So it’s World Book Day. I will admit that when I woke this morning the fact had slipped my mind, and it wasn’t until I started wondering why there were so many school children in costume that it clicked.
So what books are you all reading today? Right now I’m reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’m a bit of a latecomer to Gaiman’s work. I’ve been familiar with his graphic novels and television work, but I’d never sat down to one of his actual novels. Recently I had a family member in the hospital and so knew I would need something to read in the waiting room, so I decided to start at the beginning and downloaded American Gods onto my Kindle.
I’m not going to go into detail about how good this novel is. If you’ve read it, you know. If you haven’t, go and read it and then come back and join the people who know how good it is.
Then by serendipitous chance I received an offer from Amazon for a free ebook, and one of those on the list was Stardust. So two Neil Gaiman ebooks for the prize of one. Who’s going to turn that offer down?
I will admit, I am not enjoying the second as much as the former. That’s not to say that it’s not good. It’s very good. Gaiman is in that category of writers about whom you can say “The worst Neil Gaiman book is vastly superior to the most author’s best efforts.” Maybe I was spoilt by reading such a good book beforehand. Maybe I was spoilt by having seen the film adaptation – which I loved – before reading the book. I’m not saying I’m not enjoying it or that it’s not an amazing story. Far from it. It is both of those things. It’s just for me it’s just not quite hitting the same tonal balance as his debut.
But this is what days such as World Book Day are about. Reading new authors, delving into their body of work and discovering stories you hadn’t yet experienced. You’re not going to love them all. I have a list of authors whose work I cannot believe got published, but I know other people loved them and I’m glad I experienced them. I’ve read far more books I’ve loved than I’ve hated.
I know a lot of the attention for World Book Day is aimed at encouraging children to read, and that’s a great thing to be doing. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all take it as an opportunity. Reading is something everyone can enjoy no matter their age. There are enough worlds out there to satisfy anyone’s interests. There simply is no reason not to get lost in a good book.
Maybe today you’ll pick up a book and find yourself unable to get through the first chapter. But maybe it will drag you through it’s pages without rest, introducing you to a series or a writer you never knew you would love so much, and within a year you have every book they’ve ever written lined up on your shelves or downloaded onto your tablet, and already be rereading them while irritating your friends and family with your constant insistence they try them and your disbelief that there are people who don’t agree with you that these are the greatest works of fiction in history!
So no excuses. Not today. Even if it’s just for a few minutes at the end of the day, when the kids are in bed and the housework is done. Go and pick up that book you always meant to start. Or that old favourite you’ve read a hundred times and could read a hundred times more.
Happy book day everyone.