I usually spend a great deal of time ridding the subway and walking around the city. It’s during these times when I have time to observe the way the town comes to live with people running all around, usually in a hurry to get somewhere, many times worried or in a bad mood. I’ve been one of them myself most than one time, when the time gets short and the list of occupations gets even longer.
But I’ve also found that this long travels throughout the city always give the chance to spend a pleasant time with my beloved books. And I always find it really surprising how fast time passes by when I’m reading, even if I get stuck between stations or in the middle of the traffic. Books simply take my mind away and let it fly free.
Being in this reflexive mood about how big cities, books and writers relate, this week I also came across to an interesting article that talked about Otavio Junior, a man who spent most of his young life in a poor neighborhood in Brazil.
One day a book came to his hands and then his life changed forever.
Since that moment he started borrowing books from his neighbors, and then he realized that books where making his life better and nicer. Then he decided to share this experience with other kids, and Junior started a library project to give people from the same neighborhood the chance to get close to books.
Now, Otavio Junior has written a book that’s being called Biblioteca Favela (The bookstore of the neighborhood) and while presenting this book in Spain, he told El Mundo newspaper the following: “Everybody told me ‘You’re crazy’, but I always answered, I’m not crazy, I’m only in love with books”.
This week I also got moved while reading Ray Bradbury’s biography, after this great American writer died some days ago.
Bradbury liked to walk and to observe the people and the city around him and then reflect this observations on his stories. As a child and a young man, he didn’t have so much money but books were always present in his life. As he couldn’t afford to buy them, he spend a lot of time in public libraries reading and learning the subjects that he couldn’t study at school, as his family couldn’t afford it.
Bradbury even wrote his first story and even his novel Fahrenheit 451 at a university library and with a rental typewriter.
In 2009, Bradbury told The New York Times: “Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years”.