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May 24, 2014

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Fiction still comes first for library visitors

CHINESE popular fiction remains the first choice of library-goers in the city, though fantasy novels about superheroes are gaining ground, according to a study released yesterday by Shanghai Library.

The report analyzed the lending records of 605,000 Shanghai residents — 80 percent of them adults — who borrowed an average of 26 books each in 2013. In the whole of the year the library loaned its books more than 44 million times.

More than half of the loans, 56 percent, were fiction titles, with history and geography books the next most popular groups.

While Chinese popular fiction maintained its long-held title of most-read genre, the once dominant martial arts novels by authors like Jin Yong and Gu Long lost ground last year to Internet fantasy titles.

Among the most popular of these were novels by Zhang Wei (better known by his Internet screen name Tang Jia San Shao, or Tang Jr III) and Zhu Hongzhi, or Wo Chi Xi Hong Shi (I eat tomatoes), the report said.

Six Internet novelists, including Zhang and Zhu, made the library’s “20 most popular authors” list.

Also on that list was Mo Yan, whose books increased in popularity after he won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Books about politics, law and technology were most popular among men, while women were drawn to titles related to culture, education and languages. Children chose mostly picture books, science texts and encyclopedias, the library said.


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