Today is World Book Day. I think it’s fair to say that I got involved.
But first, what the ?&$# is World Book Day? I do get cynical about all these ‘world XXXX days’. When I was growing up in England, we had Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Mother’s Day and my birthday (I’ll leave you to wonder which was the most important). That was about it. In theory there were other things such as St George’s Day but that was not (and still isn’t) a public holiday and no one ever did anything special for St. George’s Day and so it didn’t really count. As for Father’s Day, I’d never heard of such a thing.
I just looked at this Wikipedia entry listing commemorative days. The calendar is full and yet misses many of the special days I’ve heard of. World Book Day doesn’t even make it to this list. Of the ones that did, I’m going to watch out for March 15th as the next big day: World Consumer Rights Day. What???
Most of the days on the list look like worthy causes and I guess they can benefit from focusing campaigning efforts on a special day, but most of the time I suffer from commemorative day fatigue. But when my son’s school in Bromham asked for volunteer dads to read to the class for World Book Day, well… books are kind of my thing.
So this morning I read Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss to my son’s class. The children enjoyed it, especially when I stumbled over the tongue-twisting words. I may have given some nightmares when I assured them that your tongue can get twisted into a permanent knot if you don’t read the words properly. Oh, well. Children like being scared.
I loved doing it too. I’ve trained adults many times on topics such as software testing techniques and how to access data cubes to track software development projects. But I’ve never talked to a school class. It felt very easy (which is, of course, really a tribute to the quality of the class teacher ).
When I got home I looked up World Book Day. If you’ve been scratching your head wondering why you haven’t heard of this international celebration, it turns out that the World Book Day has been set up by the British (and now Irish) book publishing industry in order to sell books to British and Irish readers.
Some Brits like to tease Americans when the latter talk about ‘World Series’ baseball. Well, now the World Book Day is the perfect riposte.
In any case, I’ve taken a big view of World Book Day by opening up the publishing arm of The Repository of Imagination, a interstellar story factory that has opened up a branch on our planet in recent months. If this sounds familiar to followers of The Mighty Tharg, alien editor of 2000AD, then that is certainly one inspiration.
The senior branch repositorian is named Crustias Scattermush. He might turn out to be the front for a number of human writers. At the moment, there are some stories from him due soon and (ahem!) the words for those stories might have something to do with me.
That’s his Twitter header above. Come chat with @Crustias for some off-world commentary.
Enjoy World Book Day!