It's International Literacy Day. Let's Read a Book.September 11, 2014

"I have always cherished the joy of reading. As a child, I yearned for the weekly family trip to our local public library, where I would return with five or six books to devour within the week. Hot summer afternoons spent sitting at my mother's workplace, waiting for her to finish, were transformed as I became immersed in another literary adventure. Even now I relish the quiet sanctity that comes with settling into a good book."

- Julia Gillard

On November 17, 1965, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed September 8 as International Literacy Day. First celebrated in 1966, this event underlined the importance of education. In an ideal world, this should be a right.

So what does this occasion have to do with likes of us? Reading for a start. When was the last time you opened a book? Did you finished it? We took these questions for granted. When we (almost) have it all, we tend to be complacent. Moreover, the Internet became a substitute. Not a good one (unless you fancy online reading).

Share the knowledge

Before modern technology turned the world into something we knew, a book was the best thing in someone's life. Knowledge led to opportunities, which literacy was the foundation. This was the case in developing countries, which was the aim of special agencies like UNESCO.

It would be wrong to call reading a past time. Nothing would replace a literary adventure. These books were written by great men (and women). It doesn't have to be a solitary pursuit, as there were ways to make it enjoyable. (Enthusiasm comes in numbers.) To share a few:

A book club to share your passion. You would be stoked when you find out about other people who share your interest on a particular genre. Science fiction, you say? The weird feeling would dissipate. Nothing better than the exchange of ideas and opinion. How about a particular author? An interesting conversation could turned a weekend into a memorable one.

A library that have been there. When was the last time did you drop by your local library? Don't be embarrassed if it was many moons ago. You weren't the only one. There would be many valid reasons for not going there, one of which was a lifestyle change. How about a visit now and then? This would be a good opportunity to find a title and read it. No deadline, no pressure.

A cause that needs books. It would be cool if you were a bibliophile specialising on first editions. But if your room needed a space, then how about donating some books of your own? A local library might needed it (and thank you for it). Some groups might knew communities in need of reading material. You would make the world a better place, and nothing could be better than that.

There are more ways to make International Literacy Day memorable. Tell us what you have in mind.

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