After months of research, I came to believe that in Sint Maarten good books exist but they live scattered and shy at the back of random bookstore shelves, waiting endlessly to be appreciated for who they are. They are often forced to live side by side with the Harmony community and I suspect they voluntarily cover themselves with dust in order not to attract to much attention. Let’s be honest, I would be afraid too – if I was a good book – to be picked up by mistake, maybe in a hurry, by the wrong person who tosses me out after reading a few pages.
In the past months I’ve managed to rescue a couple of them in two Van Dorp shops. One in Simpson Bay and the other behind Fresh Market in Philipsburg. But I’m certain there are more out there and they need all the help that we can get.
Please keep in mind that some people might try to dissuade you from even looking for a good book. I’ve once asked a girl behind the bar to show me a bookstore. She was about to suggest Van Dorp (just a few hundreds meters away), when the owner of the place interrupted her: ‘That’s garbage!’ He then looked at me and continued: ‘If you want to find a good book you need to go to Philipsburg. There is a great bookshop right behind the bus square. If you don’t find it, just ask around. EVERYONE knows it!’ Unfortunately I believed him. I let him fool me. I ended up driving to the other side of the island to a Christian bookstore with nothing but stories of miracles and manuals on how to raise a good child. No kidding.
Now, if you really want to make a difference I invited you to the public library the first Saturday of every month. In this occasion the library turns into a book shelter. For a symbolic price you can give a new life to many good books. Not all books are good books, and even the good books are sometime in awful shape. You need to be patient. But once you’ll find one it will be priceless.