I no longer do so for pleasure as often as I would like, but I love to read. I am forever grateful to my parents, grandparents, and aunt for giving me that gift. On World Book and Copyright Day, I give thanks for that gift and resolve to exercise it more often.
True confession. Before today I did not know this particular day existed. But it does. While everyday is a good day to read, UNESCO has designated 23 April as World Book and Copyright Day. As the UN News Centre reports:
UNESCO chose 23 April to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day as it also marks the day in 1616 that Britain’s William Shakespeare, Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes and the Peruvian writer “El Inca” Garcilaso de la Vega all died. The prominent writers Vladimir Nabokov, Halldór Laxness, Josep Pla, Maurice Druon and Manuel Mejía Vallejo were also either born or died on this day.
I have never joined the Professional Organization of English Majors, but my undergraduate degree was in English. I chose that major in large part because I like to read.
To celebrate World Book and Copyright Day (or at least the last 30 minutes or so of the day), I have pondered the question: what is my favorite book?
Of course I cannot answer that question, but I can list many favorites – almost all novels. Here are 10 – in the order they occur to me – which may say something about how much I like them or it may reflect more on how my mind is working this evening.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (yes, that’s three, but I am counting them as one) – Tolkien
- The Plague – Camus
- Possessing the Secret of Joy – Walker
- Lonesome Dove – McMurtry
- A Pen Warmed up in Hell – Twain (many of his collections of essays or short stories could be added)
- Moby Dick – Melville
- A Lesson before Dying – Gaines
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Solzhenitsyn
- The Grapes of Wrath – Steinbeck
- To Kill A Mockingbird – Lee
- Things Fall Apart – Achebe
- The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky
Yes. That’s twelve, not ten. And that demonstrates the challenge, because even as I exceed my stated number, I think of other marvelous works by other wonderful writers (think Joyce or Faulkner or Garcia Marquez or Morrison or Thurston or Silko or Dickens – and the list goes on).
And so I ask: what books would you add?
And so I say: thanks be for all who write and all who read – thanks be for my family who inspired my love of reading.
See you along the Trail.