Books Star on a Cuban Summer Night

By Irina Echarry, photos: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, July 5 – Although it’s known that any time is a good time for reading, the Cuban Book Institute for the third time organized a special “Book Night” an event that kicked off the summer season in Havana on Friday.

Cuba has many avid readers.
Cuba has many avid readers.

This year books from 17 publishing houses were for sale, available to all those who ventured along 23rd Street in the downtown Vedado district.

Poetry, children’s books, fiction, history, social sciences…they were all there.

Book on Cuban music attracted this boy.
Book on Cuban music attracted this boy.

People walked all along the street looking for different reading selections, exchanges with authors, book presentations, comedy routines, performances by the children’s musical-theater company La Colmenita, or the playing of some trova musician.

The Strawberry and Chocolate Cultural Center welcomed writers wanting to be heard.  One by one they read passages of their works, while blocks down the street thousands of girls and boys hurried their parents to get to the Coppelia ice cream park for a taste of its flavorful deserts.

Music is part of the Book Night.

Six in the afternoon was an opportunity to meet the players on the Havana Province baseball team (this year’s national champion). The public mobbed them, with adults and children alike begging for their autographs or simply a chance to have a photo taken with them.

Book Night is a family affair.

At the end of the night, around eleven o’clock in the Mariana Grajales Park, singer-songwriter Raul Torres delighted the crowd with his music and lyrics, the intense heat of the afternoon had passed, so the chords of his music now reigned with the stars.

Click on the thumbnails to see all the photos in this gallery

2 thoughts on “Books Star on a Cuban Summer Night

  • My daughter and I enjoyed looking at the book stalls in Havana Vieja last May. We are Americans and wish to convey to all Cubans that the American people would love to come there and have you come to America! Under our new and wonderful Presdent Obama, we will gradually make progress toward opening up to trade and visiting between our countires. But please, be careful not to lose what is uniquely Cuban. Do not become like the US, we have too much consumerism, too many cars, too much junk in the media. The only advantage to Cubans in trading with the US and others would be for building materials and exchange of ideas and culture.
    The advantages to US are many: coffee, tourism, music, literature, art, food, just to name a few of the things Cuba has to offer the world.

  • Nice story and photographs. The availability of all these books, which are sold to the Cuban public in moneda nacional (national currency, that denomination so sneered at by some), is one of those many ways through which the Cuban Revolution continues to provide practical encouragement to the island’s population at prices which make these things possible for ordinary people to obtain.

    You mention the Strawberry and Chocolate Cultural Center, but where is it located? The story doesn’t make that very clear. Thanks.

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