Books that are a passion: the central importance of reading for the European Union

World Book Day is celebrated on April 23, an anniversary associated with historical anecdotes and legends. From success retelling a reinterpretation of the classic myth in an up-to-date key for a dozen finalists for The Witch’s Prizethere are many books to read as well as the benefits derived from them according to scientific studies.

What importance does Europe attach to reading today? The publishing sector is one of the largest cultural sectors in Europe, but it has suffered a crisis during the pandemic. The European Union proposes a policy of literary promotion through a program Creative Europe.

The legendary origins of World Book Day

PUSH GWorld Book and Copyright Day, founded on April 23, 1996 by UNESCO, was created to promote values ​​such as cultural enrichment, peace and education of nations. The choice of this date is a tribute to three famous writers. April 23rd is actually the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Garcilas de la Vega.

This anniversary is also called Book and Rose Day as it is based on one the legend of Catalonia. In 1926 King Alfonso XIII. issued a decree that institutionalized the Day of the Book with the subsequent allocation to April 23.

On this day, the Spanish also celebrate the feast of Saint George, the patron saint of Barcelona and the slayer of the terrifying dragon that tormented the princess and her people. Some roses bloomed from the blood that flowed from the creature’s wounds, one of which was given to the princess by Saint George. In keeping with tradition, booksellers in Catalonia offer buyers a rose for every book sold every April 23rd.

Books to read: benefits and current titles

According to science, the benefits of reading are countless. Cognitive enhancement and vocabulary growth, but also the opportunity to stimulate creativity and empathic abilities are some of the reasons why we should have books to read on our bedside table.

Reading books is a highly recommended subject at school level, as stated by teacher Daniele Coluzzi and also a writer retelling mythological. This genre, which has become very popular in America, returns to myth through the original perspective of traditionally oppressed or denigrated characters to offer them an opportunity for redemption. “Circe” by Madeline Miller, “The Song of Calliope” by Natalie Haynes, “Arianna” by Jennifer Saint are examples of novels that overturn the traditional figure of the marginalized woman and give space to current issues. Heroines are mothers, sisters and wives who claim independence in a world of capricious men and gods.

This month, the allure of book reading is in the spotlight thanks to the recent announcement of a dozen finalists fighting for the prestigious The Witch’s Prize. Captivating covers, autobiographies or experimental genres, themes related to family or human fragility. Here are some of the ingredients that characterize these works that will follow the next selection on June 5. Only five of them will continue their adventure towards the final awards ceremony on the 4th of July.

The reading task and initiatives supported by the EU

The publishing market in Italy has a value of 357 million euros, according to data provided by the Italian Association of Publishers (AIE), updated for the first three months of 2024, with a slight negative decrease compared to the value of the first three months of 2023. .

Even at the European level, the book industry is of great importance, but it has to face many difficulties related to it linguistic fragmentation and slow adaptation to the digital transition.

The program was presented by the European Union Creative Europe, a policy of initiatives and funding aimed at promoting literary translation and the competitiveness of the sector. The program introduced a range of collaborative platforms and projects with a particular focus on talent development, poetry promotion, business networking and public engagement.

Since the start of the programme, more than 320 projects have been implemented by European publishers to translate and promote more than 2,700 books for reading in 41 languages. Such encouraging data bodes well for reading being always recognized as a timeless passion and tool for personal growth.

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