Why Read?, an event that included different neighbors’ initiatives to promote reading, such as Perla Espínola (from Books Against Violence) in a joint effort with Casa Gallina, programmed Stories to Enjoy the Barrio, a reading club to gather interested neighbors in collective reading dynamics. Together they problematize neighborly empathy based on the mutual exchange of interpretations of four selected texts.

During the four sessions, participants’ literary analysis soon focused on issues about their immediate personal contexts. They shared experiences and concerns. They also debated ethical and political positions that included eating diversity in different cultures; the relationship between health problems, eating habits, and a sedentary life style; sexual education and gender problems; and mental illness. A topic present in every session was the importance of building critical attitudes to analyze information in the media.

The group read: The Devil in the Bottle, by Robert Louis Stevenson; The Empty Book, by Josefina Vissen, Todo movimiento es cacería, by María Teresa Andruetto; and fragments from 87 cartas de amor y otros papeles, by María Antonieta Rivas Mercado.

Participants decided to continue reading together and to invite other neighbors to expand their activities as a group, adding writing and reading promotion in the barrio as a mechanism for community integration.