More than a dozen University of New Mexico staff and students gathered outside of Zimmerman Library for a Don Quijote flash mob last Wednesday.
Starting at noon and lasting 15 minutes, undergraduate and graduate students alike read passages from the book; some read aloud in english, but others read out loud in Spanish and french.
The flash mob was held in conjunction with el Día del Libro, the Day of the Book, said Mary Quinn, an associate professor within the Spanish and Portuguese department.
“(Today) marks the death of Shakespeare and Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, but more generally to celebrate the joy of reading and of literature,” Quinn said.
Quinn said this was the first time the flash mob came together and she hopes to do it again next year. Quinn said Don Quijote was chosen for its themes found from the book.
“I would say the most important message of the book is that everybody’s story is valid — all perspectives and all experiences are valid and worthy of exploration,” Quinn said.
Students that didn’t have their own copy of Don Quijote printed out passages, but all participants read aloud.
Andre Nascimento, a graduate student working toward his Masters degree in Spanish and Portuguese, held a copy of Don Quijote with a rainbow of sticky notes tabbed throughout the book. Nascimento said he read chapters from the book and because he wanted to relay how important humanity studies are for students.
“Humanities are a part of this campus. We have one of the most important libraries for Latin America literature in the whole country,” Nascimento said. “We just want to emphasize the importance of literature in humanities for us.”
Nascimento said the book holds important themes that can be applied to current issues today, like immigration.
“There are contemporary things that happened in this book that I found are interesting to be discussed,” Nascimento said.
Quinn said she hopes students take away an important lesson from the event.
“Literature is living. Even old literature is alive and worthy of celebration— all great works of art have something to teach us about humanity,” Quinn said. “Read great literature and have fun doing it.”
Anthony Jackson is the photo editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TonyAnjackson.