Exercise that enriches life

Over the decades, research on the evolution of reading, one of the most decisive sociocultural practices in human evolution, has gained greater intellectual weight and historiographic relevance. Thanks to the classic works on this subject, published by the historian Roger Chartier – the main representative of bibliology and director of the National Library of France – we have discovered all the technical and spiritual dimension that is present both in the concept and in the material execution of books as in the process of comprehending literary knowledge. These references are crucial to understanding the contribution to our editorial system by Enrique Pérez Diaz, who has accompanied the most inexperienced generations of readers in their sensory and cognitive growth.

Although Pérez Díaz’s contributions to the theoretical-critical field of children’s literature have endured for several decades, there is no doubt that his intellectual exercises have gained wide public recognition, since he took over the editorship of Gente Nueva and the biennial publication En July like in January. sponsored by the Cuban Committee of the International Youth Book Organization (IBBY). This notoriety was confirmed by his international peers when, in 2014, he was selected as a jury member for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize, the highest award in children’s literature worldwide, which IBBY has been honoring the most important authors of fiction and graphic designers since 1956.

After this prolific period at Gente Nueva, Enrique took full responsibility for the Cuban Observatory for Books and Reading (OCLL), a working group at the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean, where metrics and surveys are combined. with the sensitivity of reading their creators.

The first personal contact I had with Enrique dates back to June 2017 when we both participated in the 2nd. International Congress of Jules Verne, which hosted the House of Victor Hugo in the historic center of Havana. Subsequently, we met in the lobby of the National Library every time he entered the Cathedral of Culture for professional reasons or just for fun. His extensive experience as a consumer of culture makes his view of the literary universe very interesting to those who have felt the extraordinary fascination of the printed word.

– What place does reading take in your daily life – aesthetic, academic, practical?

“These readings alternate according to the needs of my work, they mix unconsciously with each other, and sometimes I can’t stop reading aesthetically from an academic essay or a pragmatic survey report. I am a proponent of the idea that a word always has a creative range that allows it to communicate, and that despite dry or specialized content, it should be given with rhythm, beauty, and a sense of playful enjoyment. It is like feeling the music of our language as soon as it is read or written.

“We editors usually have a professional warp that always forces us to look through what we read through a magnifying glass, even when not at work. When I was young, I was very happy about my innocence. As you grow older, the rigor you impose on your readings, even if you enjoy them, is always marked by critical vision, and sometimes you find yourself in a moment of relaxation simply working through a fictional text that you just wanted to entertain. This process is intense and at the same time elusive.

— How do you assess the role of the jury, both intellectually and socially?

— Life forced me to be a jury. This is what I prefer to avoid. First of all, because of the time it takes if you are going to work seriously. Then, because you are involved in a value fact in which you are not alone, and sometimes you are part of a verdict that makes you immensely happy – as happened to me recently with the National Literary Award for Delfín Prats – but other times you almost feel that you survive in a strong confrontation. The jury is something very subjective, because everyone contributes their experience, intelligence and preferences – and at the same time it means a collision with a text of a generally unknown author or with a person to be evaluated in one way or another, as in the above case. .

“When I’m on a jury, I always try to cast the last vote to hear the arguments of my colleagues in this gamble, and I don’t necessarily cling to my original proposal if someone convinces me.”

How appropriate is it in a family environment to encourage reading from an early age of learning?

I think that this is not only appropriate, but necessary. Reading is the basis of knowledge, including the formation of not only spiritual, but also human values. By reading, we become more sensitive, inclusive and diverse people. I can’t imagine existence without books.

“I was lucky to be born in a library house. I love libraries and bookstores to feel like home, even if they are as unattractive or unattractive as their spaces sometimes are. A child who does not read must make a Herculean effort to succeed. It’s something that isn’t in his family DNA, and it takes a vaccine to instill the vice of reading. The one who had the good fortune to be born in the reading field takes many steps forward.”

What feelings do you need to manage a literary publication?

– The greatest sensitivity that I can attribute to them is restlessness, the desire to reach out to your audience without concessions, rather provoking them, pushing them to think, even to disagree, to climb to another level of knowledge.

“When I had to lead a publishing house that was proposed to renew the collections, I started by studying a historical series in order to save its valuable legacy, and then with a broad vision based on the development of new lines or formats and literary trends. Authors define a publisher’s identity the way employees define a magazine’s identity. From his level of care, seriousness and rigor, a long-awaited quality and impact on potential readers will be achieved.

“But the biggest parameter of a publication should be the quality and
literary or journalistic hierarchy of its content. While as civil servants one must strive to please the population, it is equally necessary to educate, instruct and provoke them so that they grow intellectually, as well as a citizen or a thinking being.

— To what extent can cultural consumption indices be quantified and interpreted?

“Research on cultural consumption is usually very controversial. Its greatest value should lie in the object of study or measurement, in its more or less accurate or reasonable questionnaire, and in the size and profile of the sample under consideration.

“My experience at OCLL has shown me that people are very apt to give their opinions orally, but are less accustomed to writing down their opinions or reading the exhaustive form. For this reason, accuracy in what the study is looking for should be a requirement. Its value can be determined by the expansion factor of the human sample you are working with, even by the type of sample (or person) and the space in which the study is being conducted.

“The validity of these studies and those who conduct them is determined primarily by the action taken by the sponsoring institutions, or by actions aimed at achieving a certain effect, whether it be a change in publication policy or any other measure.”

— How could print and electronic formats coexist and complement each other in the editorial universe?

“Institutionally, we advocate a policy that each book must co-exist in both versions in order to be accessible to any type of public. There are very similar people who neglect to read on a mobile phone or tablet, but there are others who switch to these forms, just like my own case. Large reading crowds, born in the era of new technologies, develop their efforts in the virtual world, where they have their own opinion leaders,
They self-publish and find in it a way of editorial learning and filling their free time.

“We must revolutionize the concept of reading, which until now has usually been associated only with traditional books of a well-known classical or modern heritage, because the modern era imposes a different reality that has hatched among the Wattpad boys, book clubs, influencers and other actual “figures” that impose a reconversion on the act of reading and mean a challenge to the “bookish” object to diversify and survive in another world. I think that the beings of the past should be optimistic about the future, making the already existing abyss less bottomless and not denying these phenomena, but based on the study, interpretation and acceptance of change.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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