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Wednesday, November 18

Bangalore Book Festival 2009

For the first time I was on the other side of the table in a book festival and it turned out to be a lot of fun. The feeling when somebody finally, after a lot of deliberation picks up a book and says that he wants to buy it, the whole money exchange ritual which happens after that, seeing people find something to smile about or laugh at in one of the books - all of them make it worth while to sit jobless behind the counter for hours.

So while as an exhibitor I quite enjoyed it, I don't think it was particularly great for a real book lover. There was nothing that you could not find in the few book shops around Church Street, it was choke full of religious stalls and despite the tall claims, almost all major Indian publishers were absent - Rupa, Harper Collins, Random Hous e, Hachette India, Westland, Rajpal being the once who come to mind. I remember seeing Katha stall also but even they were missing this time. So at the end of it all, you end up in the same old stalls - Blossoms, Select Book Shop, Bookworm etc and pickup some volumes at a little extra discount.

And I also ended up doing the same. This year we bought only 7 books - as compared to 27 last year - primary reason being the guilt of all the unread books that are piling up in our house and secondary being the lack of time to explore. The 7 books are:
  • The Life and Times of Pratapa Mudaliar. Original in Tamil by Mayuram Vedanayakam Pillai. Translated by Meenakshi Tyagarajan. Katha.
  • Katha Prize Stories Volume 3. (Storied published between 1991-93)
  • India's Unending Journey by Mark Tully.
  • An Illustrated History of Transportation by Anthony Ridley
  • How to Self-Edit by Dianne Bates. Emerald Publishers.
  • A Practical Key to the Kannada Language by Rev. F. Ziegler. Reprint by Asian Educational Services
  • Scar Tissue - 8 lives, 8 young women. Edited by Nikhat Grewal. Women Unlimited.
As you can see, my love for history & collections continues. We also almost bought the full set of "Mahasamar" by Narendra Kohli - the awesome retelling of the epic Mahabharata. But the price tag of Rs. 2500/- proved to be too steep. We already have the first 2 books which we found in Reliance Timeout. Hunt is on for the remaining ones!

People tell me that Delhi and Kolkata book fairs are better in the sense they are bigger and you can find almost anything you are looking for. Let's see when I get a chance to go to one of them.

So what was your impression of the Bangalore Book Festival 2009?