Here's the first extract:
“This began as a necessity; then it became an obligation; and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.”Wow, this guy is an amazing wordsmith. Few could have come up with a more succinct pitch line! I'm super-jealous.
The article goes on:
Unlike Mr. García Márquez, who lives in Mexico City, Mr. Soriano has never traveled outside Colombia — but he remains dedicated to bringing its people a touch of the outside world. His project has won acclaim from the nation’s literacy specialists and is the subject of a new documentary by a Colombian filmmaker, Carlos Rendón Zipaguata.... After Mr. Gossaín broadcast details of Mr. Soriano’s project on his radio program, book donations poured in from throughout Colombia. A local financial institution, Cajamag, provided some financing for the construction of a small library next to his home, but the project remains only half-finished for lack of funds.So.... what are we to conclude now? This philosopher-social entrepreneur is actually... not very successful at creating an institution? Does he keep accounts for all the donations received? Where is the investigative journalism? Oh right, it is whimsical... He's riding a donkey with books, why hold him to any normal standard of accountability. (I told you it would get snarky.)
The story continues:
They stole one item from his book pouch: “Brida,” the story of an Irish girl and her search for knowledge, by the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho. For some reason, Paulo Coelho is at the top of everyone’s list of favorites,” said Mr. Soriano...Having picked up a Coehlo self-help book at an airport once, thinking it was serious reading because foreign, and discovering it was Jonathan Livingston Seagull redux (a book I thrilled to as a twelve year old, BTW...) I'm surprised at the lack of irony here all around.
The article ends:
In the village of El Brasil, Ingrid Ospina, 18, leafed through a copy of “Margarita,” the classic book of poetry by Rubén Darío of Nicaragua...Well, OK, now I have a tear coming down my cheek... who can complain about Ruben Dario, or be snarky? I read him all through high school in Puerto Rico...
Read the full story here...
And by the way... Blattman made me do it ;-)