World Book Day

April 23 is celebrated as the World Book Day in the memory of the greatest bard ever – Shakespeare. Deccan Herald carried a very interesting article on this eve. The article had snippets of correspondance that took place between the Bard and his publishers. It brings about very interesting and astonishing things. The publishers offered Shakespeare a fee of 10 pounds for all his work. I don’t know what was the actual worth of 10 pounds in those days, but it does sound less, doesn’t it? Here is the article, if anyone wants to read.

I was one of those lucky people who grew up with lots of books around. My father was quite a reader. He was not much into fiction, but he used to read a lot of magazines, Kannada and Marathi books. My brother is the book worm. He has been reading since as far as I can remember. I always picturize him with a book in hand. Our relatives would bring me a nice frock and a book for him. Thanks to him, I too read quite a bit.

I started my interesting journey into the world of books with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. I liked the first book and went on to read a few more. I soon grew out of it and it was time to try something new. Tried Nancy Drew, Shidney Sheldon and Mills & Boons and couldn’t go past 10 pages. My next phase was influenced by Alistair Mclean. Quick read, page turner, thriller story – the best recipe for a teenager, impatient reader. Perry Mason, Agatha Christie, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Folett accompanied me in this journey for some time. Christie continues to drop in at times to say Hi. For a long time to come, I was very impressed by Archer. I thought of his books as perfect. I loved his language and his words and style would leave a lasting impression on me. Ken Folett too held that position for some time but was soon forgotten. I tried John Grisham once, but was sadly disappointed. That was the last time, I don’t dare to try Grisham again.

For many years to come, my To Be Read books list was very much influenced by my brother. After a few years, I started developing my own taste. The first book that influenced me the most was ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. Even now, this book is close to my heart. Ayn Rand knocked and became a permanent partner in this journey. I got to meet many more authors later. Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Tom Robbins (a recent discovery), Jane Austen, Jhumpa Lahiri and so many more.

This journey is not even half over. Now I started reading a lot of non-fiction and I am enjoying it. I am sure there are so many books which are waiting to be discovered by me. I am waiting too. I am lucky to have parents and a brother who let me know about the wonderful world of books and giving me the freedom to roam around where I want. I could build my own world, with the books I love and escape into this world whenever I felt like.

Today, I can’t help but feel bad about all those people who don’t have a habit of reading books. And I especially feel bad for the current generation’s children. They have no idea what they are missing. But, thanks to J K Rowling, they are reading at least one book a year.

Happy World Book Day to all the habitual (and the non-habitual) readers. This is the day where you forget about the real world and run away with your favorite authors to a world of your own. Enjoy your journey.

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