Bucks for Books

Books is currently closed for the foreseeable future, but big rental bills keep coming.
We need your help to save our second home!
I know that a lot of us have been helped in one way or another by Felipe.
If nothing else we all owe him at least one beer, jambu shot or tequila bottle!
Please give whatever little you have and I'm pretty sure if you give a big amount he'll put your picture up on a wall somewhere.


You’ve all stayed at Books Hostel. Whilst there, you might have seen genius spunk in reality’s eyes a few times. Every day is a heist in the Bank of Soul where semi-intellectual debauchery is the loot. I know you’ve unpacked that, you highfunctioning lunatic, which is exactly why you thrived. Only its future is extremely uncertain.

This pandemic is a big story that contains individual narratives. Many of us have career uncertainty, but that’s somewhat placated by the fact we’re pleasantly furloughed, attending three quizzes on Zoom a week, vaguely toying with notions of learning a language or doing an online university course.

Not so in the case of Books. All revenue has disappeared but the monthly bill for rent hasn’t. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to legally open for business again until November and there’s no telling what tourism numbers will look like at that stage. It’s too much, essentially, and without help, the doors will close permanently. Dire straits.

It would be natural for Felipe to respond to this double whammy with instincts of self-preservation, turning inwards and scrambling for his own future. Instead, his instinct has been to turn outwards, putting together a project to feed the hungry in Lapa – raising the money, sourcing the food, making the meals – looking after the needs of others rather than his own. Because of course he would. That’s substance.

That’s the measure of the man we love and it’s exactly why this cause is worthy. From Christmas in Lapa to Edumais to letting guests stay at his family home to making everyone feel involved and included and inspired, it’s always been about the giving with The Captain, whether you’re one of the homeless in Lapa, an underprivileged child in a favela or a privileged tourist on a mad one. It’s the spirit that pervades the hostel and why the home of this abundantly strange and wonderful cult – that iridescent gyrating gloryhole memory cauldron – needs to be kept afloat.

Come with me for a moment, into a heat-frayed vision. It’s sweat-in-flip-flops, squint-your-eyes hot, you’re semi-giggly at the prospect of going to Posto 1 at Leme beach in an hour or so, semi-pissed on the booze and the weirdness of the night before, and you’re moving beneath the arches, around the soft left bend, past the petrol station and the hole-in-the-wall booze shops and the sushi joint and a quick nod right to Cachaca Bar as you reach our crossroads and then chopping left up the hill, maybe glancing up at Parque Das Ruínas if you’re feeling fruity and then you get to the entrance of Books – that telephone pole, those oversized flowerpots, that doorstep we’ve all sat on while pleasantly gurned as the sun comes up, grinning to yourself at some of the things you’ve said and heard in that very spot – and you head to the door but you can’t get in because there’s no longer Books; it’s gone. I find the idea unfathomable, yet it’s a genuine possibility, even a probability without our help.

Try to imagine Rio without it. Where would you go? Where would you even start?

Go ahead and dunk yourself teeth-first into some nostalgia. Alonzo’s crying on your shoulder, Gabriel’s doing something life-threatening, there’s an impromptu sing-along in the courtyard and it’s not even happy hour yet. Praca Tiradentes just gone, a boat party coming. Maybe a pool party at Alonzos’s, maybe you’re earlobe deep in Bloco season. Eitherwhichway, utopia. Keep your circles, this is our social circus. A paradise cannonball, fluent in a language where sincerity and madness entwine. Think of how every moment there feels like hearing someone tell a joke you already know the end of. Think of how welcome your personal brand of compassionate delinquency was. Think of all the misdemeanours you’ve committed there that would not be tolerated, let alone encouraged, anywhere else. Think of the lifelong friends you met and the experiences you’ve had as a result. It’s a uniquely beautiful place, which is why Books must stay alive.

Felipe has given so much to us over the years. It’s time to give to the giver. With your donations, we can keep our second home alive. It’ll keep our own wonderful connections in tact, preserve a philanthropic pillar of the local community and ensure there’s no premature ending for our favourite story: Books.

So some details
Felipe doesn’t know about this. He’s probably finding out right about now, as you are, and is shaking his fist at the screen as he’s much better at doing nice things than receiving them. Thankfully, the silly bastard has enough beard to cushion the blow while taking this on the chin. Though he’s not directly involved, we’re going to do things his way. If you’ve dealt with Felipe and fundraising before, you’ll know he’s fastidious about maintaining accounts to show every penny has gone to the right place. In his honour, we’ll do the same.

By way of full disclosure, there is currently a legal battle going on between Felipe and the owner of the building, with a possibility of some temporary respite from rent payments. It would likely be a percentage, rather than the whole thing, and for a maximum of three months. If it succeeds. We’ll keep you updated on how this goes, but it’s worth underlining that in the most successful version of this claim, there is still going to be a massive hole that needs to be filled.

All donations, big and small, are immensely welcome. I’m sure the fucker himself will remember, just as he remembers the names and birthdays of people who stayed in the hostel for one night eight years ago. In the unlikely event there’s excess cash, it will be donated to Edumais, an NGO in Rio who do amazing work
  • Amy Spencer 
    • £30 
    • 9 mos
  • Tanya Molloy  
    • £20 
    • 12 mos
  • Hasan Ipek 
    • £40 
    • 15 mos
  • Niamh Small 
    • £99 
    • 18 mos
  • Yuri Weinlich 
    • £170 
    • 19 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Books Family (5)

Demi P 
Raised £955 from 30 donations
Leicester, East Midlands, United Kingdom
Holly Ellis 
Team member
Raised £1,265 from 43 donations
Rachel Godfrey 
Team member
Raised £665 from 24 donations
Serafin Danessa 
Team member
Raised £525 from 10 donations
Felipe Barbosa De Amorim 
Team member
Raised £60 from 2 donations
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