One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez is among the most-lent foreign books. (Photo provided to China Daily)
University libraries' data indicate foreign books, especially novels, have become extremely popular among Chinese university students in recent years.
Eight of the 10 books most frequently borrowed from Zhejiang Gongshang University's library in 2017, for example, are by overseas authors.
Writers from abroad also account for a majority of the 10 most frequently borrowed books from the library of Zhejiang province's Jiliang University.
Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini are among the foreign authors most frequently read by Chinese students.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez ranked seventh on the prestigious Tsinghua University's lending list. Khaled Hosseini's 2003 bestselling novel The Kite Runner ranked ninth.
Some classic foreign novels, such as The Moon and Sixpence by English writer William Somerset Maugham, remain popular among Chinese students.
Students cite different reasons for their appetites for foreign novels.
Some enjoy the fast pace, emphasis on detail, strong logic and rich imagination. Many wish to learn about foreign societies.
Chen Yannan, a senior at Southwest Minzu University in Sichuan province's capital, Chengdu, is a fan of French author Marguerite Duras, among other foreign writers.
"I love her work because the women in her novels, although weak and helpless in the eyes of common people, have strong minds and are charming in their individual ways," Chen explains.
She adds that she enjoys Duras' style of fusing poetry, prose and narrative.
Some science-related books by foreign authors, such as Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, are also high on the university libraries' lending lists.