Success of Yuanping book club stimulates mass reading

By Sun Ruisheng and Jia Yaozhong (chindaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2020-01-13

1263921504_副本.jpg

Enthusiasts exchange ideas at the bookclub held by Time Reading Club in Yuanping county, Shanxi province, on Jan 7. [Photo by Zhang Ning/China Daily]

Freezing cold snaps amid the snowbound days couldn't undermine the zeal of booklovers for reading -- as Yuanping Library in Yuanping county in northern Shanxi province bustled with people attending a weekly bookclub held on Jan 7.

The regular event was launched by Time Reading Club, a non-profit folk reading promotion group launched in December 2014 by Fu Xiaoping, who was born into a literary family and has loved reading since childhood.

Since its establishment, the reading club has held various reading sharing events each Tuesday evening -- including more than 230 academic lectures given by famous artists and academics -- to promote popular reading and the development of a reading society.

The reading club is called a university without walls by its members because it welcomes people from all walks of life including farmers, workers, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs.

42033190_副本.jpg

Zhao Xiaochun, director of Shanxi Sport Bureau, addresses the bookclub on Jan 7. [Photo by Zhang Ning/China Daily]

More than 1,000 people have participated in the reading and writing because of the club -- publishing hundreds of articles in various literary periodicals and journals, raising the club's profile in Shanxi province and beyond. 

Liu Yuqing, vice-president of China Society for the Study of the Book of Songs, said that the phenomenal success of the Time Reading Club is very worthy of support and it provides a springboard to promote mass reading.

For the purpose of expanding exchanges and strengthening communication, the club organized a national essay contest themed around "a book and my life" in June 2018 and received more than 1,400 submissions from all over China, stimulating public discussions and thinking about the role of reading and life nationwide. 

In addition to literature, the reading club also offers an open platform for enthusiasts in photography, calligraphy and painting, music and recitation. It helps showcase talent, as well as carries out social services including charity events -- donating reading rooms and money to school children in undeveloped areas. 

Du Xuewen, chairman of the Shanxi Writers Association, said people find the meaning and value of life in reading, regard literature as a way of life and pass their goodwill to society through the Time Reading Club.