Good afternoon, fellow Bookworms!
For those here in the UK, especially if you have anyone who’s gone to school today in costume, Happy World Book Day! My niece has gone as a cat. Apparently, she wanted to go as a frog, but my sister somehow managed to persuade her daughter to go as a cat as she did already own a cat outfit! Not sure if it’s in honour of The Cat In The Hat, Mog The Forgetful Cat, or the other Mog, the witch’s cat from Meg And Mog, but I’m sure I’ll find out which literary feline Charlotte was representing!
Of course, for most of the world, World Book Day is actually 23rd April, my birthday, but I think the reason we have it in early March over here is because they wanted a date when children would be in school in any given year. As I know well, 23rd April can sometimes fall during the Easter holidays – there were quite a few occasions, growing up, when I was celebrating my birthday without having to go to school that day.
When they chose early March, I don’t think they minded so much that the actual World Book Day of 23rd April is also St George’s Day here in England, as there are actually book-related traditons in other parts of the world which also celebrate on that day. In Catalonia, where St George is known as Sant Jordi, books are given as pressies, as well as roses, and there are book stalls and book fairs on that day. I think the people behind WBD in the UK simply wanted to ensure that our event tied in with encouraging a love of reading in schools.
World Book Night is still on 23rd April over here, though. That’s when people act as Book Givers and give out free copies of certain selected books that evening to encourage people to read if they don’t normally read much. I was a Book Giver four years ago, handing out copies of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, on my 39th birthday in 2012. I was giving them out at the Trafford Centre. I had thought, initally, it’d be to shoppers, but it tended to be members of staff as things turned out. Those who worked in the shops, refreshment stands, eateries, and the customer information centre under the main dome. It was a Monday night on that occasion, it was pretty quiet, really, so a lot of them were pretty bored at work with few customers to serve, and were actually glad of some mad bookworm coming along with a suitcase full of books, giving out free copies! If you check out my blog entries from around the autumn of 2011 up to and including April 2012, you’ll probably find a lot of mentions of World Book Night and my preparations for it!
Anyway, not that I need an excuse, but I used World Book Day as an excuse to bag a few bargains at charity shops in Salford before I headed home after my woodwork. I am especially impressed at having been able to bag a hardback copy of The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, for a mere quid at the British Heart Foundation shop! Epic Win! I also got After The Ball, by Nobby Stiles, and To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters, by Dave Thompson, from that shop, although those were £1.50 each. Still not too bad, though. The other two books on that photo were 99p each and were from the Salford Charities shop, I think. I got H Is For Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, and The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, by Deborah Rodriguez.
When I got home from my crafting and book-shopping exploits in Salford, I found a book had been added to the books on the landing, near our bathroom. Laid on top of the existing books was Wheelbarrow Across The Sahara, by Geoffrey Howard, who had previously been the vicar at St Thomas’ Church in Pendleton, Salford, where my Grandma and Grandad used to go to church, and actually pretty near to where I had been hanging out this morning, doing my woodwork, then having lunch and buying bargain books, lol!
The above book would actually qualify as a Handbag Book, due to it being quite slim. As to the existing literary contents of my handbag, I reached page 91 of Breakfast At Tiffany’s over lunch, so I’m over halfway through the book and almost at the end of that particular story, although there are three shorter stories after the main one. While I’m on the subject of short stories, there are a couple of books knocking around here which are collections of short stories, and both would be decent Handbag Books. I have The Last Dance and Other Stories, by Victoria Hislop, and I also have Nocturnes, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which contains “five stories of music and nightfall” – that actually sounds quite promising, particularly regarding the music! I’ve not read any Ishiguro previously, but I have read one of Victoria Hislop’s novels, The Return, and I really enjoyed it. That one is set in Spain, these short stories are set in Greece.
I was about to bring this to a close when an email alert on my laptop told me I had an email from Book Depository – our editors’ top picks for March. One of them is quite intriguing and has a lovely cover! I am considering The Maker of Swans, by Paraic O’Donnell. Don’t you think that’s a great cover?! Certainly enough to make me want to find out more and see if it was my cup of tea or not. Obviously, I go off the blurb for that, to see if it’s the sort of book which would interest me, but that cover really does stand out! Not decided whether or not to go for it, as yet, given that my TBR list is already ridiculously long (with each book laid end to end, it could probably reach the moon, lol), but I could see myself being the owner of a copy at some stage.
Anyway, I am off out for a ruby murray in a bit. There’s an Indian restaurant on Salford Quays, which is a good job, as our old one at the bottom of our road is no longer a curry house. It’s La Turka now, and very nice it is too, but it used to be the Passage To India, which thus had a very literary name. I do have a copy of A Passage To India, although that is on my never-ending list of books I’ve yet to get round to reading! Until my next instalment of book-related waffle, take care and Happy Reading!
Joanne x x x
Books mentioned in this blog entry:
- The Cat In the Hat – Dr. Seuss
- Mog, the Forgetful Cat – Judith Kerr
- Meg and Mog – Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
- The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
- After The Ball: My Autobiography – Nobby Stiles
- To Major Tom: The Bowie Letters – Dave Thompson
- H Is For Hawk – Helen Macdonald
- The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
- Wheelbarrow Across the Sahara – Geoffrey Howard
- Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
- The Last Dance and Other Stories – Victoria Hislop
- The Return – Victoria Hislop
- Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall – Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Maker of Swans – Paraic O’Donnell
- A Passage To India – E. M. Forster