Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 37, Tuesday, February 17, 2004

















book fair

Warm sunshine, low humidity and to top it off it's Friday morning. Everyone is free from work and what better way to spend the time than by visiting the Amar Ekushey Book Fair.

People still like to read despite cable offering 20 different channels all showing women gyrating their hips to some funky song. Maybe that is why people still like to read and the proof lies in the book fair. Scores of people were walking around with bags filed with books and leafing through even more books.

As usual the top selling books are the fictions by famed writers like Humayun Ahmed, Dr Muhammad Zafar Iqbal and Humayun Azad and these are the ones selling like hot cakes. But a lot of people were also buying old classics by Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Islam. There were quite a few different compilations of their literary masterpieces.

Young people were buying collections of their favorite detective titles like Masud Rana and Kuasha. Translations of Sherlock Holmes were also high on the list of top sellers. Other interesting books include an autobiography of Charlie Chaplin and a plethora of joke compilations.

The highest selling items this time around were the children's books mainly because this year there were plenty of new material for children being published. There were more than 30 different titles most of which had large illustrations to attract young readers. Books were available even for the youngest readers. Some of the most interesting books were about tigers, frogs, fish, palm reading etc and these were all designed in the shape of the subject matter. Along with the books there were also t-shirts and stickers on display.

Multimedia presentations also had a place alongside the books. You could find children CDs containing rhymes and stories presented with the help of colorful graphics. Bangla dubbed movies were also on sale. There were popular titles like Titanic, Shrek, and Harry Potter. If the hilarious sounding dubbed television serials are anything to go by then these movies should be a hoot. I looked around for the dubbed version of Matrix but it was nowhere to be found. Just wonder what the Bangla version of all the classic lines would be. How do you translate the scene where Neo talks about "giving the finger"?

Anyway, back to the book fair. Books are not the only attraction at the fair. There was a large crowd at a corner staring at something that could have been anything form a mugging to someone selling AIDS cure. After managing to elbow my way through it turned out to be something more substantial. It was an artist sketching out portraits in less than ten minutes and he was pretty impressive.

There are also venues to talk with different writers and a stage where they hold different types of programs and recitals. Once you are done with the literary matters there is the multitude of food stalls selling the best fuchka around. In fact, it becomes a pretty good place for couples to visit as the majority of the visitors were in pairs. Speaking of couples, single people might like to address a bit of caution as going after girls could lead to a bit of blood letting thanks to boyfriends. If in the mood to donate blood there are a couple of blood banks set up for just that purpose. Don't spill it on the ground for no reason. .

There is a bit too much dust this time around with a lot of the sales people looking like bandits with handkerchiefs tied over their mouth and nose. Don't be fooled by their bandit-like guises; they are not robbing the customers at all considering that the books are quite decently priced.

It's open on weekdays from 2:00 PM to 8:00 and starts from 11:00 AM on weekends. Don't miss out.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Photo: Zahedul I Khan













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