A steeled silence lingered at my home when I hinted about the Chennai book fair 2010. Nobody really wanted to escort me. When I threatened, I will go and stare at those 600+ stalls endlessly with out returning home, my amma agreed to accompany. I think she agreed, because, to curb me from buying any books. I guess it is quite natural in her position to do so, because only last week, on the account of New Year, I migrated bunch of books from Landmark to my book shelf, So, she is not naturally inclined in me, spending all my money – according to her- on useless books, which otherwise would be safeguarded in the bank locker for matrimony. I digress…Anyway, That’s how I started to Chennai Book fair 2010 at St. George Anglo Indian Hr. Secondary School.
This is my second visit to book fair. The event was well organized. There were around 600+ stalls covering wide range of Tamil historic literatures, Contemporary Novels, Biographies, periodicals, poems, spiritual guides, encyclopedias, dictionaries and many many other writings. Like last time, most of the stalls predominately displayed Tamil works. The legendary Kalki’s work, still, welcomes from each stall’s front shelf. The works of other popular Tamil writers like Sujatha, Jayaganthan,Ramanai chandran, Kannadasan, Vairamuthu and so & so were also displayed at most of the stalls. The prices were pretty okay. But I have very limited knowledge on Tamil authors, so I just passed over them. The problem in buying Tamil novels is that you need to know which publisher publishes the books you are looking for. There are simply too many stalls, and after a point, if you don’t know what you want, you will not get anything except for the headache.
As far as other languages are concerned, I am disappointed. Yes, a decent number of stalls had English novels but nothing extraordinary about the collection. Jane austen, Shakespeare, HG Wells ,Jeffery archer, Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, Robin cook, Nicholas spark, Meg cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Dan brown, Bill Bryson and few more popular authors books, Biographies of Politicians & Business honchos were available in most of the stalls that offered English works. I have seen all these books in Landmark itself. Even the prices were bit higher than landmark. I searched for the book “On Writing by Stephen king” but no luck. “Book World from Bangalore” and “Book point” stalls had quite impressive collection of English novels.
I seriously wish, at least next time, more celebrated Tamil works should be translated to English and available readily for book lovers. It is sad that even Kalki’s already translated works were not widely put up for sale. Similarly, the great works in other languages should be translated to Tamil.
Now coming to what I bought, I was thwarted. I managed to get only two books 1) “Please ! Intha Puthagatha Vaangatheenga” by Vijay TV Gopinath 2) Autobiography of Agatha Christie.
My amma bought some cookery books which I looked at with pristine loath. Seriously one cannot get good number of books, if one’s mother hovers around with Vigil eyes and has her mind setup sharply on Matrimony and culinary. Let the sadness rest inside me and don’t bother the readers. Any way, the sight of thousands of books and the book lovers made my day!