Reading activities held around the city mark World Book Day

Libraries across Shanghai organized various reading activities over the weekend to celebrate World Book Day, which falls on Monday.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Readers peruse books in the Huangpu riverside region in Xuhui District, which organizes a series of activities to celebrate World Reading Day.

Libraries around the city organized various reading activities over the weekend to celebrate World Book Day, which falls on Monday.

More than 1,600 citizens participated in a reading marathon at 19 libraries and community service centers across the city, as well as one library in Nantong City of neighboring Jiangsu Province.

The citywide event was the third of its kind organized by the Shanghai Library and a local culture company to promote reading.

The event has attracted more and more participants every year. Even though organizers had places for 1,660 competitors, they were snapped up quickly. The 150 places available at Shanghai Library were booked out in 17 seconds when the system went live at midnight on April 7.

The growing popularity of the event meant that Nantong library became the first competition zone outside of Shanghai.

Ti Gong

Students participate in the section for teenagers in the citywide reading marathon held on Saturday.

The competition required all participants to finish reading an unpublished book – Reading the World History through 30 Inventions – and complete a test, including true-or-false and multiple choice questions, within six hours. 

Participants were eventually ranked according to both their reading speed and the accuracy of their answers. Note taking was allowed during reading, but participants had to hand the book back in to organizers before the tests began.

One reader at Shanghai Library was the first to finish reading, handing the book back two hours and two seconds after the competition began. She didn't do too well in the test, though, and failed to take the crown.

The winner was Zhao Tao, a 39-year-old company legal adviser. He participated in the competition at the Nanqiao Town Library in Fengxian District.

Zhao told Shanghai Daily that his friend recommended he participate in the event.

“I like reading and was immediately attracted by the idea of a reading marathon,” he said. “People are so busy nowadays that we have little time to read books. But the event provided a strong atmosphere for reading and reminded us that reading the same book with friends and exchanging ideas is such a pleasant and healthy way of life.”

Zhang Le, a student from Shanghai Yucai High School, won the section for teenagers in the reading marathon on Saturday.

This year's competition, for the first time, included a separate section for 65 teenagers at the Shanghai Children’s Library.

Zhang Le from Shanghai Yucai High School won this section, and said the reading event was a kind of rest for her from heavy schoolwork.

At Shanghai Ancient Book Store, more than 100 pupils, as well as their parents and teachers, had a reading salon on Sunday to trace the origin of Chinese characters. 

Famous Chinese linguistics and literature experts, such as Zhang Yiqing from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Lu Jing from Fudan University, were invited to give lectures about the evolution of Chinese characters and their connection with Chinese culture.

The book store is a Fuzhou Road icon, known for its rich offering of ancient books. It’s also a base supported by Shanghai Education Commission for passing on the culture of bone and tortoise shell inscriptions, an early version of Chinese characters that may date back more than 3,600 years.

The event was the fifth of its kind organized for promoting reading among students since it was initiated last year.

Ti Gong

The medal given to readers who read the whole book and then completed a test at the reading marathon.

The Xuhui District Library organized a series of activities along the West Bund on Sunday, to build up an enjoyable, cultural space combining reading with the beautiful landscape and sports facilities of the region. 

People not only read books, but also learned calligraphy and watched performances, such as kunqu opera and a fashion show featuring qipao.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A qipao fashion show is held at the West Bund on Sunday.

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