World Book Night 2012, Shakespeare’s birthday (and date of death) and St George’s Day: 23rd April

Today, we in the library are celebrating  (and remembering) all of these events!

World Book Night was established last year by Jamie Byng, the owner of Canongate Books, to spread the love of reading as far as possible in the United Kingdom and this year is set to spread even further around the globe, with bookgiving events in the United States, Ireland and Germany as well as the UK.  Please click here to find out more…

Following on from the success of last year’s book giveaway on Saturday 5th March 2011, when we distributed copies of Ben Macintyre‘s book Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman: The Most Notorious Double Agent of World War II to coaches, parents and students participating in that day’s football fixtures against Haileybury School, this year we have decided to give copies of Audrey Niffenegger‘s novel The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Miss Guy explains why:

 “I feel many readers of fiction will overlook this as it will be thrown into the romance genre and perhaps be glossed over thus I wished to resurrect a highly original novel which is very much more than a romantic liaison. The story revolves around Clare and Henry, a perfect couple except for that Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time. His disappearances can happen at any given time. We see and hear the impact of this time travel from both perspectives and through this we feel the heartache, the separation, the anger, the frustrations and the fears thus creating an exceptionally intense and moving piece of literature. Go on give it a try!”

Copies of the book are being distributed in Castle Library today.

Every one of this year’s books, as seen above, has a sonnet by William Shakespeare printed on the inside cover at the back which has been selected especially due to its significance and relevance to the story in each novel.  This wonderful idea has been inspired by the date of this year’s World Book Night, 23rd April being the date of birth of one of the world’s most famous playwrights (and, coincidentally, the date of his death some 52 years later in 1616).  The sonnets were chosen by poet, writer and musician, Don Paterson and must have been a mammoth task!  You can read more about this here.  He has, I believe chosen well for our featured novel:

Sonnet 44

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,

Injurious distance should not stop my way:

For then despite of space I would be brought,

From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.

No matter then although my foot did stand

Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;

For nimble thought can jump both sea and land

As soon as think the place where he would be.

But ah! Thought kills me that I am not thought,

To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,

But that, so much of earth and water wrought,

I must attend time’s leisure with my moan,

   Receiving nought by elements so slow

   But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

Shakespeare famously refers to Saint George thus:

“Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!”  Henry V, Act III

Saint George was not English and, indeed, is celebrated as a patron saint in other countries such as Georgia, Lithuania, Portugal and Greece, although his personage is identified with the English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry.  Very little is actually known about him, so anything we do know is considered the stuff of legend.  He was believed to have been born in Cappadocia, now part of Turkey, in the 3rd Century AD.  Born of Christian parents, he became a Roman Soldier whilst retaining his Christian beliefs and protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians.  He was tortured and imprisoned but remained true to his faith and on 1222, 23rd April was established as his Saint’s Day.  (Source of information: BBC Religions website accessed 23 April 2012)

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Author: Berkhamsted School Library

Main aims for Berkhamsted School Library • to provide a central resource for the whole school curriculum • to encourage an ethos of enquiry and discovery • to assist pupils in becoming confident and independent learners • to develop research and information skills throughout the school • to offer resources which enrich cultural values and experiences for pupils, as well as have a role in their recreational life and promote reading for pleasure as a lifelong activity

11 thoughts on “World Book Night 2012, Shakespeare’s birthday (and date of death) and St George’s Day: 23rd April”

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