Syrian Veteran Says Reading is Therapeutic

In the Mediterranean city of Tartus, Syria, Mohamed Zaher spends his time manning a kiosk called Wisdom Seller, which invites passersby to stop and read from the more than 2,000 books that line its walls. To encourage visitors to stick around, anyone who reads at least 15 pages of a book gets a free coffee. The 32-year-old veteran is encouraging his fellow Syrians to get back into reading after the war made certain luxuries, including printed books, unaffordable for many of its citizens.

Zaher says reading was “therapeutic” for him during his time in battle. To keep the kiosk going, he depends on funding from affluent local citizens—but everyone is encouraged to come by. He estimates that more than 20,000 visitors of all ages have stopped by his stall since its opening. —Tina Knezevic

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