Today is World Book Day which is the celebration of authors, illustrators, books and most importantly reading. It’s the 21st year of this celebration that was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide event which is marked in over 100 countries.
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So I thought I would write a little about the history of the books:
Writing has been developed over many year along with materials like paper and other materials, but the art of storytelling has always been part of the human heritage for as long as they have roamed the earth as a way of passing on traditions and methods of living. The recording significant events would have first been through drawings on the walls of caves.
The preservation of stories and instructions would have originated with the use of stone and clay tablets in 3rd millennium BC and were used right up until the 19th century in some parts of the world.
From the first Dynasty the Egyptians had begun to use papyrus to record their information these were books in the form of scrolls where sheets of papyrus were pasted together and were 10 metres or more in length. The books were rolled out horizontally with text written in columns, many were found in tombs with prayers and sacred texts such as the Book of the Dead which was the funeral text for the ancient Egyptians used at beginning of the New Kingdom around 1500BCE
In China writing on wood, shells, bones and silk was practiced long before 2nd Century BC. Paper was invented in China in 1st Century AD with block wood printing used for the Buddhist texts where the scrolls were folded concertina style.
The Codex appeared from as early as 1st Century AD they were an expensive, hand bound and elaborate form of book. They developed and evolved over the centuries until about 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg invented press printing which marked the entry of the book into the industrial age.
Then what we all know as ebooks hit the commercial scene and seem to be threatening the concept of publishing onto physically paper and have been blamed for the decline in use of libraries and bookshops closing. While shift to the use of electronic devices to read books and magazines has been recent, the actual concept of ebooks was first hatched in 1930 after the first movie with sound was viewed.
But however we chose read books today is the day we should enjoy and celebrate the gift of books, the talent of writers and joy they continue to bring too many.
No doubt there will be many events in all parts of the world to mark the celebrations, go online and find out how you can get involved. For more information on World Book Day you can visit the official site at: http://www.worldbookday.com/