LIFE

A book lovers' feast

Plenty to choose from.

Plenty to choose from.  

THE CITY is converging at Ernakulathappan grounds these days. For, the sixth edition of the International Book Fair is the most happening thing in the city.

"This time we have about 150 publishers attending the fair,'' says E. N. Nandakumar, general convenor of the committee, as he takes a break from the hectic time he has at the Book Fair office.

No wonder, it takes one at least a couple of hours' to cover the entire exhibition. More, if you are a lover of books. Not because, there are that many new titles being featured exclusively at the fair. Instead, the exhibition will overwhelm you by the sheer number of titles.

It has almost become a habit for most of these participants to return to this city in November. And over all these years, the organisers have fine tuned the show.

As is evident from the way they keep changing the entry point to the exhibition so that none of the exhibitors enjoyed any special advantage in being positioned `conveniently'.

In tune with the previous editions, there are some interesting titles at the exhibition. Like those presented by the Asian Educational Services. They have come with records of history.

So we have titles like British and Native Cochin by Lawson C. A. and History of Hyder Shah Alias Hyder Ali Khan Bahadur and his son Tipoo. They stand out like leaves extracted from the past.

Curious youngsters

Curious youngsters  

Coming down to recent past, there are books on about figures like J. Krishnamurti, represented in this year's festival by the Chennai-based Krishnamurti Foundation of India.

Not only is the Foundation offering titles like Freedom from the Known, Beyond Violence and the First and Last Freedom at subsidized prices, but also books are being offered free along with sets of audio cassettes of Krishnamurti's lectures.

One other title that remains outside the most sought-after list is perhaps "Playwrights at Work'', a collection of interviews published by The Paris Review. The collection features almost all prominent modern playwrights.

The Paris Review have already published Women Writers at Work and Beat Writers at Work. "We are waiting for their next title, Latin American Writers at Work,'' says T. R. Premkumar, manager of DC Books.

While the majority of visitors to the exhibition grounds walk out virtually empty handed, the exhibitors are pinning their hopes on bulk orders from school and college libraries.

"We had interacted with all schools and colleges in the district well in advance. About 17 schools in the city participated in a meeting convened by the DEO and there was our Akshara vilambara rally. All this have created a good response among the libraries,'' says Mr. Nandakumar.

The message to be learnt from this festival could be that the reading habit has vanished from our homes, while books are safe in libraries. And festivals like these are time to make amends.

By Anand Haridas

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