Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dia del Libro

According to UNESCO, this Thursday is the International Day of the Book. April 23rd, 1616 happened to be the day that both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died, and in 1994 it was chosen by the United Nations as "...an opportunity to consider the major contribution of books to our cultural heritage and spark new initiatives from the fertile interaction between the pages - beit in printed or in electronic form - and the cultural wealth of humanity." Word.

The day sees its largest manifestation in the Spanish region of Catalunya, where the 23rd also happens to be the feast day of that region's patron saint, St. George. The highly literate Catalans celebrate by taking the day off work and giving gifts of books and roses. Half of the total yearly book sales in Catalunya take place on this day. Perhaps someone reading this is moved to give your humble Gurldogg a present on this sanest of holidays? Consider the recently published two volume collection of essays by another famous George with ties to Catalunya, George Orwell, about whom Julian Barnes recently said in the NY Review of Books: "He is interpretable, malleable, ambassadorial, and patriotic. He denounced the Empire, which pleases the left; he denounced communism, which pleases the right. He warned us against the corrupting effect on politics and public life of the misuse of language, which pleases almost everyone." Either volume 1, Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays or volume 2, All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays will be warmly received.

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