World Book Day/Night celebrations in Taiwan

WorldReadingDayNightAs you may already know, April 23 is the World Book Day (officially “World Book and Copyright Day) desginated by UNESCO. Firstly launched in 1995, the event aims to “pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors…encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the plasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for hte irreplaceable contributions to those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity”.

You may also know there is a World Book Night. First started in 2011, it is “a celebration of reading and books”. Every year tens of thousands of passionate volunteers are recruited to give specially chosen and printed books in their communities in the UK, Ireland, USA and Germany to share their love of reading. Not only does the event help to place books into the hands of those who do not regularly read, but it also brings together communities and individuals.

In Taiwan, to celebrate and promote the love for reading, the National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities has launched a reading and writing event. Members of the public are encouraged to read various lists of books recommended by the association and spread the word by publishing and discussing their views about these works.

There are nine lists in total, each of which promotes a particular theme. Apart from locally published Chinese-language books, there are also a fair bit of translations of foreign-language books involved. Here is a glimpse at which foreign-language books are popular in Taiwan and deemed helpful in promoting community engagement and care for our natural and cultrual environment:

For the theme “River”:

  • Every Last Drop, by Craig Madden and Amy Carmichael
  • The Swarm: A Novel, by Frank Schatzing
  • Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water, by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke

For the theme “Agriculture”:

  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp
  • Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food Systeym, by Raj Patel
  • Slow Food Nation, by Carlo Petrini
  • Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe
  • Creating a World Without Poverty, by Muhammad Yunus
  • Deep Economy, by Bill McKibben
  • Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons of My Family Farm, by David Mas Masumoto
  • Breakfast of Biodiversity: The Political Ecology of Rain Forest Destruction, by John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto
  • Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, by Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En
  • The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, by John Robbins
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
  • Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, by Jane Googall, Gary McAvoy and Gail Hudson
  • The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life, by Neil Newman and Joseph D’Agnese
  • The Economics of Food: How Feeding and Fueling the Planet Affects Food Prices, by Patrick Westhoff
  • Fresh: A Perishable History, by Susanne Freidberg
  • Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, by Marion Nestle
  • Une Mer Sans Poissons [A Sea Without Fish], by Philippe Cury and Yves Miserey
  • Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, by Taras Grescoe
  • Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer — And What You Can Do about It, by Karl Weber
  • Javatrakker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, by Dean Cycon
  • Unfair Trade: How Big Business Exploits the World’s Poor — and Why It Doesn’t Have to, by Conor Woodman
  • Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at teh End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It, by Anna Lappe and Bill McKibben
  • Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Food You’re Eating, by Jeffrey M. Smith

For the theme of “Green Actions”

  • Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine
  • Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat, by Howard F. Lyman and Glen Merzer
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv
  • L’homme qui plantait des arbres [The Man Who Planted Trees ] by Jean Giono
  • The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health — and a Vision for Change, by Annie Leonard
  • The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living, by Scott Nearing and Helen Nearing
  • The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman
  • Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage, by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy
  • Home: A Hymn to the Planet and Humanity, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
  • Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything, by Daniel Golman
  • The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, by Mark Boyle
  • The Natural Step for Communities: How Cities and Towns Can Change to Sustainable Practices, by Sarah James and Torbjorn Lahti
  • 80 hommes pour changer le monde: Entreprendre pour la planete [80 Men to Change the World: Entrepreneurship for the Planet], by Sylvain Darnil and Mathieu Le Roux
  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
  • Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, by Elizabeth Royte
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, by Mitthew B. Crawford
  • Mutant Message Down Under, by Marlo Morgan
  • Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
  • No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attemps to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes about Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process, by Colin Beavan
  • The Blue Economy, by Gunter Pauli

For the theme of “Mature-Age Living”:

  • Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us about the Mysteries of Life and Living, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche
  • On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
  • Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story, by John Holt
  • The Power Years: A User’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life, by Ken Dychtwald and Daniel J. Kadlec

For the theme of “Human Rights”:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Pickup, by Nadine Gordimer
  • Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes behind the Veil, by Deborah Rodriguez and Kristin Ohlson
  • The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World around Them, by The Freedom Writers, Zlata Filipovic and Erin Gruwell
  • Reading the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag
  • Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult
  • My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
  • Handle with Care, by Jodi Picoult
  • The Pact, by Jodi Picoult
  • Der Vorleser [The Reader], by Bernhard Schlink
  • Singled Out, by Bella DePaolo
  • Stone Butch Blues: A Novel, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Prayers for Bobby, by Leroy Aarons
  • A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict, by Peter Ackerman and Jake Duvall
  • Men on Men: Eight Swedish Men’s Personal Views on Equality, Masculinity and Parenthood, by Per Olav Enquist, Lars H. Gustafsson, Goran Bergstrand, Gregor Hatt, Goran Swedin, Bengt Westerberg, Jonas Frykman and Niklas Radstrom
  • In the Name of Honor: A Memoir, by Mukhtar Mai and Linda Coverdale
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, by Michael Sandel
  • Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, by Gloria Steinem
  • The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  • Verbrechen [Crime], by Ferdinand von Schirach
  • Schuld [Guilt], by Ferdinand von Schirach
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick
  • Night, by Elie Wiesel

For the theme of “Reading/Writing”:

  • Tell Me: Children, Reading and Talk, by Aiden Chambers
  • The Reading Environment: How Adults Help Children Enjoy Books, by Aiden Chambers
  • Writing down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg
  • Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, by Natalie Goldberg
  • Women Who Read are Dangerous, by Stefan Bollmann and Karen Joy Fowler
  • Women Who Write, by Stefan Bollmann and Francine Prose
  • Comme un roman [10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader], by Daniel Pennac
  • A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel

For the theme of “Animal Care”:

  • Ethics into Action, by Peter Singer
  • Encyclompedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, by Marc Mekoff
  • Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, by Temple Grandin and catherine Johnson
  • Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us about Death, Dying and Beyond, by Rita M. Reynolds and Gary Kawalski
  • Saving Molly: A Research Veterinarian’s Choices, by James Mahoney
  • My Life with the Chimpanzees, by Jane Goodall

For the theme of “Climate Change/Disaster Prevention Awareness”

  • The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes, and Why, by Amanda Ripley
  • The Environment as Hazard, by Ian Burton, Robert W. Kates and Gilbert F. White
  • The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein

For the theme of “Community Universities”:

  • Currently no foreign-language books involved.


Image thanks to: “8 ways ebook lovers can celebrate World Book Day & World Book Night 2013” at

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