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Bangla Books 2009:
A quick look at the bestsellers

THE book market in Bangladesh is centred on the Ekushey Book Fair. Except for February we seldom get any new books in the market. So when we talk about the most significant Bangla books of the year we certainly point at the best sellers in the Fair. But that tends to give the wrong idea, most of the times. Every publication attaches the bestseller tags on the books they themselves published, in the leaflets and the newspaper adverts. But veterans easily understand: the bestselling authors belong to a certain group, a certain family actually. Here are the noteworthy Bangla books of 2009 (age group 13-20):

1. Himur Moddhodupur: Humayun Ahmed is an enigmatic figure in the history of Bangladeshi literature. No matter what he produces every year, it never fails to draw public to it. During the past few years his pattern has been the same: one novel of Himu, one of Misir Ali, and maybe two more novels. Some two years ago a survey was conducted by a leading daily newspaper. Among many things it covered, one was the most popular character in Literature. The one coming out on top was Himu, an outstanding creation of Mr. Ahmed. Himu deals in anti-logic and dishes the daily life in a humorous perspective. Novels in this series have always sold like hot cakes. But the setting of the story is hardly any different from the previous years. It follows the same old pattern, but the story telling is entertaining nonetheless. Perhaps the way of narration and perspective of life of Himu are the ones that bring readers in flock over the bookstalls. It's definitely a good read. But if you are worried about not reading the previous instalments, I can say this to you: they bear very little resemblance with each other, as the author himself says, “Every Himu is different.”

2. Misir Ali Apni Kothay: the character that came out second in the aforementioned survey is none other than Misir Ali, another mysterious creation of Mr. Ahmed. Novels centred on him are also very popular. He is a firm believer of logic and always tries to explain things with them. But the most common scenario in these novels is the existence of illogical things. This book is no different. After reading the whole book yours truly could not find the reason of such naming. Oh well, most of the Humayun Ahmed books are like this. But Mr. Ahmed's fascinating way of commentary keeps the readers enticed to the novel till the very end. And the blend of mystery, horror, and humour makes the read worthwhile.

3. Icarus: Boimela is, as they say, quite incomplete without Muhammad Zafar Iqbal's fresh new releases. The master writer's gift to the readers in 2009 was Icarus, the tale of a winged young man. The story explores an interesting mix of science fiction and fantasy as ordinary people find themselves faced with events that are as bizarre as they are extraordinary. A touch of mythology, a pinch of sci-fi action and a truckload of feel-good-inside storytelling- here's one of the best sellers of 2009.

4.Danob: A different flavour from Muhammad Zafar Iqbal again. Danob deals with almost the same devil-worshipping theme he used in Pishachini, albeit with a dramatic twist. It's a classic tale of good Vs evil, complete with supernatural power play and spooky storytelling. An overall fun read and a definite page-turner.

5.Ghorjamai: Before and after the Fair, the book that got most publicity for being the supposedly best seller was this one. All the adverts said the same thing: it is so funny, soooo funny that you are supposed to have died from laughing. Well one of us sort of died, laughing yes, but not because of the humour of the story; because of the quality of writing. If we had our way, we could have asked everyone not to read this book, but as said earlier it is a supposedly best seller. You can give it a try. Your choice.

By Jawad and Raisa

DIY: Reader's Companion

A bookmark is an important accessory to an ardent fan of reading, and quite hard to find to one's liking.

So here's a neat idea for a bookmark that you can make at home, and change to fit your individual style.

Cardboard sheet
Colored paper
Paper clips

1. Cut out a shape from the cardboard. The shape can be anything from flowers to dragons, but keep in mind that it must be small enough to fit into a book.

2. Cut out pieces of coloured paper of the same shape as the cardboard piece and draw designs on them with markers and/or add embellishments

Note: the embellishments should not have raised surfaces;
they will dent the pages.

3. Glue the coloured paper onto the cardboard piece.

4. Apply glue at the bottom of the cardboard piece and press down a paper clip with the clip side facing down.

5. Leave it aside until the glue dries.

Your bookmark is now finished and you can clip it to the pages of your book where it can peek out, showing the right page.

You can also add something to the bookmark:

6. Punch a hole into the bookmark and pull 1-2 coloured ribbons through the hole.

7. Tie a knot with the hanging pieces of the ribbons to secure them to the cardboard piece. The ribbons must be long enough to trail outside the book, leaving a mark for the right page.

Happy reading!

By Tanzia Amreen Haq



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