Celebrating National Book Month This October!

by Lesley-Anne Longo

Published at 2023-10-03

Did you know that October is National Book Month? Each year, this event exists to honour the power that reading and writing have. It’s celebrated by book lovers and readers, yes, but also authors, publishers, and booksellers too!

The National Book Foundation first initiated National Book Month in 2003, but the Foundation has been highlighting the best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and YA literature since 1950!

How You Can Celebrate


Of course, the simplest way to honour National Book Month is to read a book!

If you have a stack of “to be read” books on your shelf, side table, or anywhere else, grab one and read for an hour or two. You can find the coziest spot in your home and get comfy with a blanket, or head out to your favourite coffee shop, or a nearby park—wherever makes you feel most inspired to dive into a new book.

If you need recommendations for new titles, try looking up “best books of 2023” lists. You can even add your preferred genre to the search terms to get the best mysteries of 2023, best romances, best nonfiction, etc.! To start you off, here are some great lists from Time Magazine and The New York Times, and a Canadian fiction-specific list courtesy of CBC.

Another great option is simply to pick up an old favourite, a well-thumbed copy of a book you’ve read and loved. Sometimes rereading books we read at different stages of our lives can help us reflect on how we’ve grown and changed. Plus, picking up a university-era favourite or a nostalgic childhood title as an adult means you’re approaching the book from a new perspective. Maybe you’ll find new things to love that you didn’t notice in previous readings!


Visit Your Local Library

If you don’t use your local library as a resource, it’s time to start!

Libraries are more than just big buildings filled with books—they provide important resources for people of all ages. Libraries offer students and researchers the tools and resources they need to learn and study, they provide access to necessary resources for marginalized communities, and they are safe spaces for people of all communities.

Plus, you might be surprised to see what services your library might offer now! Lots of libraries are now branching out into other offerings such as 3D printers, recording studios, film and music collections, and even “libraries of things,” where you can rent out tools, bakeware, or other items, instead of books. Libraries also often hold classes, workshops, or other events that offer opportunities to learn new skills or hone existing ones, not to mention opportunities to network, connect, and meet new people.

Many people take the presence of their local library for granted, but libraries need patronage in order to continue to be funded and operate. So, if you don’t have a library card yet, go get one—and check out what your library has on offer while you’re there.


Support a Local Bookshop

I’m sure we all value the local stores and shops that line the “Main Streets” of our towns and cities, right? Of course!

However, in order to keep those local stores and shops alive, we have to buy from them, support them. With many physical bookstores going out of business thanks to companies like Amazon, it’s now more important than ever to support local bookshops, because they are so much more than just a place to buy books. They often also function as community spaces, holding events such as author readings, launch parties, and workshops. The staff at these shops are almost always booklovers themselves, so you’ll get a more personal touch if you ask for recommendations, which is fun!  

When you visit a small bookstore in person, you're making a positive impact by keeping money in your local economy and empowering local bookshop owners to keep doing the great work they’re doing!


Attend a Local Literary Event

Whether it’s a reading, a festival, or something entirely different, try attending a literary event near you! This Destination Ontario list of literary events in Ontario is a great place to start.

Try checking out authors that are doing readings in your area, whether it’s at the local library, a bookstore, or another venue. Independent bookstores may also do other events that you might find interesting and fun. And if you find an intriguing new book to take home while you’re there, well good on you for supporting a local business!

You can also look to attend literary festivals, which occur throughout the year and in countless locations across Canada. These festivals usually have a variety of activities, including author readings, panel discussions, book signings, and more. They are a great opportunity to discover new authors and genres and to connect with other book lovers in your community.

You can also try joining a book club, as there are now many options to get involved in these groups—some virtual, some in-person, or a mix of both. If you find yourself gravitating towards a certain genre, consider seeking out a book club specific to that genre! There are ones for sci-fi, romance, non-fiction, classic novels…there’s something for everyone. There are even a growing number of BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) clubs, where you just show up with a book you’re reading and have a chance to talk about why you love it (and hear about what others are reading too).


Celebrate in Your Own Way

However you choose to observe National Book Month, this themed month is the perfect opportunity to read books, support others’ rights to read books, make the radical choice to support independent bookstores, and hopefully even chip away at a book of your own.

And there are countless other ways you can show support: volunteer at your local library, share some books with a Little Free Library in your neighbourhood, donate to literacy programs…the list goes on. We can all honour the power of reading and writing in our own way!



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