The literature of Gen Z: politicising disorder
La Carbonera is a bookshop located in Barcelona’s El Poble-sec neighbourhood. It was born as a cooperative project four years ago and, since then, the response from the neighbourhood has exceeded all expectations. In this new chapter of ‘People’, they explain that their aim was to create a project that would go beyond a bookshop: to create a community through culture.
Each generation sees and lives the world in a different way, and today we focus on generation Z, which includes all those born between 1995 and 2000. We spoke to the promoters of La Carbonera, Carlota Freixenet and Laia Salvador, to discover what and how this generation reads, often stigmatised by technology, and even infantilised, as Freixenet denounces. The reality is that some of these young people have already completed university studies, they are part of the labour market and the concept of youth reading that is attributed to them falls far short of their real aspirations.
Read less, but read better
Joseph Addison said that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. So, if we are aware of the importance of training the body to gain health, why not also train the mind? Whether as a refuge, as a yearning for freedom or simply as a pastime, literature clearly plays an active role in the lives of Generation Z. If there is one thing that defines them, it is their love of literature. If there is one thing that defines them, it is the practical side they take to life and, surely, growing up with the facilities provided by technology has something to do with it.
A similar thing happens with reading, and as they explain from La Carbonera, their experience shows them that young people read a lot, despite the fact that the format has changed compared to other generations. Above all, they are looking for the practical part, and this translates into short books, no more than 200 pages. As they tell us, “they can read three or four books a month, so they are not reading less, they are reading shorter but very good things.”
Learning and growing in community
They explain that one of the projects they have promoted in La Carbonera is a reading club, which has been very well received by the Z public, especially among women of this generation. Although reading is an intimate activity, one of introspection and even growth, the fact of sharing it opens up new horizons of knowledge. In this way, they manage to share opinions, sensations and reflections that become seeds to grow as a community.
Throughout the podcast, Freixenet and Salvador talk to us about some of the most outstanding young authors on the current scene, such as Andrea Abreu, Nuria Bendicho, Laia Viñas and Pol Guasch. The common feature for most of the ‘zoomers’ writers is that “they talk about conflict, and from conflict. They question at some point, they question things and problematise,” Freixenet explains. And he adds that there is a different awareness, they are a generation that has normalised situations or contexts that were stigmatised in previous generations.
If you want to give culture as a gift this Christmas, take note of the top sellers recommended by La Carbonera!
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