Teenagers turn to books from days gone by

February 27, 2019 - 09:00

Teenagers are turning to readily available Vietnamese adult books written by authors in the 1980s and 90s.

A series of six books by writers, who were famous in the 80s and 90s,have been released by the HCM City Culture and Arts Publishing House.(Photo courtesy of the publisher)
Viet Nam News

By Thu Anh

HCM CITY— Teenagers are turning to readily available Vietnamese adult books written by authors in the 1980s and 90s.

The HCM City Culture and Arts Publishing House has released a series of six books by Từ Kế Tường, Nguyễn Nhật Ánh and Đinh Tiến Luyện, who were famous in the 80s and 90s.

It released a series of books featuring short stories by these writers that were published in Tuổi Ngọc (Teen Age) and Hoa Học Trò (Flowers of Students), both magazines for secondary school students, between 1998 and 2008.

The magazines worked with dozens of famous writers, such as Nguyễn Thị Minh Ngọc, Lê Minh Quốc and Tôn Nữ Thu Dung, to release their books on teen loves, hopes and dreams.

The publisher has released Tường’s Tình Yêu Có Màu Gì (What Is the Colour of Love?), Luyện’s Anh Chi Yêu Dấu (Dear Anh Chi!) and Mường Mán’s Cạn Chén Tình (Drinking for Love).

These books were written with the authors’ well-known imagination and flair.  

Phương Nam Books has signed an exclusive contract to republish some of Đoàn Thạch Biền’s books, some of them released before 1975.

The company has reprinted Biền’s two books, a 70-page book of eight short stories called Chao (Fermented Tofu), and the other a 170-page novel called Mùa Hè Khắc Nghiệt (Hard Summer). Both tell stories about girls and boys at high school who discover life and love.

More than 11,000 copies of the two books sold out a few months after their release in 2017.

Other books by Biền, Sắc Như Mắt Phượng (Sharp Like a Bird’s Eye) and Buổi Chiều Gió Và Những Vật Cũ (Windy Evening and Old Things), both featuring teen characters, will be published in the near future.

“We will provide more titles for teenagers this year,” a Phương Nam Book official said.  

"I’m a fan of Tường’s books. I introduced his books to my children and their friends. I think his writing style will be popular with teenagers today because they are a mix of reality and romanticism,” said Phan Thành Nam, a father of two teen girls living in Bình Dương Province. 

"Young readers, particularly girls, will see themselves in every single page of Tường’s books. They will believe that the writer knows what they are thinking and dreaming," he added.

In his recent interview with media in HCM City, Tường said that he was involved in writing books aimed at teenagers because he “wanted to create a dreamlike world for youngsters, who believe in the best things about life and people”.   

“The dearth of age-appropriate material leaves teenagers with very few choices for their needs. Writers and printers should work together to increase the number of books for teenagers on the market,” he said.  

Tường began his career in 1969 in Sài Gòn (former name of Hồ Chí Minh City). He was popular in the 1970s and 80s. He has released more than 50 titles of books, mostly novels and short stories for teenagers.

Another publisher, Kim Đồng Publishing House, the country’s leading printer for children, has also contracted well-known authors, including young writers, to create books for teenagers.

Some books now in draft form are also slated for publication late this year. Not all hope is lost for Vietnamese teenagers who love to read.— VNS