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From the scent of a rare first edition book found in an old time book collection, to a crisp, fresh book at the local supermarket, the very sight of a book can bring back delightful memories.

Reading as a child, enjoying the short stories, the long books and the ability to lose yourself in a story so powerful that at the end you are asking yourself where to get the next book in the series. This day is for the reader in all of us, the celebration of National Book Lovers Day!

History of National Book Lovers Day

While the day’s origins may be shrouded in mystery and rumor, the books themselves are not. Starting from carving on stone tablets thousands of years ago, the book was designed to make the writings and drawings portable for those that could not be carried around on stone tablets. Originally these written documents were made on parchment or vellum (calf skin, in case there’s some question) that was then bound tightly with a wooden cover.

Often the wooden cover was tightly wrapped in leather to prevent the wood from getting wet and had clasps or straps to hold it shut. In Eastern cultures, carved wooden blocks were used with ink to print out texts on cloth, as early as 220 AD.

In the more modern age, printing capabilities made books cheaper, and easier, to print. The printing press was invented in Germany in 1436 by Johannes Gutenberg with the original intention of printing Bibles. Of course, the printing press, the typewriter, and the computer all had an impact on the way that books were created, produced, marketed and sold.

But even more in recent years is the upsurge in electronic devices that can be used as places to read. Computers, tablets, and even most cell phones now have the ability for the user to read books, making it that much easier to carry around a small library to enjoy no matter where a person finds themselves.

National Book Lovers Day Timeline

7th Century BC

First organized library 

Established by an Assyrian ruler, the first library is filled with approximately 30,000 cuneiform tablets, which predated books by many centuries.[1]

4th Century BC

Scrolls are created 

One of the first ways that humans keep records and written documents is in the form of scrolls, sometimes made from papyrus.[2]

2100 BC

First book is written 

Known as The Epic of Gilgamesh, this book is a mythical interpretation of a political figure, surviving as a collection of poems.[3]

1436

Printing press is invented

Created by a German goldsmith, Johannes Gutenburg makes it possible to print books in a modern manner.[4]

1931

First New York Times Best Seller List 

The first New York Times Best Seller List consisted of 9 books: five fiction and four non-fiction books.[5]

How to Celebrate National Book Lovers Day

Observing and celebrating National Book Lovers Day can happen in a variety of ways, all revolving around books and reading! Now it’s time to try out some of these ideas or come up with some of your own:

Read a Book

In order to truly appreciate National Book Lovers Day, one must only find a story and then read it. Some people might wish to dive into the unknown with a good mystery, see magic in a high fantasy setting, enjoy a science fiction book, or be enthralled in a steamy romance. The individual genre of the reading is not the most important part of this, just that a book is acquired and read for National Book Lovers Day!

Start a National Book Lovers Day Book Club

For those who love books, it might be even more fun to share them with a group of others! Gather a few close friends or get to know some new people by inviting them into a book club where snacks and drinks are served, a book is read ahead of time and then discussed. Those who don’t feel like getting together in a whole group might want to try out a “Buddy Read” which is the same idea but simply with two people.

Try out some of these ideas for book club books:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book set in New York City’s Jazz Age depicts the story of Nick Carraway, millionaire Jay Gatsby and his desire to recapture the past with his ex-lover, Daisy Buchanan.
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Issues of legalism, guilt and persecution, this story is set in 17th century Boston where Prynne is mistreated due to an extra-marital affair where she conceives a child.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. A woman with a very structured (and perhaps boring) life, finds her routine interrupted by an act of kindness as her life and the world is about to change dramatically.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. In 1930s England, a young woman and her eccentric family live in virtual poverty in a dilapidated castle.

Give Books as Gifts

National Book Lovers Day is the perfect time to give the well-chosen gift of a book to friends and family. Choose a delightful chapter book for a young elementary school child, an antique book for a collector, a science fiction novel for a sci-fi fan, or a parenting book for a pregnant friend. Not sure what kind of book to get someone? A gift card for their favorite book store is the perfect way to celebrate National Book Lovers Day!

Watch a Book Adaptation

Those who aren’t fans of books, or perhaps don’t have time to spend reading an entire book, can certainly get the briefer versions of the stories from books by watching a film adaptation. Try out some of these adaptations to get started:

  • The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) by J.R.R. Tolkien. Peter Jackson’s visually amazing version of Tolkien’s epic novel brought it more than 30 nominations for Oscars.
  • Sense and Sensibility (1995) by Jane Austen. With Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, this lovely telling of Jane Austen’s first novel, features an Oscar-nominated soundtrack.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1961) by Harper Lee. This faithful adaptation of this classic book is renowned for Gregory Peck’s spot-on performance as Atticus Finch, the beloved lawyer who spoke out against the racism of the 1930’s setting.
  • Schindler’s List (1993) by Thomas Keneally. Based on the novel, Schindler’s Ark, this film is loosely based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who was a member of the Nazi Party but managed to save the lives of at least 1000 Jews throughout World War II.

Host a National Book Lovers Day Event

Many people enjoy observing National Book Lovers Day at work or school by organizing events. Try hosting a book exchange where students or employees bring in books to trade with others. Invite a special guest author to give a reading of one of their books. Decorate with book-themed posters, take the children on a special visit to the school or local library, and even have book themed snacks and treats!

For those who want to have a more intimate event, try hosting a party at home for friends, family members or neighbors. Have each guest come dressed as their favorite author and bring a literary themed snack or dessert.

Donate to a Book or Literacy Charity

For those who are Book Lovers, this is the perfect time to help someone else become a book lover as well! Try making a donation to one of these worthy causes:

  • Book Aid International. One of the largest literacy charities, Book Aid International makes books available for millions of people all over the world who might not otherwise have access to reading material.
  • Books for Africa. Founded in 1998, this foundation collects and distributes books to people in every country across Africa to help promote reading and literacy.
  • World Literacy Foundation. Offering literacy support and educational resources such as books and tutoring to help disadvantaged children learn how to read.
  • Make Way for Books. Providing services and books to preschools and other under-resourced sites so that children have access to more educational opportunities.

Celebrate a Favorite Author for National Book Lovers Day

If it wasn’t for the authors, there would actually be no books! So take a little time on this National Book Lovers Day to show some celebration and appreciation for a favorite author. If it’s a living author, then send some fan mail. If it’s an author who has passed on, then pay them some homage by re-reading one of their books or sharing about them on social media. Because who can keep their love of a great author to themselves?!

Visit a Local Library

Maybe a visit to a local library is in order? After all, public libraries have existed since even way back in the Middle Ages, but they didn’t really let many folks take books home. In fact, the librarians in those days chained books to shelves or desks in order to prevent theft of the carefully hand written tomes.

Many librarians will gladly help a person find a title to read, giving a brief explanation on what it is about if they have read it, or giving it a little flip and reading about it quickly in the synopsis.

But no matter the preference, whether choosing to read it at home with a cup of tea, share a book meeting with friends or go to the library and make use of the wonderful pieces on those shelves, just enjoy that reading, revel in the book and find a way to read during National Book Lovers Day!

National Book Lovers Day FAQs

When is National Book Lovers Day?

National Book Lovers Day takes place each year on August 9.[1]

What is National Book Lovers Day?

A day to encourage the joy and fun of reading, National Book Lovers Day celebrates literature and books, encouraging people to put away their smartphones and simply read!

How to celebrate National Book Lovers Day?

Celebrate National Book Lovers Day by buying a book, visiting the library, giving books as gifts, hosting a book club or volunteering to teach a child to read.[2]

Why is National Book Lovers Day important?

National Book Lovers Day is important because it is the celebration of reading, which expands the mind, allows for creativity, helps improve concentration and more.[3]

What to read on National Book Lovers Day?

On this day, curl up with a book about a bibliophile, like Matilda by Roald Dahl, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, or Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.[4]

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