We inhale daily the fetid toxic gases which take off the hurtful hoaxes which are lavished by social networks, the false disqualifications that are transmitted as accurate, the distorted news which numb reflection. And the truth collapses, the word is devalued, the ephemeral comes first, the certainty of the information we receive matters little to us. That is why it is so desirable for our society to create spaces for calm reflection in which ideas are shared and a strong critical spirit developed.
So, with great enthusiasm, not without certain doses of insecurity, a Book Club has been created in our centre this academic year. It began in February. About 60 students from all the CSE years and Baccalaureate courses joined to the proposal and decided to voluntarily get involved on this beautiful challenge. As they were many, we decided to divide them into two different days in groups of 30, since if it not, it was impossible that they could all participate in 55 minutes. We have held only two meetings. In both, a theme has been chosen and a list of works related to it has been offered. For the first meeting, the backbone was chosen by the teaching staff; the works focused on the subject of women. In the second one, it was decided that the subject was chosen by the students; the most voted was fantasy. The dynamics of the meetings is simple. We begin with a brief presentation in which we indicate the book we have read and what has been the most relevant to us. Later, a relaxed conversation is already established in which we go in depth into the different aspects of the works each one wants to highlight: the most striking passages, analysis of characters, narrative rhythm, real or imaginary spaces, underlying themes… All this wrapped with a delicious freshly made chocolate and a piece of homemade cake.
It is not easy to specify what motivates the meeting to create a magical atmosphere in which the beautiful and strange emotion that only provokes a passion for reading flows. It is admirable that the little students express without fear the anxieties that a novel has aroused; it is gratifying to note the great readers in our high school who are capable of linking relations among several novels; it is exciting to discover, by listening to others, relevant and intimate aspects of a work which after a first reading are often overlooked. In this short space of time that the meeting lasts, we have sailed with Malala and her daring struggle for human rights; with the brave Violeta and transsexuality; with the break of Elizabeth Bennet from the canons that imposed how a woman should be in her time; with the great value that Harry Potter gives to friendship; with the fantastic dram of Conor; with Silvia Federici and the transition from feudalism to capitalism…In short, we have come closer to the depths of the human being that hide the universal passions and fears that equal us.
In “Las cosas han cambiado” the poet Carlos Marzal writes: The words do not offer / the ship that opens the world, neither today nor then, / but some words, when tracing a history, / with its bitter beaty, that does not open the world to us, / make it habitable. Our world is sometimes hostile and treacherous, but moments like this give us hope for the future and cause a pleasant sense of peace.
Perhaps with this Book Club we will be able to exhale healing tolerance, active and serene listening, respect for truth and justice, culture of yesterday and today, welcome without fear of the diversity of the human being…living words.
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