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Readers celebrate Viet Nam Book Day

HA NOI — Thousands of people flocked to the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi on Saturday to enjoy Viet Nam Book Day, initiated by the National Library.

Bookworms: Readers of all ages choose their favourite books at a stall on Viet Nam Book Day.

The day, entitled Reading Books for Tomorrow, was supported by publishing houses, companies and bookstores, who agreed to discount one book by 20-30 per cent.

Activities were held to connect readers with writers and instruct students how to choose books. There was a cover illustration contest, a talk on reading culture and speed reading, performance poetry, a favourite books competition and other activities.

"Clan's Bookshelf" library founder Nguyen Quang Thach was in charge of giving away 2000 books, half of which were from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

"According to a survey I took on Valentine's Day, about 100 youngsters chose books as presents for the opposite sex. Therefore, this activity encourages people to give books to each other," he said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Thuy Anh, founder of the "Read Books with Our Children" Club, told why she established the club.

"At first, I didn't have any intention of consolidating a reading culture," she said. "The idea came to me when I heard my children saying bad words and it turned out they learnt the words from books I had bought for them."

This club was founded to help parents interact with their children and to create a forum for parents to recommend interesting books which are suitable for their children.

Thai Ha Books director Nguyen Manh Hung, PhD, said a reading culture developed from reading habits, book choice and reading skills. Poor farmers did not have enough money to buy books and did not invest in knowledge "even though an investment in knowledge brings benefits", he said.

Book were very expensive because of the high price of paper and small number of copies.

"Last year I talked about reading culture with students of 50 universities nationwide," Hung said. "They were divided into two groups: one reading books all day and the other never touching a book."

"Lots of people came to my book store chain to buy books as a present on Tet. During this holiday, businessmen invited me to their houses to show me their bookshelves instead of their wine shelves as usual," he said.

"I believe that a reading culture has been developing, so do not think that it is dying."

One of those who celebrated Book Day was Le Bach Kim who came away with several books.

"I spent VND800,000 (US$38) buying books from early morning to now." Kim said. "Most of them are about literature and nutritional science."

This is the fifth time Viet Nam Book Day, initiated by the Ha Noi National Library, has been held in the city.

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