I had the audacity of twisting a little bit the title of Steve McCurry's most recent photo blog post, which in turn is a quote from A. C. Grayling's review of Alberto Manguel's A History of Reading... pretty much lending us in a nice post-modern spiral that Stanislaw Lem would have probably approved of :)
To make it worse, I used a photo of a moment I caught in Verona, in Piazza di Signori... but using one of Steve's photos seemed an even greater faux-pas.
To Read is to Fly is, as usual, a touchingly superb and superbly touching selection of Steve;s photos that gravitate around the idea of reading as a form of escape from the vantage point of everyday reality.
One of his photos in the selection, showing a tiny human figure in Shanghai reading at the feet of a gigantic statue of the Great Leader, is one with a particularly personal resonance. Having grown up under another communist dictatorship of the recent past, reading everything one could get one's hands on was definitely one of the most pleasing forms of fleeing a reality that was not quite palatable.
"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.", as Erasmus is quoted in the album... something many people of certain past or present regimes can relate to... The one thing that remains invariable is that passion for books - and the difficulty to explain to some our strange priorities :)...