Art And Culture

Innovative Promoters of Book Reading

Innovative Promoters of Book ReadingInnovative Promoters of Book Reading

'Book Bearer' is the name of a taxi, full of different book titles and music albums which moves around the ongoing 28th Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) providing book fans with cozy space to chat and buy new titles.

Mehdi Yazdani, 36, and his wife Sarvenaz Heraner have turned their personal automobile into a "book-car" and by doing so they run the smallest book-promoting family NGO, MNA reported.

"Seeking to show the younger generation that everybody can have his own business with the least facilities, we started our work in 2009. During the years, we faced difficulties but we persevered and followed our objective," Yazdani said.

As a taxi driver, every day he puts 20 to 30 books in his car and drives through the busy streets of Tehran. He spends some time with the interested passengers to catch up on subjects like books, music, and art.

He began working as a bookseller at the age of 17. His wife is an English translator and instructor who supports him in his creative cultural activity.

Following their national and international fame, the UN introduced them as a cultural model in its website in 2012.

In 2013, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati took a ride in their car and permitted them a publication license. The couple now sells some of their own titles as well, mostly biographies of inspiring figures, including Nelson Mandela and Steve Jobs which are translated into Persian by Heraner.

For their innovative work and gradual success, Wall Street Journal also compiled a report on them. "Yazdani refitted their car with shelves and a high-end stereo and video system. The couple has stocked it with an eclectic mix of translated international best-sellers and Iranian classics," WSJ wrote.

"The books are stacked behind the back, shelved on racks over the passenger window, cluttering the dashboard, crammed into side pockets and stuffed in the trunk. When you pay the fare, you can buy a book," the article said. When a passenger gets on, "I gradually strike a conversation. We don't push books on them, but just recommend titles," Yazdani noted.

As he puts it, he is not after money, but "only wants to inspire others who take a break from their daily hectic working day in the metropolis Tehran and spend some time reading quality books and listening to music."