Friday, January 17, 2014

Chennai : When Chennaites Went Bookaholic

Published: 16th January 2014 07:56 AM
Last Updated: 16th January 2014 08:15 AM

The weekend followed by holidays witnessed multitudes thronging the YMCA grounds in Nandanam to attend the 37th edition of Chennai Book Fair, which was not only a boon for book lovers but also a picnic spot for families. Young and old, flocked in and out of stalls decked with racks of books of all genres.
By all counts, the Chennai Book Fair, a fortnight-long event till January 22, is the biggest of its kind in the State, with creative writers, poets, novelists, authors and critics gracing the occasion.
This time a total of 777 stalls have been set up, of which 435 are earmarked for Tamil, 263 for English, 59 for other forms of media and 20 for sponsors.  The evenings see literary events including book launches accompanied by cultural shows. The organisers, Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) have taken care to make this a hassle-free affair.
 The fair proved to be an occasion for a get-together for readers, nay diehard fans, of popular writers like Jeyamohan, author of the recently released Vellai Yaanai, and S Ramakrishnan. The Fair also had visitors all the way from Nagercoil, Coimbatore and Bangalore.
One of the early visitors was Justice K Chandru (retired), who purchased books ranging from novels to Marxist literature. He also bought the entire works of noted novelist Imayam.
 The fair gave a platform for readers to get their hands on those rare books on their wish-list with ease. “I wanted to read a book desperately but it was not available in my college library,” said CB Rajeshwari, as she proudly showed her latest pick, I am a voice without form by Swami Vivekananda. “I am a self-taught carnatic singer, so I am looking for books that can help develop my skill,” she added.
 Subramaniam Chidambaram, another college student, stood behind the counter attending to enquiring customers at a stall with school books and guides. “We are on pongal holidays so we are here to volunteer,” he said, pointing at two of his friends who were busy helping out a school student. “But we are also hoping to talk to pretty girls,” he added with a grin.
 Meeting girls was a tad difficult for these lads as most young girls preferred to check out works of fiction by Nicholas Sparks, Sidney sheldon and their like. Very few people were unaccompanied and many families were seen roaming the stalls together.
 It was a fun trip for Yamuna Lakshmi, a homemaker, who had come to the fair with her husband, kids and in-laws. “We have bought books for our entire family,” she said, showing her book-laden bag. “We have strictly avoided academic books and my boys have bought books that are otherwise not available at their school,” she added.
 But many others did have school and work in mind. Academics and professionals were among the crowd, browsing scholarly books even as young children poured over colourful books. From the youngest to the learned, all were occupied as there was something for everyone in this bustling fair.
 As a small enticement, all the stalls offered a 10 per cent discount while some went even further for specific books.
Many capitalised on Combo offers that provided value for money.

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