The Atlantic: Why Chinese People Don't Read
But these approaches prompt the question: Has China left its golden age of reading forever behind?
Today's China is far different from the closed society in the 1980s, then convalescing from decades of devastating political movements and hungry for intellectual nourishment. It is difficult to imagine that the reading renaissance during that period, kindled by this hunger, would return today. Amid the grim outlook of China's book industry, however, a curious case has emerged: Last December, the Chinese version of the first part of James Joyce's 1939 novel Finnegans Wake was published after an English professor in a Shanghai university spent eight grueling years translating it. The book became an unexpected hit, with its first run of 8,000 copies sold out in a month.