“Public bookcases” – How to Escape via Literature

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
Jhumpa Lahiri

In times of Corona, we often feel conflicted with both – regretfully thoughts about how our life would usually be and the desire to be free on the one hand and the thankful voice in our head that reminds us of feeling pleased with all the things we currently have the possibility to do.

One of those regretful things is travelling the world. It doesn´t matter how old people are – travelling is inspiring. It gives you new energy, knowledge, experiences, memories and ideas of how the world works and you want to live your life. Currently, it’s quite difficult to get those ideas, because we don´t feel free or feel doubtful with travelling. Don´t quit!
You don´t have to travel with your body to explore new worlds. With a good book, your soul can travel anywhere. Even though it´s not exactly the same – to read a good book while you are sitting in a sun-drenched park, happy children near you, the chirping of birds and the smell of blossoms in spring around you, it can feel fairly close. So just close your eyes and imagine the sun, trees, birds …

– But… Wait! –  Something is missing, and that’s a good book.
With all the corona restrictions, it´s quite hard to go to libraries or book shops and lose yourself browsing in books. For many people, the eBook is a welcome evolution, but I know plenty of people for whom it´s not. And if you don´t really know what to read next, it can be quite difficult to buy books online and take the right choice. Do not despair; there is one more alternative. It´s called “the public bookcase”, but for me it´s a fresh air library in Rostock. Those fresh air libraries you can find, for example, in the form of a column in the Kurpark in Warnemünde. Sitting and reading there, I “travelled” not only in place, but in time.
While I sat on the green grass, between old and big trees and read “Pride and Prejudice”, the park transformed into a scenery in Great Britain in early 19th century. I understood Elizabeth´s love to nature way better and felt like being there. You can find more of those bookcases in the form of a bench at the university campus Parkstraße or in front of the Nikolaikirche in the oldtown. That one looks like a telephone box. While I was reading a “Harry Potter”- book on a bench in a little alley, I felt like staying in a little old suburb near London with old gothic architecture, which is similar in Rostock.
Moreover, I could go to Paris, Rome and New York and find myself in different other stories.
In the public bookcases, it´s possible to find various types of books, like novels, thriller, specialised or self-help books. The idea behind these bookcases is book sharing. People bring books, people take books and this all without paying. The first of those public bookcases was organised in 1991 in Darmstadt and Hannover by two artists, Clegg and Guttmann. It´s a fascinating idea which enables an additional access to education for many people.  Particularly during this time, it’s a chance to visit other places without moving. A walk in the heating sun, a nice break in a park accompanied by the sounds of chirping birds and shouting sea gulls, a good book out of an fresh air library: all can help you to sweep to other places and times.



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About Josephine

Im a originally from a little village in Brandenburg(Germany) and moved to Rostock four years ago to study special needs education and English. I really love the different sceneries Rostock and MV has and I am astonished again and again of still discover new fascinating places. And I am really looking forward to share some of these places with you.

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