Across China: "City Read" sparks love for reading

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 12, 2024
Adjust font size:

SHENYANG, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Wang Yan, a sophomore at China's Northeastern University, makes it a weekend ritual to wander along the bustling streets and narrow alleys of the city, hunting for tucked-away urban bookstores where she can settle in quietly to indulge in reading.

"Each bookstore has its unique features, allowing us to experience the city's characteristics while delving into deep reading," said Wang.

Since the beginning of this year, "City Read" has become a popular hashtag on Chinese social media platforms. This planned exploration of cities, by checking in at urban bookstores, allows young people to explore urban changes, history, culture, fashion, and innovation through a new way of reading.

On social media platforms, many young people recommend various urban bookstores and share stories of achieving "reading freedom" and "self-study freedom" right at their doorsteps.

Walking through the streets of Shenyang's Heping District, in northeast China's Liaoning Province, one can find many independent bookstores hidden in alleys.

The list includes Gede Bookstore, which has a history of 101 years, and which boasts a classical and grand architectural style. There is also Whoop Book & Cafe, converted from a community boiler room, and which recommends new books every week, while When Paper Talk Bookstore is located under residential buildings, and is a store where new books are unsealed and available for free, allowing visitors to sit quietly and read all day.

These three stores are just a few of those available to reading enthusiasts in Shenyang. "These bookstores are very close to my home, and the environment is comfortable. Sitting here reading gives me a unique feeling," said Zhang Qi, a resident of Shenyang.

In Beijing, meanwhile, some 24-hour urban libraries are highly popular among residents. Convenient locations, round-the-clock availability, spacious designs, and other advantages have become the main reasons why many young people flock to such libraries.

The popularity of "City Read" is inseparable from the continuous improvement of the construction of public facilities across China.

In Shenyang, relying on the cultural heritage of historical buildings, many idle assets have been transformed into public cultural spaces. These spaces now host over 20 bookstores and more than 100 reading rooms, attracting millions of readers.

Across the country, efforts are also being made to create "10-minute reading circles" and "15-minute reading circles" to improve urban public reading facilities.

Whoop Book & Cafe hosts weekly activities such as new book signings, film screenings, lectures, podcasts, and salons, and offers a "one-day store clerk" experience.

Deng Qingxuan, a student from Shenyang Jianzhu University, decided to have a go at the "one-day store clerk" opportunity. Making coffee, organizing shelves, and recommending books, proved a busy day which left Deng with a deep impression and feeling that "reading is infectious, and seeing so many people drawn to reading because of my service makes me very happy."

Zhang Sining, a researcher at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said that in the digital era, diverse offline urban bookstores can better satisfy the emotional needs of young people, while also allowing them to discover the greater charm of physical reading.

Since opening two years ago, the book club of When Paper Talk Bookstore has grown from a handful of readers to over 300 members, mostly young people with an average age of about 30.

"Many book club members bring their friends, and some even fall in love with reading because of the bookstore," said Zhang Shibo, the bookstore's manager.

"Attending a City Read activity and hearing diverse narratives in bookstores evoked the charm of reading in me," said Deng. Enditem

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from