Lovers Day? Find a good story and read it! Or, perhaps, visit your local library (especially if you haven't been there in a while...) Lots has changed since you were a kid, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Back in the very early days of public libraries, books were chained up to prevent the loss and theft of valuable hand-written tomes. Not so today, thank goodness!
No matter your reading preference, or the genre of books you like, reading helps us grow and think. With books, we can loose ourselves in the beauty of a story, improve our minds, travel to distant lands, have a good laugh, or learn a new skill. Books offer us endless ways to entertain ourselves.
However you choose to celebrate today, make sure it includes reading. Personally, I think one of the best ways to celebrate this auspicious day is to read a book to a child; maybe even one of mine. But whatever book you pick to read, you'll be giving that child one of the greatest gifts they'll ever receive, and it's a gift that will endure a lifetime....the love of a good book!