Book Street, a highlight of spring celebration

(VOVworld) – The Book Walkway in downtown Ho Chi Minh City has been open for more than a year. Today, we ‘ll take a stroll with VOV reporter Hong Hai around the area, which stretches from Nguyen Van Binh Street across Hai Ba Trung Avenue to Paris Commune Street.

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The sidewalks are filled with thousands of books of various sizes and colors, tempting passers-by. Nobody can resist taking a peek. Khanh Minh, who was checking out the book covers, said: “The Book Walkway is very interesting. Many more venues like this should be established to encourage young people to read more.”

The Book Walkway was the idea of Doctor Quach Thu Nguyet, former Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Publishing House. Nguyet said she has long dreamed of a special street for books:“I am a native of Saigon. When I was small, I was already obsessed with streets that have many book shops like Le Loi, Nguyen Hue, and Dang Thi Nhu. Later on, during trips abroad as a manager, I was impressed by book streets I saw in Japan and France. When I got the idea of opening a book street in Ho Chi Minh City, I received strong support from my colleagues and municipal leaders.”

The Book Walkway was created early last year, comprising 19 stalls, 2 book cafes, and a well-designed area for secondhand books. The participants include Youth Publishing House, Culture-Art and Literature Publisher, Kim Dong Publishing House, and the Tri Viet and Nha Nam companies. This is not just a market, it’s a meeting place for readers. Nguyen Dinh Hung said:“I ‘m from Da Nang. I ‘m on a business trip here. I find this place peaceful, beautiful, and interesting, with nicely-decorated stalls. What peace of mind in a so crowded place like Ho Chi Minh city!”

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Although the area is not very large, it offers a lot of activities: discussions with authors, photo exhibits, fashion shows, and book readings and discussions. Vu Hai Ly is a visitor from Hanoi:“I come to this street to trace what I have read. It is such a nostalgic corner in a busy city. I am mostly interested in secondhand books and literary works of the Soviet Union era. I am surprised to find the oldies.”

As word spreads, the Book Walkway is becoming a seductive destination for Vietnamese and foreigners. The Irish Prime Minister and his wife visited the area to the excitement of the locals. The US Consul General walked in a traditional Vietnamese ao dai with some young Vietnamese ladies along the street. The British Foreign Minister also stopped here during his visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

The Book Walkway model has been replicated, first in District 5, and then in Hanoi and Da Nang. The opening of the Book Walkway was one of the 10 biggest events in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016.