Viet Nam News
By Lê Hương
HÀ NỘI – Thousands of people of all ages have attended various activities at the Third Book Day held in downtown Hà Nội starting on Wednesday.
“Those who think that reading culture in Việt Nam is diminishing should visit this event,” said retiree Lê Thanh Tài. “I love books and feel happy to see so many young people flocking here.”
The event has attracted more than 80 publishing and distributing firms throughout the country. It runs until Sunday.
In 2014, the Prime Minister signed a decision to make April 21 Việt Nam’s Book Day. The significance of the month is tied to April 1927, when Hồ Chí Minh’s lectures on fighting against colonialism to revolutionary soldiers in Guangzhou, China, was published in a book titled Đường Kách Mệnh (Revolutionary Road). April 23 was also chosen as the World Book and Copyright Day.
“I think the day is a good way to promote reading culture,” said writer Lê Hoài Nam from Hà Nội. “But the trouble is that we should find the most effective way of organising it.”
“I think recent book fairs are basically well-organised, but there are not many good books available there,” he said.
Poet Mai Văn Phấn from the northern city of Hải Phòng said organisers should promote the day well before it happens.
“They should enhance people’s awareness of the value of books, especially people in remote rural areas, where people hardly see a book all year-round,” he said.
Addressing the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Thành Hưng said the ministry has assigned its units to organise various activities to celebrate Việt Nam’s Book Day on April 21, including book sale promotions for readers across the country.
Hưng said localities throughout the country have hosted events along with Book Day activities like Poetry Festival in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, a book introduction event in the southern province of Đồng Tháp and a book exhibition in the northern province of Nam Định.
Book Day has been supported by many agencies like the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security.
Several different Book Day themes have been organised at schools, where parents are encouraged to set up book shelves in their children’s classrooms. Various storytelling, eloquence and role play contests have been held.
“Though I have little time to read, I prefer reading to watching TV as I am free to imagine more while reading,” said Lưu Hương Ly, a high school student.
Nguyễn Khánh Toàn, a first year student, had a different opinion.
“I prefer watching TV. But I still read 2-3 books a year. The books contain philosophy on life, love and relations in society,” he added.
According to a recent survey by the Ministry of Education and Training, a Vietnamese person on average reads four books a year, 2.8 of which are textbooks.
“I think it’s not important how much you read, it’s more important what you read, how you read and why you read,” said Tài.
“Books always have a role for every time period. We should not come to the conclusion that reading culture is diminishing,” he said. “We should just encourage people, especially young people, to read more and think more.” -- VNS