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Book Lovers Day

National Book Lovers Day

Books are the purest form of escapism. They can take you to any time, place, or culture. In honor of National Book Lovers Day August 9, we put away our smartphones, pull out a good book and simply read. (Well, an audiobook will suffice too.) From clay tablets to today’s eBooks, literature has played a crucial role in preserving cultures, educating the masses, and storytelling. Thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th-century printing press, anyone, not just royalty, monks or landed gentry, could read and own books. But, alas, there was no overnight shipping. Today, join a book club or re-read a favorite novel because National Book Lovers Day rocks!

Book Lovers Day appreciates the medium that has withstood and preserved its importance in time — literature. Our love for books knows no bounds — someday we’ll write a book on it.

The modern book is made by binding paper, but before the invention of paper, books came in the form of tablets, scrolls, and engravings. Every civilization had its own way to document events. Some time in 3500 B.C., the Mesopotamians would make markings on clay tablets using a pointed device, made from the stem of the reed plant, called the calamus. These writings on the moist clay were called ‘cuneiform.’ Approximately 20,000 of these tablets were discovered in modern-day Iraq.

Paper was invented in China in the 1st century A.D. By experimenting with various materials such as hemp, fishnets, and the mulberry plant, Ts’ai Lun invented the first paper. With time, printing on woodblocks also became the go-to way of reproducing books in China. The ancient scrolls dating back to the 4th century B.C. are considered the first ‘books,’ but by today’s definition, the oldest surviving compiled book is “The Diamond Sutra” which was published in China on May 11, 868.

Hardback books ruled the market at the start of the 20th century, with a certain prestige associated with the hard bindings of books. But from 1937 onwards, paperbacks rose in popularity, paving the way for digests, pulp fiction, and pocket-friendly books.

Advancement in computers and technology led to the digitization of books, with the first book sold in CD format in the 1980s, “The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia.

1.Visit your local library
Public libraries have been around since the Middle Ages. But back in those days, books were often chained to the bookcases to prevent theft. On National Book Lovers Day, reconnect with the past by browsing the shelves at your local library. Bonus points if you pick a book off the shelf, find a cozy nook and read it right there at the library.

2.Make as many literary references as possible
National Book Lovers Day is a day of great expectations. It’s not a quixotic task to make as many literary references as possible. If you manage to reference at least 10 books, you deserve a red badge of courage.

3.Participate in a book exchange
What better way to celebrate National Book Lovers Day than by trading an old favorite with a friend in exchange for something new? Better yet, get a few friends together for a group book exchange. Before handing off your book, share a few words about what that book means to you.

A. Books connect us to the universe
American novelist James Baldwin said it best: “You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” Books help us understand each other, feel less alone, and put our complex emotions into words.

B. Books let us escape the limits of time and space
Books are powerful. They’re the only medium that can transport us through time and space — into the past, present, future, and faraway worlds — galaxies away. We don’t even have to leave our couch or change out of our pajamas!

C. The book Is (usually) better than the movie
Can you think of many movies that break this rule? Screenplays often simplify subtle complexities of the book and sadly, in many cases, the original author may have very little input. Go to the movies? No, thanks. We’d rather read a book! At least on National Book Lovers Day.


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