Hope for books

Hope for books

Despite the tyranny of the audiovisual pandemic that has invaded everything, a queue of passionate readers at Malaga book fair proves that there is still hope for the written word

Ignacio Lillo


Friday, 5 May 2023, 16:41


Some carried a single copy under their arm, some had even just bought one from a local bookshop display; others had them in rucksacks and carrier bags, some with the entire bibliography, every book published from the beginning.

These people, both young and old alike, although there were more women than men in the queue; some with children in tow, others with dogs and even some with both; taking a brief break from their busy lives to gather together in the Plaza de la Marina.

It was just before five o'clock in the afternoon of that summery April day in Malaga, with no shade to speak of for the queuing people, other than in the brief stretches afforded by the awnings of the neighbouring stalls.

They were there because they like to read, to read books basically...

This is something difficult to even write about in this metaverse in which we live today, in which Skynet is just days away from becoming aware of itself and which I can't bear to think more about as it scares me and robs me of sleep at night.

They were there to meet Javier Castillo, who is the closest thing to an Antonio Banderas of Malaga literature, and who has now become almost universally well known after his face has been seen on his novel, translated into English, and rotated on the huge screens around New York's Times Square.

The legion of loyal readers stood in line for hours in the sun because they love his novels. You might expect this level of fandom for a famous actor or famous musician, or perhaps for an influencer who has millions of followers and advertises shampoo from his tax haven home in Andorra. But for a writer? That is like being in a parallel universe.

And that is where I am going. In an environment that is marked by the cuteness of TikTok, the photoshopped Instagram images and the silly YouTube videos... Even WhatsApp messages are sent in audio these days...

Well, despite the tyranny of the audiovisual pandemic that has invaded everything, this queue of passionate readers proves that there is still hope for books.

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