I love books. The year of 2015 is dedicated to reading in Finland. The year 2015 is called The Year of the Book.
There is the tradition in Finland to sit down before the tv at noon on December 24th and watch Christmas Peace declared in Turku, ancient capital of Finland. It sort of means the beginning of Christmas time here, the moment when you calm down, stop cleaning the house and start celebrating Christmas. The declaration says: You shall not disturb your neighbour’s peace during Christmas time by any improper action or indecent behaviour. In Finland, we tend to stay at home during Christmas. Traditionally you didn’t visit your relatives until Boxing Day, when it was acceptable to visit and start seeing other people as well besides your close family. We Finns are a bit introverts in that sense but as the song goes: times, they are a-changing here as well, little by little. Anyway, I like the peace and quiet during Christmas time.
You may wonder now, why I write about Christmas in the beginning of February. I have a reason, as you might already have guessed. Since this is The Year of the Book in Finland, someone has also had this marvellous idea about dedicating one particular Sunday to reading. Reading in peace and quiet, when nobody can come and disturb you while reading.
And so be it. The day after tomorrow, Sunday, the 8th February 2015, will be a national day for reading and I must say that it’s an excellent idea. I, like many, many others, spend my time with mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices surfing on the internet, and it will be a useful experiment to try not to touch anything but a physical book to read. Ok, you may read an ebook but I am planning to read a traditional book also to give rest to my eyes. (You may also read aloud, read together with someone or have a book club but I suggest you try reading alone for a change.)
I have been sick and not been able to read as much as I wanted this week, but soon I’ll continue with this blog in Finnish and share my latest reading experiences. But since I now took to write in English, I am glad to announce, that next week at Valentine’s Day’s Eve, there will be a Literary date arranged here in Helsinki. So, if you’ll be around on Friday, the 13th February, this might be something for you. The idea dates from the famous Shakespeare & co. bookstore in Paris. This will mark the second time the literary date is arranged in Helsinki (some dates have been arranged in Turku last year). All you need to do is to register for the occasion at the publisher’s bookstore in Helsinki via mail. It might be a good idea to prepare for the date by thinking about your favourite books and authors, genres and characters. It will be much fun, I assure you.
As to living with books and bookshelves and share them with someone you love, you need to figure out what to do with your books: do you combine your separate bookshelves or continue to have separate ones. An interesting dilemma, I must say! Alexander Chee contemplates on this subject in the Morning News essay When Two People Decide to Live Together and Combine Their Bookshelves.
Have a great weekend, and don’t miss this coming Sunday, dedicated to reading! Enjoy whatever you’re reading!