I grew up in a house full of books and for a good few years I used to volunteer for a bookshop run by Oxfam in Headingley and now I spend some time most weeks in libraries in Leeds. I am fully of the belief that no form of storytelling is better than reading a book – so intimate but so able to be shared. Writers allow you to travel through time and space and imagination. I love books.
Last Thursday in the unusually heavy snow it was World Book Day… You may be wondering why you are reading this post after the event that it celebrates but actually we are very early – the UK and Ireland are the ONLY COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD that celebrated world book day last week. The rest of the world celebrates it on 23rd April.
Why do most countries celebrate World book day on 23rd April?
UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) decided World Book Day would follow a Spanish tradition of remembering the death of writer, Miguel de Cervantes, as by a historical coincidence, both William Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date — 23 April 1616.
But oddly they did not die on the same day because, at the time, Spain and England used different calendars (Gregorian and Julian calendars respectively) so actually there was a 10 day gap between their deaths.
Reading and wellbeing
It’s 10 years since a government think tank called Foresight commissioned a report looking at whether there were habits we could all get into, like eating fruit and vegetables, five a day to keep mentally well.
The suggestions were to
· Connect (with other people)
· Be active
· Take notice (of your environment, of the moment)
I think reading and going to libraries can allow us to do all these things – connect us to others and share interests; develop new routines; look around us; learn about history, new skills and perspectives and share our learning. What are you going to read next?
Read more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing report here: http://b.3cdn.net/nefoundation/d80eba95560c09605d_uzm6b1n6a.pdf
Written by Geraldine Montgomerie-Greenwood