Sunday, April 24, 2011

I’m Still Here! & Happy (Belated) World Book Day

Yes, I’m still here, though I’ve been on a bit of an unexpected hiatus. Fortunately, most of the reasons are related to good things: I had a wonderful time at the London Book Fair where I was so caught up in the Russian market focus program that – oh, horrors! – I didn’t even realize until a few days ago that I missed hearing Kazuo Ishiguro. London wore me out but now I’m looking forward to Book Expo America next month.

A Russian friend wrote to me late last night, wishing me a happy World Book Day… I’d seen articles mentioning the significance of April 23 – among other things, it’s the day Shakespeare and Cervantes died and the day Nabokov was born – but didn’t realize until today that it’s formally known as World Book and Copyright Day. Quite apt, considering concerns about piracy and electronic books.

In a related note, I picked up a special copy of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas at the London Book Fair: it’s part of a World Book Night 2011 program, under which 25 books, in print runs of 40,000 each are being distributed… a million books in total, all to be tracked online, with the hope that people will share the books with friends. It’s a great idea, supported by dozens of publishers, patrons, and sponsors. The titles are varied to capture diverse readers: from Love in the Time of Cholera to poems by Seamus Heaney, from All Quiet on the Western Front to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. And so on. World Book Night will be celebrated on April 23 in 2012.

So happy World Book Day, a day late!

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