Germany, a country of readers

Book reading continues to be very popular in Germany and is celebrated with some highly original events.

Trend researcher Matthias Horx judges books to be an “old-fashioned medium”. “They are a medium that is linear, slow and bulky, and could almost be described as primitive.” And yet books are faring amazingly well in the face of competition from radio, TV and the Internet. This is clear not only from book trade sales figures, but also from various very well-attended events.

One city, one book

One such event is “Frankfurt Reads a Book”. From 11 to 24 April 2016, Frankfurt am Main will for the seventh time be showcasing a book that is closely associated with the city. This time, activities will revolve around “Frankfurt verboten” (i.e. Frankfurt forbidden) by David Dieter Seuthe. The novel tells the story of a young Jewish girl between 1929 and 1936. Elise Hermann is training as a pianist at a renowned conservatory. At the same time, she finds the love of her life. She appears to have a golden future – but everything changes when Hitler comes to power. During a period of two weeks, there will be readings from the novel at various places around the city. In addition, there will be discussions, literary walks, exhibitions, theatre and opera evenings, as well as concerts featuring the music of the 1920s and 1930s.

Other cities in Germany are organizing similar projects. Literature will be particularly celebrated in many different ways and in many different places on 23 April, World Book Day. Stiftung Lesen, the German Reading Foundation, will be playing an important role in this context: it wants to make Germany “a country of readers”, pointing out how important reading is when it comes to obtaining a good education, and thus as a key to full participation in society. Among other things, the foundation, which evolved out of an association established in 1977, organizes volunteers to regularly read aloud at nursery schools and other institutions. In addition, it stages a Germany-wide “Reading Aloud Day” each year in November. 

World Book Day on 23 April; “Frankfurt Reads a Book” from 11 to 24 April 2016