World Book Day 2010

Today, lovers and sellers of books in Britain and Ireland have cause for celebration as March 4th has been designated World Book Day 2010 in the British Isles. The rest of the book-loving world will celebrate World Book Day on April 23rd. How come the British and Irish get to celebrate their collective love of books early, I hear you ask? Well, first let me tell you a little about the significance of April 23rd in literary circles. Both Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakepeare died on April 23rd 1616, although Shakespeare died ten days later as Spain was using the Gregorian calendar while England was using the Julian calendar. Although Shakespeare’s date of birth is not known, it is also given as April 23rd, which was also the date of Vladimir Nabokov’s birth. In 1920s Spain, women began to give books as presents to their lovers every April 23rd to complement the roses that men had been giving for centuries. Every year, 400,000 books are sold in Catalonia at the end of April, representing a whopping half of all books sold throughout the year. In recognition of all these April 23rd literary goings on, UNESCO decided to launch World Book Day on this date in 1995. The day is primarily aimed at schoolchildren in Britain and Ireland but, as it often coincides with the Easter holidays there, it takes place on the first Thursday in March instead

This year, the organisers of World Book Day in Ireland have teamed up with Bookcrossing is the name given to the practice of leaving a copy of a book that you’ve read in a public place for either a passerby to pick up or to be collected by someone who’s come across it on the Bookcrossing site. I’ve placed five titles in a certain location in Limerick city and you can find out where on their site. The music to tie in with today’s post comes from some well-read and bookish bands, most of whom ply their musical trade in what is usually referred to as the indie scene. Towards the end of the selection, you’ll find a few songs that attempt to encapsulate some classic novels into three-minute pop classics. Albert Niland does a reasonable job of Kate Bush’s take on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. White Rabbit is based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Killing an Arab was influenced by Albert Camus’ L’Etranger (The Outsider). Finally, we finish on two spoken word pieces. Happy reading, folks!

Books From Boxes – Maximo Park

The Book I Read – Talking Heads

I’ve Read It In Books – Echo & the Bunnymen

Read About Seymour – Swell Maps

Books Written for Girls – Camera Obscura

Picture Book – The Kinks

If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot

Book Song – Fairport Convention

Buying a Book – Joe Tex

Writer’s Minor Holiday – Calexico

Adult Books – X

Pressed in a Book – The Shins

Bookshop Casanova – The Clientele

Bookshop Folk – Climbers

Everyday I Write the Book (Elvis Costello cover) – Alison Brown

My Back Pages (Bob Dylan cover) – The Byrds

Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush cover) – Albert Niland

White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane cover) – Karen Abrahams

Killing An Arab – The Cure

B.S. Johnson – The Pernice Brothers

Hey Jack Kerouac – 10,000 Maniacs

Reading On The Road – Jack Kerouac

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered (by Clive James) – read by Christian Rodska