Best Books Exhibition is back in the city with stories, art and prizes

With nearly a million titles in 20 different genres, the Best Books Exhibition put up by Turning Point book shop is one of a kind in Madurai. “This is the fourth edition of the expo,” says Preethy, manager at Turning Point. “We have included lots of new arrivals and hot sellers in both English and Tamil. We have concentrated more on children’s books. There are even books for six-month-old babies.”

Books by Geronimo Stilton, Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Harry Potter and colouring and activity books are the hot picks for kids. The expo also features creative educational toys, books, puzzles and interactive games CDs for children. In fiction, adult readers are looking out for the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James, John Grisham’s The Racketeer and Ken Follet’s Winter of the World.

Preethy notes that there are enthusiastic enquiries for Tamil translations of famous English books such as Men Are from Mars and books by Steve Jobs and Robin Sharma. Tamil readers can also look forward to poet Vairamuthu’s Moondram Ulaga Por and Gopinath’s Please Indha Puthakathai Vaangatheergal.

Indian authors are fast moving off the shelves. New arrivals are Chetan Bhagat’s non-fictional What Young India Wants, Ravinder Singh’s I Too Had a Love Story and Can Love Happen Twice, Ashwin Sanghi’s The Krishna’s Key and Ravi Subramanian’s The Bankster. J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and sets of Amar Chitra Katha comics are other additions, and there are a number of self-help books on offer.

Oxford dictionaries, general studies and books for competitive exams are being sold on discount. Attractive special offers are also available. Shoppers who buy Rs.200 worth of books are given a free book and those who spend Rs.1000 are being given a free sapling.

In an art contest conducted by the book shop in memory of its founder Kuppuram on his first death anniversary, over 500 students from various city schools participated and their entries have been put on display at the expo. “We did the contest to promote reading among kids and the response was overwhelming. We have decided to continue this for the coming years,” says Preethy. Overall, the number of buyers has come down, she feels. “Online portals and e-books have impacted book reading.” The entries are being judged by a panel of judges and also by public voting.

The judges included painters K.C. Murukeson, Ramanan and Siva. “Students’ creativity and composition was taken into account in paintings. ‘Waste to wealth’ entries were judged on the idea and concept behind the model,” says K.C. Murukeson.

The paintings by children and ‘waste to wealth’ models are on display for public voting. The first prize for painting went to Ifrah N. (Class I and II), Mateo Sam David (KG) and S. Ranjith Kumar (Class III to V). Winners of the ‘waste to wealth’ contest are J. Nikita (Class VI to VIII) and S. Miralaan (Class IX and X).

The prize distribution ceremony will be held on Sunday (November 25). The exhibition is on at Vijay Mahal in K.K. Nagar till December 2 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.