Holiday-makers flock to the Beautiful Bookstore Festival at Sinan Mansions.
Shanghai's first Beautiful Bookstore Festival, which brought together the city's bookstores at Sinan Mansions, was one of the popular attractions during the ongoing National Day holiday.
Over 30 local bookstores, including Muji, JIC, Duoyun, and Bananafish, are participating in the event and presenting their latest products and publications while also interacting with customers.
Between October 1 and 3, book fairs, food and art bazaars, and outdoor concerts were held at the historical villas.
It is part of a series of events organized by the people behind the annual Shanghai Book Fair to promote reading among citizens. The festival is also one of the book fair's attempts to promote popular and stylish bookstores.
"During the festival, citizens will be able to visit the popular bookstores on a single tour," said Fan Meichen, deputy general manager of the Sinan Mansions. "If they are interested in any of the stores, they can visit them after the festival," she said.
Sinan fosters a vibrant reading culture by hosting nearly 400 reading clubs as well as the annual Shanghai International Literary Week. Fan said that the festival blends reading with life, food and music through cultural events.
The mansions, the only wholly preserved historical garden villa complex in downtown, include more than 50 historic villas of various styles. They were once homes to celebrities like poet Liu Yazi (1887-1958) and Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1894-1961). Some of them have been turned into hotels, cafés, restaurant and shops.
For the festival, the mansions were divided into two sections: a beautiful bookstore and beautiful life zones. The bookstore section features bookstores dedicated to literature, art, music and parent-child relationships. They offered discounts while also hosting a variety of interactive events.
Visitors pose at Shanghai's first Beautiful Bookstore Festival at Sinan Mansions over the weekend.
Characteristic bookstores include the Bananafish, known for its art ambiance; Muji Books, known for its peaceful and comfortable environment, and the Shanghai Library and Sinan bookstores.
The Duoyun Bookstore, on the 52nd floor of Shanghai Tower, is the "tallest bookstore," while the Poemsforyou Bookstore is the city's first poetry-themed book shop.
The view of the Bund from the third floor of JIC Books on Gongping Road has always fascinated photographers. It has China's largest collection of biographies.
BOOCUP is a bookstore for popular fashion and music magazines, whereas ShenDong Foreign Language is a bookstore for parents and children.
"We can not only meet many of our readers at the festival but also the owners of many other interesting bookstores," said Bao Zhihui, owner of Poemsforyou.
The brand was inspired by a popular WeChat account called "Poems for You," which published ancient and modern Chinese poems. Since the opening of the store in August, it has gained a large following among local readers, Bao said.
It prepared many poem pamphlets for the festival's visitors. Parts of the poems by famous writers were covered in order to inspire readers to create their own works.
Foo'mart is widely regarded as Shanghai's first community bookstore. Since the first store opened in Xingfuli, which used to be a rubber plant on Xinhua Road, it has opened many branches in popular urban renewal projects, including the century-old Blackstone Apartments in downtown Xuhui District.
Its goal is to create a cultural consumption space that provides inspiration and aesthetics. The term "foo'mart" refers to a store that sells happiness.
"A book should be a part of one's life. We hope that people can read a few pages of a paper book in their busy lives," said Han Xingjie, a Foo'mart employee.
A bookstore owner displays recommended reading at the festival.
It primarily recommended books on Shanghai's urban architecture for the festival, as well as magazines that, according to Han, cannot be replaced by digital media.
Visitors were encouraged to speak with the festival's bookstore owners and operators. They also took part in a poll to determine which bookstore brands were the "most beautiful."
At the open-air "beautiful life zone," over 60 food and art stalls were put up. Ice cream brand HaHa Maker offered a special product that was inspired by the Sinan villas, while La Crêperie sold authentic French crepes and apple wines.
Also, over 30 artists created paintings and innovative artworks. People were also invited to work with artists to make vinyl records, hand-made scents and ceramics.
A music and art exhibition were also part of the festival to mark the start of summer nightlife events.
More than 30 bands and musicians will perform in over 50 free outdoor concerts throughout the Summer Music Festival.
A boy reads a book at the festival.
Popular bands like Gypsy Moulin and Burley Quay performed classic swing, jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, and folk music.
The event, which is part of the "Sinan Yé" or Sinan Night activity, aims to introduce citizens to various professional music styles. Visitors to the mansions can expect to see a live concert in every corner of the historic site.
A contemporary exhibition titled Meem@Sinan has opened at the Sinan Time Zone, a popular art gallery. A metaverse exhibition zone has also been established to provide artists with a new platform. Sinan's first digital collection has been released in the new virtual exhibition space.
The offline exhibition examines the design products at the mansions since 2020. The mansions feature many colorful greenery throughout the year. Innovative souvenirs were made from these plants and flowers as well as the villas.
Sinan aspires to be a popular weekend culture and art lifestyle destination. It has developed a number of popular activities, including the Sinan Reading Club, an urban space art festival, an outdoor museum, and a nightlife party, and it covers music, publishing, fashion, design, film, opera, science, and sports. Every year, over 600 public events are held at the mansions.
A customer picks flowers at a stall.
Outdoor concerts are held at the mansions during the festival.
Kunqu Opera performers at the festival
Editor: Su Yanxian