Thursday, March 6

World Book Day

Maybe you missed it: today, all across the globe, libraries, bookstores, universities, publishing houses, village schools, and missions stations are participating in various World Book Day festivities. The events are being coordinated by UNESCO--in hundreds of communities in over 30 countries. The idea for the celebration originated in Spanish Catalonia, where roses and books have traditionally been given as gifts to friends, neighbors, and loved ones on St. George’s Day--much as candy and flowers are given on St. Valentine’s Day here. I for one think that book-giving is a great tradition--very much worth perpetuating, even if it is the UN doing it!

So, in the spirit of this day and in honor of St. George, I present here a few of my favorite quotes about all things bookish:

"A broad interest in books usually means a broad interest in life." Lyman Abbott (1835-1922)

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Richard Steele (1672-1729)

"You can’t get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

"If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying." John Ruskin (1819-1900)

"When I get a little money, I buy books; and if there is any left, I buy food and clothes." Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

"A bookstore is an earthly elysium. In some strange way, it seems to represent so much of what man aspires to and it embodies so much of what man yearns for. Like a well-stocked library, a good used bookstore can be a sort of nexus of piety and sensuality, of holiness and seduction. Such sanctuaries from the hustle bustle of everyday life are in some sense cenacles of virtue, vessels of erudition, arks of prudence, towers of wisdom, domains of meekness, bastions of strength, and thuribles of sanctity as well as crucibles of dissipation, throne rooms of desire, caryatids of opulence, repositories of salaciousness, milieus of concupiscence, and trusses of extravagance." Tristan Gylberd (1954-)

So, with all that in mind, keep the feast of St. George today: give someone a really good, fat, tantalizing book!