Lawyer starts 'book reading movement"
Although Korea, like most highly developed countries, has a literacy rate of 99 percent, its reading rate is the lowest among OECD countries.
According to a Statistics Korea survey, four out of 10 Koreans never even pick up a book in a year.
To try and remedy the situation, lawyer Lee Suk-yeon launched the Book Reading Social Movement at the National Library of Korea in Seocho, southern Seoul, Thursday.
Lee, 58, is a representative lawyer at the Seoul Law Firm and advisor to the Korean Association of Certified Public Tax Accountants (KACPTA).
“Korea’s reading rate is the lowest in the OECD. Therefore, I want to foster a culture centered on reading through this practical social campaign” he said.
Special guests at the launch included National Association of Reading Culture Chairman Kim Ul-ho, Hanmi Global Chairman Kim Jong-hoon, novelist Kim Hong-shin, actor Ahn Sung-ki, Olympic national football team head coach Hong Myung-bo and five other co-representatives of the movement.
The campaign’s six co-representatives brought with them three books each to donate one book to a young person and give the remaining two to friends and acquaintances. Those who receive the books must then pass on three books of their own to other contacts on the 13th of every month.
A member of the movement said, “If 106 of the delegates and members start this tradition, then after just one year, 651,264 books will have been circulated.”
Lee is a well-known bookworm. In less than a year, he graduated from high school by passing the qualification test for college entrance but did not immediately pursue higher education. Instead, he attended a Buddhist temple where he spent all his time reading books for two years. At that point, he read more than 300 books. Even now he reads at least two books a week, covering various topics such as administration, law, literature, history, philosophy, and classics.
"Reading steadily from a young age made me who I am today. Reading should not be considered a simple activity as it requires knowledge, analysis, understanding and evaluation of the material, and a comprehensive assessment of cognitive processing. More importantly, it provides the core value of the nation’s future competitiveness” the lawyer stressed.
The national campaign was launched in conjunction with the “1, 2, 3 Exercise Movement” and is also planning events such as “Merry Booksmas” and “Valentine Books Day,” as well as sending mobile libraries in container boxes for youths in developing countries.