Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Let's Celebrate World Book Day and Promote Reading!

Today is World Book Day. How will you celebrate? Is there a particular book that you'll re-read, or are there some books you'll finally make time to read? No matter how you celebrate - or which books you'll either start or finish today - today is the day to celebrate reading.

According to Wikipedia, "World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on April 23, 1995, and continues to be recognized annually on that day. The original idea was conceived in 1922 by Vicente Clavel, director of Cervantes publishing house in Barcelona, as a way to honor the author Miguel de Cervantes and boost book sales. In 1995, UNESCO decided that World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on April 23rd, since the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare."

I have met some amazing people during the last 15 years thanks to social media, and last year, I discovered Melanie Bell's Leaders Who Fiction virtual book club. To quote Melanie, "Whether you're stepping into your first leadership role or already a seasoned leader who has read all the books and done all the training, Leaders Who Fiction will help you meet your next leadership goal. Each month, we facilitate intellectual, business-oriented conversations centered around a selected novel. In our world, reading fiction AND leadership development co-exist."

One Leaders Who Fiction book club member and I shared admiration for one book in particular, Remarkably Bright Creatures - you'll see why below. As a result, I issued an invitation to this insightful reader to appear here on my blog so that we could celebrate World Book Day together, but first, a brief introduction.

Rebecca Rucker is a psychotherapist who resides in Houston, Texas. She belongs to the Leaders Who Fiction book club because she enjoys the quality of the discussion about leadership that transpires among the book club members. When not reading fiction, Rebecca meets with a weekly group of eclectic elders who study the works of Shakespeare.

QUESTION: We met via the Leaders Who Fiction virtual book club. So, since we share a passion for reading and enjoy discovering aspects of leadership in works of fiction, my first question is, what does GOOD LEADERSHIP look like to you?

REBECCA RUCKER: To me, good leadership is represented by those in charge who maintain good character, are active listeners and innovative thinkers, and work collaboratively with their employees. 

One of my favorite supervisors was the CEO of a hospital. He had strong values of faith, family, and integrity. When in meetings, he would often place good questions at the beginning of meetings for discussion. He would listen very closely, ask more questions, and then summarize with his unique contribution or perspective on how best to proceed. I often walked out of the meetings with a sense of what a good team player felt like and that the mission of the hospital was moving forward on behalf of patients, employees, and the community. The CEO seemed to lead effortlessly.

SHARE THIS: Good leadership is represented by those in charge who maintain good character, are active listeners and innovative thinkers, and work collaboratively with their employees. ~Rebecca Rucker #Leadership #WorldBookDay #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: I’d like to share my two favorite quotes about reading. What do they mean to you?

"If you give a person a book, you give him the world." ~Kristin Harmel

REBECCA RUCKER: I like to immerse myself in a good book. I allow the book to take me to the world of my imagination where I escape from my daily routine and enter the possibilities of new perspectives, new people, and the new cultures that the book offers. It is a sheer pleasure for me to create a movie in my head of all that the book and its characters offers.

"For you unlock magic that is hidden within, and opening the cover is how you begin. Oh, all the worlds and the places you'll see; when you hold a book, you hold the key." ~Caroline Derlatka

REBECCA RUCKER: When I first read "Outlander" by Diana Galbadon, the books took me to another place and time that felt so familiar. For a year, I did research about 16th century Scotland to the present. I researched how Diana did her research on the Outlander series, and then booked a trip to Scotland with the historian who Diana had as a travel guide while writing her books. I returned to Scotland two years later and provided my friends with tours of the Scottish countryside along with the tales that went with those places. Doing research on my ancestry, I found the small group of my ancestors who traveled from Ireland to Scotland in 1745 to establish their home. Those books were a key of discovery to a land and people that are my heritage.

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?

REBECCA RUCKER: The author, Kazuo Ishiguro, is a writer whose books I can read repeatedly and come away with a different perspective and understanding of the characters each time. Ishiguro has a writing style that is efficient with words while being rich in description. He allows readers to connect with our own humanity while realizing that despite doing our best, we are not quite the people we want to be. His writings remind me of parables that are moral and spiritual lessons about the lives we live. He delivers these parables and leaves it to us to decide the lessons we need to learn.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?

REBECCA RUCKER: In college, I read "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl, a psychologist from Vienna who was the only member of his family to survive the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. Frankl developed "logotherapy" or meaning therapy while he was in the camp. It was his theory that each of us can find meaning and purpose in life, and that this attitude is the key to our personal happiness and well-being. I was stunned by his ability to find such meaning and purpose for his own life during the horrific events of the concentration camp. After reading the book, I wrote my college essay for this psychology course on how I would adopt this perspective as a means of living my own life. Now, forty years later, I will say that logotherapy or meaning therapy has helped me live a life of happiness and well-being with an outlook to live each day finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

QUESTION: What was the last work of fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?

REBECCA RUCKER: I'm going to fudge a bit on this question as the last book of fiction I read was not one of my favorite reads. So, I will tell you about my favorite fiction book of 2023: "Remarkably Bright Creatures" by Shelby Van Pelt. What first caught my attention about this brilliantly written first novel was the relationship between an octopus and a human being. The next surprise was that the story centered around a 70-year-old heroine and her relationships with the people in her community. She was relevant, sexy, and inspiring in the way she seized her life and woke up from a period of grief. I appreciated the fact that Van Pelt gave this elderly protagonist a sense of liveliness and portrayed the rich relationship that humans and animals have when they are attentive to each other. Van Pelt's short story-turned-into-a-novel (and a best-selling novel) nudged me to explore the lives of octopi and learn more about these sentient beings.

QUESTION: What was the last work of non-fiction that you read, and what caught your attention about it?

REBECCA RUCKER: The last non-fiction book I read was "Humankind: A Hopeful History" by Rutger Bregman. This is a work on the history of human nature from two opposite ends of a spectrum: Thomas Hobbes perspective that humans left to their own devices are ultimately selfish and the Jean-Jacques Rousseau perspective that it was the structures of civilization that made humans self-interested. While giving an extensive overview of history that includes the best and worst of humankind, Bergman arrives at the conclusion that human nature is inherently good. He asserts that were we to change our dominant view that humans are self-interested, we could gain new perspectives and problem-solving skills to address the major issues of our current times. This book was a thought-provoking read.

QUESTION: Sometimes authors use book titles to send a message to readers. What are some books you’ve read that you noticed messages or underlying or double meanings in the titles? 

REBECCA RUCKER: In his book, "Project Hail Mary," author Andy Weir uses the book title to represent the mission that the protagonist is on...a trip to outer space to save Earth with no real chance for the space man to survive and return to earth. However, as the protagonist comes to believe he can survive, he is offered a "Hail Mary Pass" by an alien to survive on the alien's planet. The title was a clever interplay throughout the novel about the protagonist's willingness to survive in very unexpected ways by accepting help where he least expected it.

Bonnie Gamus' book entitled, "Lessons in Chemistry" was another great title with multiple meanings. Her female protagonist, Elizabeth Zott, is working overtime to become a respected chemist in her all-male institute. While she is seeking to excel in her field and tackle the office politics of her male peers, she begins to have physical chemistry with the chief researcher. Despite keeping their relationship out of the office, their chemistry results in a long-term relationship and a child. After her partner dies, she is faced with one job offer – teaching cooking on a television show! Elizabeth Zott rises to the challenge and begins to teach cooking with a twist – she produces recipes that teach the chemistry involved in cooking! Her innovative teaching of kitchen chemistry makes her a sensation, and those male peers at her former institute invite her back to work. There are lots of fun lessons in this delightful read, especially for female readers who believe in equality.

My gratitude to Rebecca for appearing on my blog and for sharing her leadership (and reading!) insights. Happy World Book Day!

Image Credits: Sweta Sharma via Pinterest. 

Connect with Rebecca at this link:

Website: https://texasinstituteforconsultationandclinicalsupervision.com/about-us/

To learn more about World Book Day:


To read my post about Remarkably Bright Creatures: The Best Book I Read in 2023 (February 2024)


If you'd like to join the next Leaders Who Fiction virtual book club meeting, check out @LeadersWhoFiction on Instagram or the club's website for details: https://www.leaderswhofiction.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!