Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers, especially expats, to share what made them become book-lovers. The topic was raised after the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism set up a project, worth about VND230 billion (US$10.2 million) to encourage the Vietnamese children to read more. Here are some comments from our readers.
Abhrajit Khan, Indian, HCM City
I come from Calcutta, where reading is an integral part of life. While many argue it is largely inherited from elders, the significance of bookstores among youngsters is increasing. Part of this is rooted in our culture, where kids grow up listening to stories from their grandmothers.
Beyond culture, books account for a significant amount of business in this region. Take the Calcutta International Book Fair, which is the world's largest non-trade book fair, Asia's largest book fair and the most attended book fair in the world. There is a famous street in North Calcutta dedicated to books, where they say you can find any book that exists.
Wolfgang Rain, American, Seattle
I believe a literate population is one of the greatest treasures that humankind can create. If this large amount of money actually went to promoting readership, it's a wonderful idea.
As a child, reading brought me to worlds and places of understanding I could not otherwise reach. Reading opened my mind and increased my compassion for others and gave me a lifelong thirst for self-development, to understand the world of nature and people, and to help those around me.
John Smythe, Dak Lak
It's a hard task, given the advent of smart phones, games and Facebook. However, books are great, one's imagination can conjure better pictures than any game could.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
My father and older brother often waited for the afternoon delivery of the Montreal Star. Dad read the news and editorial while my brother checked out the sports page. I read the Letters to the Editor.
Turn off your ‘smart' phone. Discover privacy and adventure in a library. I loved school, loved reading and found that words are powerful.
No one ever gets lost in a library. It is where you go to find yourself.
Hong Lien, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
Reading books makes me feel peaceful. It's great to discover a new world that a book creates for you.
My mother was a bookworm, she read a lot of books and so do I. My mother often quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson "If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads."
Hoang Giang, Vietnamese, Prague
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is helping your child enjoy reading. You should have books, magazines and newspapers in your home and be sure children can easily reach them, so they make a habit of reading.
If you enjoy reading, your children will do the same. Don't forget to buy books to suit your kids. — VNS