Madrid Book Fair

10 de junho de 2018

Photo Javier de Torres Méndez


The biggest book event in the spanish capital was held from May 25th to June 10th in the Park of the Retiro, one of the city’s most characteristic places.

I am sorry I did not tell you before, because I just started my holidays and I’m busy sleeping and eating, but, hey, you still have one day left to go to this huge event where you could meet your favourite author (even if you don’t know him/her yet)!

Let’s make it clear from the beginning: book fairs are for book devourers. Yes, you are remembering that friend who went to the book fair and told you afterwards ‘Oh golly, I spent all my savings in books!’ Or maybe we are talking about you, I don’t know. It must be good, on one hand, to have money and, on the other hand, to have the certainty that you will read all the books that you buy. Switching to the dark side of the force, book fairs may not be the best place for those who know what they want to read and when they want to do it, regardless of the circumstances. They have a list to accomplish in which it is very hard that anyone can insert an intruder.

Having said this, we all know how book fairs are like and you are all wondering why I am writing this article if the fair is ending tomorrow, so, instead of dull descriptions, I’ll just tell you an anecdote that happened to me when I went this morning to the fair:

The thing is, I was walking next to the stands, staring at them with suspicious minds I mean with suspicious face expression when I come across a large queue of avid readers that are waiting to get their books signed by some certain Megan Maxwell. I’m like Hmmmmm with my finger on my lips and my eyes almost closed and I ask a woman (wide, by the way, but that’s not the point) if she can lend me the book so I can see what it is about.

‘Never’, she says, hugging it ‘I know what you want’

‘Woah’, I reply, shocked by her reaction. I go to the next one in the line. ‘May I…?’

‘No!’, she says, ‘I wouldn’t give you this book for anything in the world!’

Judging by the back cover the book wasn’t that of a big deal (but that’s my opinion, the opinion of an unknown author which is contrary to all the people who have bought the book), but these women, because there was scarcely two or three men in the line, were protecting it with their lives. I decided to go a step further: I raised my voice.

‘Hey, anybody can lend me the book for a second? I’m not dangerous, come on.’

‘What do you want it for?’, one of the women declaimed.

‘I’m not going to steal it. I’m lame and I cannot run. I just want to see the back cover, to see what the book is like!’

One of them, patronizing me, put the book in front of me. I was about to pick it when she tightened with the strength of the steel and the determination that must raise in the human soul ‘a story about a woman who is daughter of a man who rules a lawyer’s office but then he dies and she’s ‘oh no’ for a little bit (I guess) but then she meets a splendid guy and then she knows what she wants to do with her life and through these pages we can see effort, self-improvement, the realization of probably idealistic love standars and the fight of a woman to take the reins of her life’. After finishing the paragraph, I thanked the girl and walked away from there.

I don’t know, maybe it is I who is wrong. Perhaps I am too boring and I’m possibly missing a world of fantastic books that are fun to read (like  that one of Miss Maxwell). You know, the most probable hypothesis is that I read for writing instead of reading for reading and that’s why I prefer Joyce to Megan Maxwell. Writers must read  with responsibility; sometimes, I wish I could be one of these people who get ruined in each book fair. I can assure they enjoy much more than me. I promise; this fair won’t leave unsatisfied any reader.

By Javier de Torres Méndez


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