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article imageCuba opens first English bookstore

By Layne Weiss     Aug 11, 2013 in World
Havana - Cuba opened its first English bookstore, cafe, and literary salon Friday offering islanders and tourists a place to hang out and choose from 300 books, just about what you'd find in the lobby of a bed and breakfast in the United States.
The store was launched by Cuba Libro, the Cuban Book Institute, and was the brainchild of Conner Gorry, a journalist from New York who has been living in Cuba since 2002.
"Libro" means "book" in Spanish.
"I know how hard it is to get English language sources here," Gorry said, "so I started cooking this idea."
Gorry came up with the idea two years ago when a friend said she had about 35 books she didn't know what to do with, The Associated Press reports.
By opening day, the store had received 300 donations.
English language fare has been available in Cuban government stores, but only includes the occasional Cuban novel translated into English and two weekly newspapers. Translated works of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are also available as well as literature denouncing the United States.
The new English bookstore is much different, however. Gorry said none of the publications are "counterrevolutionary."
The store offers back issues of The New Yorker and Rolling Stone as well a 2010 edition of ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America.
"I hope the store flourishes," said Carlos Menendez, a 77-year old retired economist who went into the store for a cup of coffee, and was "delighted" to find a copy of "Freefall" by the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics winner, Joseph Stiglitz.
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