A marathon designed to help promote book and reading

A "reading marathon" was held over the weekend in as part of the ongoing Shanghai Book Fair to promote the reading among the public.
Ti Gong

Participants read a new book at the Zhongshuge bookstore in Xuhui District on Saturday in the annual reading marathon event. It was composed of an orientation hike to downtown historical landmarks, and then a reading marathon at the libraries in Xuhui, Jing'an and Huangpu districts.

A "reading marathon" was held over the weekend in as part of the ongoing Shanghai Book Fair to promote the reading among the public.

A total of 160 people take part in the eight-hour Xuhui Walk and Read Marathon on Saturday. The event involved an orientation hike to downtown historical landmarks, and then a reading marathon at the libraries in downtown Xuhui, Jing'an and Huangpu districts.

Reading has been dwindling among locals in the age of information technology, social media and smart phone. The event aims to influence not only the participants but also the public to revitalize the book reading habit, said Fang Yunfang, director of the Xuhui Library, the organizer of the event.

The annual reading marathon was initiated in Xuhui last year, which attracted some 100 readers. This year's event with a slogan of "reading is hot" has wooed far more applicants than the designed participant's number, Fang said.

Ti Gong

(From left) Chun Zi, a famous writer and former local radio host, Liu Jun, the founder of the Shanghai-based Dayin Bookmall and Lin Sha, secretary general of Thorn Birds Book Club give speeches at the Hui Forum on Saturday on the topics of book and reading.

During the marathon on Saturday, participants were divided into 32 teams. The one who finished the walk the quickest, read the designated books the fastest and scored the highest in the reading comprehension test would win.

Participants walked through over a dozen of historic sites such as the Site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Shanghai Confucian Temple, the Sihang Warehouse Battle Memorial, the former residences of famous writer Ba Jin and early Party leader Liu Changsheng as well as popular downtown bookstores.

They have to read through a popular book about Karl Marx quickly to answer the questions at each of the sites during the hiking.

"I seldom read a book in such political topic, but after reading it for the competition, I felt it's quite interesting," said Ma Tianyu, one of the participants.

During the reading marathon in the afternoon, participants gathered at the Zhongshuge Bookstore in Xuhui to read a new book about the city's historical Zhaojiabang River within three hours. Most of the participants finished the reading and a comprehension test, plus a 200-word review on paper to evaluate the book.

Ti Gong

Participants hike through local historical landmarks while read through a book to answer various questions at each site during the reading marathon on Saturday.

The sales of books in China's brick and mortar bookstores declined by nearly 3 percent in the first half of this year, but there are still more than 20 new physical bookstores opened in Shanghai annually, according to the book fair.

The Shanghai-based Dayin Bookmall, for instance, plans to open 11 new stores this year along with a number of cultural activities to encourage reading, Liu Jun, the founder of the bookmall told the Hui Forum on Saturday where artists and designers are invited to give free lectures to residents.

Over 10,000 readers have participated in an innovative campaign launch by the Xuhui government in 2016 to allow citizens borrow a new book from the district's major bookstores free with ID and any downtown library card. Over 18,000 books have been borrowed through the campaign, Fang said. Expats are encouraged to participate with their passports and library cards, she told Shanghai Daily.



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