On the eve of each school year, the topic of the presence of the book in the life, not only of children and teenagers, is particularly relevant. Literacy and literature will again receive similar attention on May 24.
According to the data of one of the major bookstore chains, among the best-selling authors of the first half of 2022 are Georgi Gospodinov, Maria Laleva, Viktoria Beshliyska, Stoycho Kerev, Slavi Panayotov. Translation bestsellers do not top the charts. Interest in Bulgarian literature has doubled over the past seven years. But this is the generation of 40-65 year olds. The age group between 15 and 35 represents the smallest share of readers. This is usually explained by the digitized environment.
“Book Alley”, “Night of Literature”, festivals, “Books for trash”, “Green Libraries” are held annually in Bulgaria. The initiatives cover the entire country. There are Facebook groups for reading and sharing, book blogs, podcasts. Book launches are increasingly less likely to follow a classic presentation in a traditional setting such as a library or bookstore. Juvenile literature, however, is not for sale. Bestsellers, fantasy genre and game books do not change the trend. According to the “Bulgarian Book” association, with the start of school, only authors included in the curriculum begin to be bought.
On the book market, there are more and more literature christologies, including only the excerpts studied at school. In practice, facilitation can further limit reading. New literature programs from 2018 include new authors – Rick Riordan, Gerald Darrell, Georgi Gospodinov, J. Salinger, O. Henry, Georgi Markov, Ivaylo Petrov, Vlado Daverov. So far, their presence does not affect the interest in literature.
AROUND THE WORLD
In France, according to data from the National Center for the Book, published on the site of Figaro in March 2022, today children and teenagers between the ages of 7 and 19 read 13 minutes more than in 2016. The Daily Mail reported in August that Britons had spent almost one billion pounds on books in the first half of 2022. But according to reports in the Guardian, children on the Island are still not reading enough. In April this year The Czech Statistical Institute reports that 45% of students in the Czech Republic never read for pleasure.
On the world book market, the so-called Young adult books – literature intended mostly for teenagers between 12 and 18 years old – has been an actively promoted segment for decades. Reading recommendations by authors such as J. D. Salinger, William Golding, Marcus Zusak are published in “Time”, “Cosmopolitan”, “El”. The Adolescent Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association was founded in 1957. The Alex Awards for books in the 18-and-under age group have been presented since 1998.
Reading is a solitary activity, and active readers in any society find themselves charged with the function of taking their hobby out of the realm of the elitist. In Bulgaria, their share is 60%.
Regardless of the dynamics of valuing reading as a meaningful activity and the diversity of tastes among adults, the focus, and sometimes anxiety, is everywhere on reading among teenagers and children. And this, paradoxically, can be a reason for optimism even against the background of negative trends in our country. However, 60% of the surveyed Bulgarians insist that staying with a book in hand is worth it.