Havant MP Alan Mak has thrown down a literary gauntlet – to get everyone to read a book by the end of this month.
As part of Bookshop Day last Saturday he visited two independent bookshops on his patch.
The visits were part of the national Books Are My Bag (Bamb) campaign, with booksellers all over the country celebrating the role bookshops play in the community.
Mr Mak dropped in to Bookends at Emsworth and The Hayling Island Bookshop – and backed the role they play in encouraging reading.
Bamb is a nationwide campaign, endorsed by publishers, retailers and authors to celebrate high street bookshops, which collectively sold 108 million books in 2015.
The MP said he was a strong supporter of getting more people reading, and backed the Bamb campaign.
Mr Mak said: ‘I encourage everyone to visit their local bookshop. We are incredibly lucky to have two excellent independent stores in the constituency. They are successful businesses and great community hubs.
‘Bookshops remain the best way to discover new books and I am delighted to get behind such an excellent campaign.’
He added: ‘Local bookshops have seen a resurgence in recent years. Books broaden our horizons and help us become more socially engaged. From my experience as a school governor, I know children especially benefit from regularly reading at home, so I hope parents and carers will join me in backing our local bookshops.’
The Bamb campaign is running throughout October with celebrations, events and promotions in bookshops.
Marie Telford, of The Hayling Island Bookshop said: ‘It was great to welcome Alan to our shop again. We will be working in schools for the next month to try to boost reading among children, as reading has been shown to be good for your health.
‘We’ll welcome everyone down to the bookshop during the rest of the month to have a browse and celebrate in our shared love of books.’