History a big draw at the book fair

Greater choice in Tamil a reason, say booksellers

Updated - January 18, 2019 07:31 am IST

Published - January 18, 2019 01:23 am IST - CHENNAI

Visitors at the book fair in Chennai.

Visitors at the book fair in Chennai.

At the 42nd Chennai Book Fair, history seems to be a big draw. Apart from historical novels which continue to attract people of all ages, books documenting world and Indian history as well as political revolutions are being lapped up by visitors, the organisers said.

At the stall by Vanavil Publications, Tamil books Unavu Sarithiram , Hindutva Iyakkam Varalaaru and Payanam Sarithiram are stacked near the entrance.

“Many of these books in Tamil have been well researched and go beyond talking about what we have learnt from history books or the internet. Wars have been started because of food, how food has evolved beyond the ages and delving into the journeys of explorers and kings — people are interested in this and more,” said V. Rajesh, who has been managing the stall.

Krupa Lakshmi, a visitor to the fair, said that the availability of books detailing world history in Tamil has increased. “Even as far as Indian history is concerned, many Tamil authors have been writing perspectives on historical figures which are interesting to read,” she said.

Increased exposure

“While we’ve always had people come year after year and purchase books such as Ponniyin Selvan , this year there has been a lot of demand for autobiographies as well as non-fiction. College students and young readers also want to delve deep into history of political movements and the writings of Periyar, B.R. Ambedkar and Karl Marx translated into Tamil are popular among them,” said Veera Balan, who runs Munnetram Publications. He further said the increase in exposure to politics as well as topics such as the excavation in Keezhadi through the media has gotten people more interested.

Organised by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), the fair is on till January 20. On Thursday, several people were seen making a beeline for the fair on account of the Kaanum Pongal .

A.R. Venkatachalam, secretary, BAPASI said they estimated nearly 8 lakh visitors would visit the book fair.

“Owing to the holidays now, several families and students have been able to come to the fair. Books for competitive exams continue to be immensely popular among the large student crowd and we have several stalls dedicated to them alone,” he said.

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