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Saturday, April 23, 2011

World Book Day 2011

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers." - Charles W. Eliot (1834 – 1926)

 


 And it is to celebrate the love of books that we celebrate the World Book Day today.
This quote illustrates the importance that books have always held in our lives for a very very long time. They have eternally been a source of knowledge & the most credible medium to pass down information to the future generations. And to peruse this ocean of information, to read, is a wonderful, very intellectual habit in itself.
The connection between 23rd April and books finds its way back in 1995, when UNESCO declared it as the “World Book and Copyright Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the birth and death of  one of the most renowned personalites of English Literaure - William Shakespeare

The cultural eye can also trace it back to 1923 when booksellers in Spain marked it so as an ode to the death of Miguel de Cervantes (the  famous Spanish author of Don Quixote’s Adventures).

This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George's Day  in Catalonia, where men of the medieval era gave roses to their lovers and the women to give a book in exchange. 

Although, the UNESCO declared World Book Day is on the 23rd of April, various countries celebrate this occasion on different days in assorted ways.

Check out the pictures & links to get a glimpse of how colourfully it is rejoiced.

Spain:

To celebrate this day Cervantes' Don Quixote is read during a two-day "readathon" and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is presented by the King in Alcalá de Henares.

Gozo

The Gozo Public Library celebrated World Book Day for the fourteenth consecutive year, this time.  


The 2011 World Book Day celebrated in Gozo last weekTo see more events in in Gozo, visit http://gozonews.com/17319/world-book-day-2011-events-celebrated-in-gozo-last-week/     


United Kingdom & Ireland            

Every year various events are organised in schools, bookshops, libraries of UK & Ireland to celebrate World Book Day.  The variety and number are impressive, demonstrating how big the celebrations are all over the country.

   
www.worldbookday.com


India:

The Library Media Centre at Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom celebrates each  World Book and Copyright Day with colossal events.  There are competitions, author meets & exhibition of books authored by Shakespeare. 



Christopher Morley once said when you give a man a book you don't give just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you give him a whole new life. There's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.
Librarywala takes this opportunity to celebrate the World Book Day 2010 in a unique way of sorts.  At Librarywala, we plan to spread the joy of reading among the underprivileged by distributing books among them. 
How you can get involved?

DONATE your old books to the less lucky & put them to good use. We are open to comics, novels, classics - any suitable reading material.                             
Books bring delight which grows manifold when its shared especially with someone who may not have a chance to read if not for you.
Dont forget to tell us how you plan to celebrate this World Book Day. 
 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And the Pulitzer Prize goes to....

The Washington Post was recently quoted "It's time to welcome a new star in the constellation of great writer-doctors," Days later, this star “new star in the constellation” bagged the Pulitzer Prize, 2011 in the "general non-fiction" category.
It was talking about none other than Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, the Indian–American, who received one of the most coveted awards in the United States for his work - The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
 


For information on Pulitzer 2011 winners,

A Columbia University cancer researcher and a physician, Dr. Mukherjee, embodies his work in a nearly  600-page book that is part history, part memoir, and part the story of cancer research over the last few decades.
The Pulitzer citation called the book, 'An elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science.'
 
One reason the book hit the bestseller list is that it talks about such an unusual topic in such an intriguing manner. Also, that many readers know someone who is fighting cancer or has someone in the family who is undergoing treatment for it.

As Mukherjee writes in the first chapter, while describing his initial encounters as a physician with cancer patients  - "Cancer was an all-consuming presence in our lives. It invaded our imaginations; it occupied our memories; it infiltrated every conversation, every thought. And if we, as physicians, found ourselves immersed in cancer, then our patients found their lives virtually obliterated by the disease."

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee
He also makes a reference to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel Cancer Ward : "The diagnosis of cancer-not the disease, but the mere stigma of its presence- becomes a death sentence for Rusanov (the protagonist of cancer-ward).


He looked at cancer from the very early recordings of the disease, some 4000 years ago & thus began to trace the history of cancer from its first recorded description.
All this as he struggled to answer questions from his patients, "Where are we in the war on cancer? How did we get here? What happens next?" A grueling year in a cancer training program left him 'in stunned incoherence.'


The book may not provide any breakthrough in medicine to cure cancer, nor is it any sort of counseling for the cancer patients. But we still hold it in high regard for the mere audacity of the author to write about so tabooed a topic. It definitely provides a deeper understanding of cancer as a disease & thus stems the compassion for the cancer patients.

We give a hats off to the concept & the spirit that it is written in. What about you?