Spain has it right. The day of the bookstore, what a lovely idea. It’s a holiday that is slated to continue every 4th Friday of November, in which bookstores stay open late and people are encouraged to spend time in them, and either begin or rekindle their love affairs with books. It’s also a day to celebrate the local bookseller, and the central role that is has, for so many centuries, played in our communities and our cultures. By participating in this holiday, one would be also be supporting one’s local economy, helping to create jobs locally, and, perhaps most importantly, simply fomenting a “cultural good.” According to Fernando Valverde (head of the Spanish Confederation of Bookseller Guilds and Associations, CEGAL), the main purpose of this new holiday is to remind people how critical books are to our lives.
Queremos que los que entren el próximo viernes en una librería experimenten lo buena que resulta la compañía de los libros.
We want all those who enter a bookstore next Friday to experience how good the company of books can be.
Our fourth friday of November is marked by throngs of people quite literally stampeding through any and all of the “big box stores.” We here in America have largely become a society of blind consumers of nearly everything, from actual objects to our very ideas. Gone are the days of neutral news-telling where the reader or viewer was required to draw their own conclusions. Now we watch those whose ideas mirror our own, and in turn spoon-feed us our opinions, creating a vicious cycle of non-thinking. Even our entertainment has become a kind of escape from real thought, seldom more than eye candy. But with a good book, there’s no escaping thinking.
A good book is and always will be food for thought, and any holiday that supports and promotes that (and at the same time promotes the support of local retailers, and local economies) sounds good to me.
If you understand Spanish, here’s a great video about Spain’s newest holiday…