Roald Dahl, author of the famous children’ book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ once said,
“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books”
World Book and Copyright Day
To pay tribute to thousands of authors and publishers throughout centuries who wrote and publish and connected books to the public, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates “World Book and Copyright day” every year on 23rd of April since 1995. This year United Nations (UN) selected a city in Malaysia known as Kuala Lumpur as “World Book Capital for 2020”. This year’s UN theme is “A city that reads is a city that cares”. The theme put emphasis on access to books, strong infrastructure of publishing industry, digital accessibility, and empowering and encouraging children through reading.
This year, due to COVID-19, social isolation has played its’ toll on our mental wellbeing. This quarantine adversely affected people of all ages, from young children to elderly and it is in these unprecedented times that ‘reading’ becomes integral to combat loneliness.
This is a time to slow down, to reflect on our values, to look back on habits that benefited us; like listening to bedtime stories from our grandparents. It is also the time to pay back to our grandparents by reading their favorite books, to reread stories of prophets and angels that our parents taught us, to instill book reading amongst children so that they can also experience the joy of fairies in distant lands. Good literature takes reader to distant places, it helps the reader to feel a little less lonesome through shared narrated incidents that happened centuries ago to another person he or she never even met.
Best books from the last century to read
A few of the best books from last century to read, as recommended by ‘The Guardian’ are:
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Besides international literature; Pakistan also has rich cultural values, which are reflected in its literature by authors like Bano Qudsia, Patras Bukhari, Saadat Hassan Manto, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Ibn e Insha,
just to name a few. On this day, we should dust our bookshelves and start reading the language of ‘Mughals’, our national language ‘Urdu’, to revive the dying tradition of ‘Reading Urdu’.
The government of Pakistan also hosts thousands of books, novels and written essays in various libraries throughout the country, the oldest library is ‘Central Library in Bahawalpur’, which was constructed in 1924 and has more than 1 lac books, other famous libraries are ‘Punjab Public library and National library of Pakistan’.
The future is uncertain and daunting and reading books are in no way a substitute for actual human interaction. However, it helps people to cope with feeling neglected and bored, not only that but also victims of lifelong illness and domestic abuse and online harassment. This day, recommend a book to your loved one, read an old one from your childhood and relive some memories.
Related Article: Ten Best Books for Men to Read
by: Noor ul Ain