Any lover of great Italian food is sure to talk about the smells — from bubbling tomato sauce and melting cheese, to rising dough and fresh vegetables, the aroma of Italian cooking will make your mouth water. But books can have a great, nostalgic smell too. If you’ve ever smelled history with a rare first-edition book, or cracked the spine and taken a whiff of the crisp, fresh pages of a brand-new book, you know what we’re talking about. And just like Italian food may make you think of your grandma’s cooking, the simple sight of a book can bring back great memories.
If you love to get lost in a story and devour books like no other, this coming Thursday is for you. Bibliophiles and book worms, get ready to celebrate — August 9 is National Book Lovers Day! In case you don’t know, a bibliophile is anyone who loves to read, has a great appreciation for books (fiction or non-fiction) and/or collects books. And on National Book Lovers Day, you should feel encouraged to find a favorite reading place, grab a good book, sit back, relax and read the day away.
A Long History of Loving Books
The earliest history of what we now call “books” actually began with carved stone and clay tablets, scrolls and sheets of papyrus. Later, stories were written on wax tablets, parchment and calf skin bound tightly with a wooden cover and sometimes wrapped in leather. After that, expensive, hand-bound and elaborate books known as codices appeared. And in the mid-1400s, German Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and an improved system for creating books with movable type by adapting existing technologies.
By 1500, printing presses were in operation throughout Western Europe and producing more than 20 million books. In the 16th century, the presses output was up to 200 million copies and in Renaissance Europe, this introduced a new era of mass communication that permanently altered the structure of society. The typewriter and computer all impacted the market of books.
Now, in addition to the plethora of mass-printed book, including paperbacks, there are e-books and audio books as well. So you can physically carry a book with pages, read from your computer, tablet or phone, or listen from practically anything that has speakers.
Studies have shown that reading can not only be entertaining, but can also have many health benefits. Reading helps reduce stress, keeps the brain sharp, and can help you sleep better. Scientists have also found that those who read are much more likely to be empathic and understanding of others.
How Will You Celebrate?
Obviously, the best way to enjoy Book Lovers Day is to read a book. But you can also buy a new book, visit your local library, re-read an old favorite or read a classic for the first time. Share book recommendations with friends, and encourage others to read. Clean up your bookshelf, organize your books and consider donating some books.
The Westheimer location of Sipipa has a Little Free Library, which is a “give one, take one” book exchange. We encourage you to come browse the selection, take a book or donate a book.