September 18, 2014
Major literary holidays other than Read an eBook Day
by Alex Shephard, Sal Robinson, Mark Krotov & Eric Jett
Americans take their holidays seriously. Just look at the orgy of barbecuing that occurs on Labor Day, the orgy of turkey consumption that occurs on Thanksgiving, or the orgy of . . . tree-admiring that occurs on Arbor Day. These great holidays—and those like them—make America what it is: a really awesome country with really awesome holidays.
Only the bold or the foolish would attempt to expand the canon of American holidays, but the utopians at OverDrive have done just that. OverDrive, which until now has been known for being a digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video, rather than a holiday inventor, has caused a splash with the biggest shift in the holiday landscape since the invention of National Fritters Day—or even No Dirty Dishes Day. Today we celebrate the first ever Read an eBook Day, a twenty-four-hour-long celebration of the humble glory of eBooks.
Long maligned as the print book’s more ephemeral, endlessly replicable, mournfully digital cousin, the ebook has nonetheless captured the hearts and minds of American readers, and Read an eBook Day is a fitting tribute to their loyalty to the “format of the future.” As you spend today reflecting on your most cherished eBook moments, we’d urge you to consider adding these other literary festivities to your holiday list. And hey, happy Read an eBook Day!
January 13: Give Up Trying to Read 2666 Day
On the one hand, you’ve read 400 pages. That’s a lot. On the other, you’ve just read the first 100 pages four times. It’s time to admit defeat and pass this “international sensation” along to one of your friends. Tell them they have to read it.
February 27: International Ghostwrite One of REDACTED’s Novels Day
For legal reasons, we can’t tell you who this author is, just that every one of their books is ghostwritten and that the author in question is definitely not Jonathan Franzen. On February 27, join in on the fun and ghostwrite on of their books! Be sure to include important signifying details like: misanthropy, divorce, and an intense hatred of cats. Remember! This author is not Jonathan Franzen. #ghostwritejfranz
March 4: National Invented Debate Between Two Cartoon Author Heads Day
Real debate on the burning literary questions of our age can happen in one and only one format: between two pen-and-ink portraits of authors with strangely pursed mouths. Revisit all your favorite debates, such as “How Important Is Toast In Fiction?” and “Who Is More Likable, You or Me?,” and pit new combinations of stiffly simulated authors against each other, just to see the intellectual sparks fly. Jeffrey Eugenides vs. Marilynne Robinson: “How Has the Standing Desk Affected Paragraph Length?” Go!
April 6: National Read a Reading Group Guide Day
Most books are pretty long. And the authors don’t seem to care about your opinion. Luckily, there’s the reading group guide. Finally, a part of the book that wants to know what you thought about the unreliable narrator. Did it change the way you read the reading group guide? If you read the reading group guide again, would you read it differently? Why, or why not?
April 9: Start Your Own Publishing House Dedicated to Poetry in Translation Day
You’ve always wanted to do it, so why not now? Today’s the day! What can go wrong?
April 17: Start A Tired Debate About MFA Programs Day
Are MFA programs important? Or do they just put out shitty writers who all write the same? Should it matter that every MFA program in the country is funded by the CIA? Should NYC finally acecrush MFA for being such a pansy? These are important debates, and April 17 is the day for you to fire off tweets to let your 37 followers know how you feel about the MFA.
May 1: International Kill the Novel Day
People like to say that “the novel is dead,” but they are lying. It is still breathing, and that’s a problem. Celebrate Kill the Novel Day by destroying piñatas of your favorite literary characters, like Moby Dick, Mr. Darcy, and Jay “The Great” Gatsby. The festivities end when old, unwanted novels are thrown into a giant pit, returning them to the earth where they will (eventually) be reborn as something culturally sustainable, like a Sears catalog.
May 2: International Day of the Dead Novel
With the novel officially dead for one more year, we celebrate by writing our own “The Novel is Dead” thinkpieces, in honor of Will Self’s contribution “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real),” which was published on May 2, 2014.
May 21: National Night Court Fan Fiction Appreciation Day
Night Court, the greatest cultural achievement of the 20th century, was canceled after only nine incredible, critically-acclaimed seasons. Spend May 21 catching up with Harry and Reinhold as they deal with contemporary crimes, like iPhone theft, iPhone app theft, and assault with a deadly iPhone.
Everyone’s heard of National Novel Writing Month, but what about your personal #brand? Writing a novel won’t help with that—not one bit. So in June, put the novel on hold (let’s be honest—it’s probably terrible) and instead, dedicate yourself to your Twitter account! Get those followers up up up, keep the hashtags fresh, and remember—if you’re not making three autocorrect jokes a day, you’re not Tweeting Like a Pro.
June 14: Return All the Books You’ve Borrowed from Alex Shephard Day
A Bend in the River. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Wittgenstein’s Nephew. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Ironweed. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. 2666. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Sabbath’s Theater. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The Rachel Papers. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Night Train. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. American Rust.
July 12: International Biting The Hand That Feeds You Day (participation limited to American novelists)
Are you an American novelist? Have you had some modicum of success? Have you been invited to an international literary festival? Now is the time to tell the world how you really feel about the publishers, literary journals, newspapers, critics, and booksellers that have nurtured your budding career. Because when it comes right down to it, American fiction stinks. For one thing, the sentences are too short. For another, it’s set in America. All of it is bad and yet there is a conspiracy of silence, of niceness, of re-tweetings and back-scratching that only you, American novelist wearing the jacket that the advance from your third novel partly funded, will, on your third glass of sparkling water, have the cojones to puncture. Your fellow panelists will respect you even more than they already do!
August 13: International Lie About Having Read Proust Day
This is actually every day, though it’s officially recognized on August 13. Fun fact: no one has read Proust. Even Proust has not read Proust (he preferred Dumas).
September 3: National Showrooming Day (Sponsored by Amazon)
Hello readers! Do you like to read books and loathe the evil publishers, authors, and independent booksellers who bring them to you? This is your time to TAKE REVENGE! Walk into one of the antiquated, inefficient, probably smelly local independent bookstores poisoning your town’s landscape and scan as many books with your 99-cent phone as possible without purchasing any of them. Then buy them on Amazon! Yeah, that’ll really show ‘em!
October 23: It’s a Really Good Idea to Finally Get that Thomas Pynchon-themed Tattoo Day
You’ve given it a lot of thought. You’ve gone back and forth for months. But on October 23rd, do what feels right—walk right into the nearest tattoo parlor with a picture of the Trystero symbol, and let your wrist, forearm, or shoulder glow with your profound commitment to the mysterious world of Thomas Pynchon. You will definitely never regret it!
November 32: Bookshelfie Day
This is a day when you can take a photograph of yourself posing in front of your bookshelf and post it to the internet. Do not do this on any other day.
December 26: Thank Your Uncle For Buying You That Ann Coulter Book Day
Dear Uncle Jeff,
Thank you for buying me Ann Coulter’s The Audacity of Being An Illegal Alien Usurper President Bent On Destroying Everything This Country Once Held Dear. It is very well-written and well-thought-out and contains a number of points about our so-called “President” that have changed the way I think about him—so much so that it’s really not necessary to continue to give me books like this. Next Christmas, a sweater would be great. Anyway, thanks for this important book that is not racist in anyway. PC culture sure is garbage!
Your Loving Nephew,
Alex Shephard, Mark Krotov, and Sal Robinson work at Melville House. Eric Jett is an editor at Full Stop. He has a lot of Alex's books.