Tomorrow, September 8th, is International Literacy Day. I confess this is a day I’ve never paid special attention to. My excuse is that I cherish literacy every day. The blunt truth is that, like so many other "increasing awareness" days, I just haven’t made any time for it before. But let's avoid feeling guilty. If you pay taxes as a U.S. citizen, read books to children, or pay back student loans, you are already playing a key role in increasing literacy. Pat yourself on the back. The question is, are you willing to do something extra? Below are two simple things I’ve done in the past year that felt great.
My first suggestion is make a donation to your local public library. Don’t just donate old books for the used book sale--the literary equivalent of donating unwanted canned vegetables to a food drive. Actually make a monetary donation to your library. My other suggestion is even simpler. Make a special trip to a store that sells print material and buy some. Don't just read for free online and assume that advertising dollars will keep quality publications accessible to all. Actually go to a physical book store and buy a book, magazine, or newspaper. By purchasing print material in person, you help sustain the marketplace that supplies literature to people who do not have Internet access at home.
One of the blessings I’ve enjoyed thanks to literacy is developing this blog. I am working on a post to explain why I chose the blog name Childe Jake’s Pilgrimage. Since it is not ready yet, I am posting my short review of Lord Byron’s masterful poem: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. This is one of my favorite literary works, and certainly my favorite poem by Lord Byron. Below are some reasons why.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by George Gordon Byron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is my favorite work by Lord Byron. Hands down. No contest. I revisit it often to read favorite sections.
Via the character of Childe Harold, and later simply as himself, Byron explores the world. He visits places like Spain, Turkey, and of course, Greece. He also muses on great historical figures like Napoleon. Think of this as the ultimate road trip epic, set via 19th Century Romanticism. Do you like movies like Easy Rider? This work is in the same vein.
The language is more accessible than Shakespeare. Still, I recommend picking up a well-footnoted edition, and keeping a dictionary handy. Often, Byron uses words differently than we do today. So it is worth referencing archaic definitions that add fascinating layers to the text.
Wish you could meet Byron and interact with him in person? Read this pilgrimage poem.
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