>World Book Day

>When Prince Charming married Cinderella – it was World Book Day. I’ve just waved Jeanette off to her school in her Willie Wonka outfit – no doubt going to see all the oompa-lumpas. It’s World Book Day – when children will be dressing up as characters from well loved books. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody in a costume other than what that is derived from film, which shows how dependant we are on those who can visualise and transfer a character from one media to another. Some schools will be having a bookstall and some will be having authors coming into school.

I wonder what everybody will be reading today in the cafes, tubes or stretched out on the settee. One blogger, Sonya Worthy, spends her time asking people what they’re reading – her blog, People Reading, is a real celebration of books. As for me, I shall be reading more from What is the Point of being a Christian? because I promised myself that for Lent – and today I have already come across this lovely quote from Salman Rushdie’s article Is Nothing Sacred?:

I grew up kissing books and bread. In our house, whenever anyone dropped a book or let fall a chapatti … the fallen object was required not only to be picked up but also kissed, by way of apology for the act of clumsy disrespect. I was a s careless and butter-fingered as any child and, accordingly, during my childhood years, i kissed a large number of ‘slices and also my fair share of books. Devout households in India often contained, and still cotain, persons in the habit of kissing holy books. But we kissed everything. We kissed dictionaries and atlases. We kissed Enid Blyton novels and Superman comics. If i’d ever have dropped the telephone directory I’d probably have kissed that too. All this happened before I ever kissed a girl. In fact it would be true, true enough for a fiction writer, anyhow, to say that once I started kissing girls, my activities with regard to bread and books lost some of their special excitement. But one never forgets one’s first loves. Bread and books: food for the body and food for the soul – what could be more worthy of our respect, and even love?

That’s from Granta 31:1990

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