Bookworms pack into Tehran bookstores for reading campaign

November 21, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Major bookstores opened early across Tehran on Thursday to host readers for Ketabgardi (Tour of Bookstores), a reading campaign launched by Tehran City Council member Ahmad Masjed-Jamei during the last year’s Iran Book Week.

Masjed-Jamei, National Library and Archives of Iran Director Seyyed Reza Salehi-Amiri, Farabi Cinema Foundation Managing Director Alireza Tabesh and a number of other officials attended meetings at bookstores Mehregan, Larestan, Gooya, Saless and Shabaviz where maestro Loris Tjeknavorian also joined the group.

They were in the Iran Cultural Fairs Institute (ICFI) where Tabesh announced that an agreement had been signed between ICFI and Farabi to publish a collection of major cinematic documents, which were influential in the academic approach of Iran’s cinema, to be later displayed in next year’s edition of the Tehran International Book Fair in May.

Masjed-Jamei liked the idea of Gooya Publications, which has turned its second floor into a gallery to provide a better place for visitors.

The group later inaugurated a new bookstore, Quran Book City. The Quran Book City was established in 2003 and has over 40 bookstores across the country.

Masjed-Jamei also went to visit a number of bookstores located on Enqelab Street across from the University of Tehran and held talks with bookstore owners.

He visited Shabaviz, a major Tehran-based children’s book publisher, where Managing Director Farideh Khalatbari said that the publisher hosts review sessions every Thursday that are attended by writers, critics and illustrators.

He praised efforts made by Shabaviz, who aims to introduce young talented artists and poets.

Second-hand booksellers on Enqelab Street were the last individuals who Masjed-Jamei visited and shared words.

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati also joined the Ketabgardi movement while he visited dozens of bookshops on Enqelab Street.

Moreover, writers and artists including Mahtab Keramati, Purya Alami, Mahnaz Afshar, Leili Golestan and Alireza Sami-Azar joined the campaign and gathered at Fereshteh Book City.

Actress Afshar called it a very good idea and said that fortunately the campaign has been warmly welcomed by people in its second year.

Director Farhad Tohidi also said that he believes the book reading rate has decreased while technology has progressed, and proposed that cultural officials and figures help create an atmosphere to better promote book reading in the society.

Photo: Culture Minister Ali Jannati (C) and Tehran Governor General Seyyed Hossein Hashemi (L) are seen among the people visiting a bookstore on Tehran’s Enqelab Street during the Ketabgardi campaign on November 19, 2015. (IRNA/Mehdi Qorbani)