With the goal of "persistence, depth and companionship", the annual Marathon Reading began in March this year on all four campuses of SCNU. For book enthusiasts seeking companions on their reading journey, it is an activity that you cannot miss!

The Marathon Reading is a cultural promotion program organized by the Library and one of the informal courses offered by SCNU. Reading themes and book lists of each year will be generated based on reader votes, librarian recommendations, and expert recommendations.

Throughout the year, readers from the four campuses of SCNU can enjoy their reading journey by attending reading salons, writing book reviews, or chatting with others in dedicated WeChat groups. A reading guide team with student volunteers is available to assist readers throughout the process, offering support and guidance.


The book list of the seventh Marathon Reading.

The seventh Marathon Reading began in March of this year. It focuses on three themes, namely "the Path to Happiness", "the Things on the Earth", and "the Beauty of China", with a book list that includes works on psychology, philosophy, regional literature, and Chinese traditional culture. Participants should choose at least six of these books to read, and complete the reading task at each stop in order to finish the Marathon Reading.

Reading salons are the most exciting part of the Marathon Reading. Due to the shared interest, reading enthusiasts from different grades and majors come together to exchange ideas and feelings after their reading. With different views and thoughts exchange in the meeting, you can return fully loaded whether you act as a speaker or listener.


The first reading salon on Le mythe de Sisyphe was held on schedule each of the four campuses of SCNU.

A recent reading salon on Le mythe de Sisyphe concluded on March 17, which was the first stop of the seventh Marathon Reading. Le mythe de Sisyphe is a collection of philosophical essays written by French writer Albert Camus, which shows Camus's deep and concentrated investigation and thorough interpretation of absurd philosophy. In one of his essays "Le mythe de Sisyphe", Camus refers to the Greek mythology of Sisyphus, whose punishment is to push up a stone that will always fall back to the foot of the mountain, to elaborate on his thoughts on existentialism.

Each salon starts with an introduction to the book and its author presented by the reading guide. "As stated in the book, people may become confused in their repetitive lives, leading them to pause and wonder about the meaning of this kind of life." Under the guidance of the host and reading guide, students sat together to discuss, and were invited to express their opinions on Albert Camus, Sisyphus, the concept of absurdity, the meaning of life, and other topics.


The reading guide starts the salon by making an introduction to the author and the book.


Readers follow the reading guide to read through the Le mythe de Sisyphe.


Participants discuss happily.


A student shares her understanding on absurdity based on her reading.

At the reading salon on the University Town campus, readers even had a heated debate on the topics "Living in the present or facing the future?" and "Living for life itself or for hope and meaning". Some readers believed that it is the emotions and happiness felt at present that encourage us to better pursue hope and meaning. Others thought that life cannot be separated from meanings and that hope can be a guide for the future as well as the reason why we live in the present.


Readers had a heated debate on the topic "Living in the present or facing the future?".

Zhang Ying, Marathon Reading Promoter of the Library on the University Town campus of SCNU, concluded the salon with her comments: "The meaning of life is not searching outwards, but building inwards. We should not get used to living, but should live with sobriety. Xiao Huahui who wears a mask and Yu Jiaxin who holds a cup of coffee to attend the salon, are both consciously reminding themselves to enjoy the moment. Their happiness gained from coming here mingled with their own ideas is similar to that of Sisyphus when he consciously pushes the stone." From the salon, readers learned that our lives are significantly richer than Sisyphus' reiterated routine of pushing the boulder, and that we can pursue happiness in the present if we pay more attention and feel more deeply.


A student records the inspiration she gained on a tablet.


The staff takes a group photo happily after the salon.

The Marathon Reading provides SCNUers a platform to read, make friends, exchange ideas, and ponder the meaning of life. Through communication with other readers, participants acquire critical thinking skills, receive inspiration, and learn how to get out of their current situation.

Life's mysteries and doubts can often be solved by reading, as books have the power to teach us how to reconcile with the past, cherish the present, and turn the page towards a brighter future. Join us in this quest by picking up a book today!

Written by Huang Linlin, Long Yuchen

Proofread by Edwin Baak

Edited by Wang Yingmin

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