Friday, February 6, 2009

Kolkata Book Fair ( Jan 27 to Feb 9 )

Kolkata Book Fair, Asia's largest book fair, and the most attended book fair in the world - about 2 million visitors- has shifted its venue to Milan Mela ground this year. The venue - way too distant from the centre of the city - is conspicuous by its lack of structure. It does not have any transformer for proper arrangements of elctricity or any water supply system, let alone any adequate fire-fighting measures.

I've been so put off by the venue and its lack of structure that I've decided not to visit it this year. Oh, I remember I didn't visit last year's book fair even. Actually, I have never been a book fair regular.

But I've some happy memories when the book fair was held in ever-green Maidan. One of my favourite haunts was the Bangladesh section of the fair. I visited the Bangladesh Publishers' stalls with sharp eye on new titles by authors across the border. On one occasion, I remember I bought complete works of Syed Waliullah. On another occasion, I was frantically looking for a new title by Hasan Azizul Huq, but most stalls were selling crappy bestsellers by Bangladeshi authors. At long last I got the book in a small stall.

Yet another lingering memory is that of Subimal Misra, the anti-establshment fictioneer, selling his books under a big and colourful umbrella with placrds requesting audiences to read anti-establishment writers and writing.

Last time I visted the book fair at Maidan, I bought a translated copy of Don Quixote, and a novel by Henry James. But both were awful, the first one for bad rendering, and I never got around to reading those two books.

No comments:

Search This Blog

My Blog List