In 2013, Qi Yulong, who has graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts with a major in oil painting for two years, quit his job in the big city. Following in the footsteps of his idol Wu Guanzhong (a contemporary Chinese painter widely recognized as a founder of modern Chinese painting), he came to the ancient town of Gongtan in Youyang, Chongqing, and founded the Mr. Bookstore.
Based on the 900 books donated by Chongqing Library, he started to promote public reading. Mr. Bookstore has become a study room for tourists during their journey and a reading room around the residents of the ancient town.
On the first floor of Mr. Bookstore is a cultural and creative art store, where Qi Yulong’s stone artworks are placed. The second floor is a public welfare bookstore. He puts the books he bought and the books donated by tourists and booksellers neatly on the bookshelves, carefully decorating the reading space. The third floor is his residence.
In recent years, with the assistance of the administrative department of Gongtan Ancient Town, Mr. Bookstore has successfully organized reading activities such as “One Hour of Reading,” “People on the Road,” “Poetry Salon,” “New Year’s Eve Reading” and “Enlightenment” for children, etc. Branch libraries of Mr. Bookstore have been opened in nearby kindergartens and villages, and books are provided by Mr. Bookstore for free. From time to time, the book collections of the branch libraries and the bookstores are shared in an orderly manner so that children and villagers around the branch libraries can read more new books and good books.
At present, Mr. Bookstore has more than 8,000 books, each carefully selected by Qi Yulong. He said he “wants to be a platform that allows readers to reach books” and influence as many people as possible to read consciously.
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