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Updated: 2021-10-14 09:05 ( China Daily )
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Dong Qing (left) interviews Cui Daozhi, a leading crime scene investigator, in CCTV talk show The Reader.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Reader returns with a fresh sense of purpose, Wang Kaihao reports.

"How long has it been since you last read aloud?" It was a question posed to the audience by producers of The Reader when the first season of the literature-themed talk show aired on China Central Television in 2017.

While they hoped it might be the case, the producers probably did not expect the experimental show to go as far as it has-or to make reading fashionable again.

Amid a trend of Chinese reality shows full of amusement and outdoor games, the program, with its soft tone and slow pace, seemed unconventional. Celebrities, who gave the public the general impression that they had little to do with literature, are invited to read aloud their favorite passage from a novel, poem or one of the ancient classics, which echoes their personal stories.

The warmth of the program has been welcomed by audiences. On Douban, China's major film and TV review website, the first two seasons of the program respectively garnered a rating of 8.6 and 9.1 points out of a total 10, putting the show among the most highly acclaimed culture-themed TV shows in recent years.

In September, The Reader finally returned with a third season after a three-year hiatus. Perhaps, COVID-19 and its concomitant complexity of human emotions has provided more reasons for people to reflect and look for solace among the pages of a book.

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