Chapter 24 – Year of the Book

Year of the Book 2015

In Finland, 2015 is the first ever dedicated Year of the Book (Kirjan Vuosi). Its purpose is simply to celebrate books and draw more people into reading. While it focuses on Finnish literature and book industry, I think the idea is great and could just as well be international. Even though printed books may become rarer and rarer as e-books take over, they won’t disappear in a long while, perhaps ever. I for one like to hold physical books in my hands when I read, even though e-books can be more convenient and usually cheaper too. Besides, Year of the Book doesn’t really care about the format of the book, so it celebrates everything equally.

As it says on the event’s website (www.kirjanvuosi.fi, it’s only in Finnish and Swedish though, sorry!), books can offer us everything ranging from advice and knowledge to a way to pass time and explore new worlds. Reading can make us relax, think, feel… I’ve never understood people who say reading is boring or dull. Sure, some books might be just that, and you can’t learn everything from books alone, but reading is so much more than just words on paper (or screen).

One of the main things about the Year of the Book is to apparently encourage people/companies/everyone to hold literature/book related events and contests. There are some events on the calendar already but I doubt I’ll be able to participate in them, unless they’re held on weekends. The only thing on the calendar that’s going to be held in the city I live in is a poetry week, and unfortunately I’m not really good with poems. But who knows, maybe I’ll try it anyway. For the briefest of moments I even considered participating in a poetry writing competition. But the deadline is too soon for the amount of poems required so I dropped the idea.

Books
Picture by Abhi Sharma

There also seems to be several book groups (book clubs?), which sort of interest me. I’ve been thinking about participating in one or joining an active group that reads books regularly, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I haven’t found a group that reads books that sound interesting to me but I know I shouldn’t be so picky, especially since I like talking about books I’ve read with other people. Are you/have you been a part of a book group, either as an active member or participating in only one “round”? Did you feel you got more out of the book by discussing it with others?

I’m not sure how visible this Year of the Book is actually going to be. While I think it’s a good idea and has a lot of potential, I’m not sure it has been marketed and promoted enough to get their point across. Then again, the year has only just begun, so they still have plenty of time to get advertising and planning events for it.

Do you know if there are similar year-long dedications to books in your countries? If yes, what’s involved in them? If not, do you think there should be? What kind of things do you think should be a part of the Year of the Book?

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6 thoughts on “Chapter 24 – Year of the Book

  1. I think you should go to the poetry event. I’m not that much into poetry either, tho I read it sometimes. At least it’ll broaden your point of view, and maybe you’ll find something interesting.

    There are book discussion clubs in my local libraries. This week I’ll finally visit one, about the works and person of Stanisław Lem (author of “Solaris”).

    There was a campaign of “The whole Poland reads to children” in the past but I don’t know what happened now.

    Not exactly a festival, but we have a tradition of every year being a year of some patron (decided by the Parliament). So 2015 is officially a year of Pope JPII, Jan Długosz (famous for Polish history chronicle, 600 years of birthday) and Public Theatre. There will be various even through the year related to those anniversaries.
    There is also UNESCO patronage for the following anniversaries: 200th death anniversary of Jan Nepomucen Potocki and 250th birthday anniversary of Michał Kleofas Ogiński, they weren’t exactly writers, but they have some books.

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    • I’ll probably go, if I just have the time. You’re right, I might find something interesting, and it’s good to try new things anyway.

      I haven’t read any of Lem’s books and I don’t know that much about his works in general, but I might pick up Solaris sometime. It seems interesting and I’ve been thinking about reading some sci-fi again anyhow. Hopefully the book club goes well, I’d like to hear how it was afterwards 🙂

      That tradition sounds great! We don’t have anything like that but now I wish we did. It’s good to remember and celebrate important people/institutions, and events that support it can be both fun and educational.

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