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     Volume 8 Issue 59 | February 27, 2009 |

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Ekushey Grantha Mela

Picks from the Boi Mela

Elita Karim

The last week at the Boi Mela was thronging with more people than expected. Many had, at last, finalised a list of books to buy at the book fair. Book lovers of all ages were seen fishing out book lists from their pockets and bags and moving from one publishing house to another. While some were still in their school uniforms along with their school bags, others had clearly taken an early leave from their workplaces.

This year, the Bangla Academy dedicated three days to children and families February 6, 7 and 27. New sets of adventure stories, science fiction, horror tales and children's poetry became extremely popular with young children. Disabled children were not left behind. Poet / Writer Nazia Jabeen brought out a poetry book for children with impaired vision, 'Chorar Taale Monta Dole' from the Bangladesh Blind Mission. While a group of children were waiting patiently for the fresh copies of 'Motku Mamar Goyenda Abhijan' by Anisul Haq from Mizan Publications, Pathsutro Publications were almost run out of Selina Hossain's 'Muktijoddhara', a book on the Liberation War.

Plenty of work of young writers hit the bookstalls this year. A few popular novels included 'Baundule 8' by Sumanta Islam from Pearl Publications, 'Ashomotol' by Opala Haider from Barshadupur, 'Ek Chokhu Rakhosh' by Maruf Rahman from Shubhro Publications and many more. Poetry lovers were seen waiting eagerly for 'Anik Khaner Chhorar Boi' by Anik Khan from Barshadupur, 'Parke Nirjon Benchir Khoje' by Foyez Reza from Annesha Publications and 'Porikhamulok Bhalobasha' by Palash Mahbub by Pathsutro.

The younger crowd was on the lookout for science fiction and not to mention moving tales of passion and poetry. Those infatuated with space and beyond were seen lining up by Mizan Publications for Ali Imam's 'Mohashunnyajan: Shanta Maria'. Mohammed Jafar Iqbal's 'Icarus' from Somoy Publications became extremely popular with not only the youngsters, but also older readers. Based on the mythological creature Icarus, Iqbal creates the character of Bulbul, a boy born with wings because of experiments done on genes of animals, birds and human beings.

Many publishing firms brought out fresh essays, discussions, stories not to mention reprints of famous books written at the wake of independence of Bangladesh by well-known writers and thinkers, which had shaken up readers more than thirty years ago. Two such books are 'Kutirbashi Rabindranath' by Moitree Debi and 'Roktatto Bangla' written by several thinkers--Ahmed Safa, Shawkat Osman, Dr. Anisuzzaman, Shatten Sen, Shantosh Gupto, Jahir Raihan, Ranesh Das Gupto, ramendu Majumdar and many more. Muktadhara Publications launched both the books. Several books on the Liberation War also attracted many readers, such as 'Bangabandhu O Tajuddin' by Aamir Hussain from Adorn Publications, 'Muktijiddho Pothe Pothe' by Rabindro Gope from Mizan and a small publication from Protiti called the 'Muktijuddher Itihash' by Mohammed Jafar Iqbal. This year, Shyk Siraj also brought out a book on agriculture called 'Matir Kache Manusher Kache' from Mowla Brothers.

This year, as every year, Humayan Ahmed undoubtedly clinched the 'Most Popular Author Award' thanks to his yet another tale of the 'Himu' clad in yellow from Annesha. However, many seemed to appreciate his autobiographical 'Ballpoint' instead, from Annya Prakash. Ahsan Habib surprised his fans with a book, 'Tumi', which was written and compiled years ago. Barshadupur brought it out this year. Syed Shamsul Haque's 'Bini Poyshar Neel Golpo' from Ittyadi and 'Bristy O Bidrohigon' from Annesha were selling like hotcakes at one point in the fair. Selina Hussain's 'Abelar Dinkhan' from Annesha, 'Poralalneel' by Rashida Sultana from Mowla Brothers, 'Naribadi Golpo' by Purobi Basu from Ittyadi and 'Kaleidoscope' by Shonali Islam from Somoy created waves also. While Purobi Basu writes about women and the thousands of lessons that they learn from a very young age in their very own homes, Shonali Islam writes about growing up in a patriarchal society. Imdadul Haque Milon also became popular with his readers, especially with his 'Phele Aasha Laal Golap' from Annya Prakash.

The books can be found in bookstores located in Dhanmondi, Shahbaag and Bangla Bazaar.

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