School girls pray before presenting books to monks during a special merit making during the kickoff of Bangkok World Book Capitol 2013.
UNESCO has named Bangkok as the World Book Capitol 2013. This is not a pitch for the encyclopedia of years gone by but a recognition of a city's commitment to promote books and reading. Past honorees have included Madrid, Montreal and Yerevan (Armenia). Bangkok is the third city in Asia (New Delhi was the first, Beirut second).
To mark the occasion, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority held a public merit making ceremony at Sanam Luang, the parade ground near the Palace, Tuesday morning. Hundreds of people presented donated books to Buddhist monks who in turn donated the books to literacy projects in Bangkok.