40th Annual Chennai Book Fair 2017 – A Review
G. Akil Raj, II MA English
Chennai Book Fair or Madras Book Fair is an annual book fair organized in Chennai, India by the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI). With nearly 700 stalls, the book fair was organised from January 6 to January 19 at St. George School on Poonamallee High Road, Chennai. I went to the book fair on 16.01.2017 & 19.01.2017. This essay is a review made by me after visiting the book fair on the above mentioned dates.
For the first time I went to the Chennai Book Fair and it was genuinely a great learning experience. And seeing a book fair in such a grand manner is one of the special attributes that I would personally allude to the Chennai book fair. With 700 stalls from various publishers all throughout the city and also from various other places, Chennai book fair continues to be such a memorable experience. I got to know about various new books that were published and discovered some books that were really new to me.
On 16.01.2017, I got an opportunity to listen to the talks of Kavignar Nellai Jayantha on Vaasippil Irukkirathu Valkai (In Reading is Life) and by Dr. Nellai Subbiah on Magizhchi Manthiram (The Mantra of Happiness). Both the speeches were really inspiring.
Apart from that some notable stalls that I was interested in, was a stall from the British Council, Isha Foundation, Oxford University Press, Jaico publishing House, Alphaland books and many more.
Two ATMs were set up at the site - one just outside the ticket counter, and one inside the hall - to enable people to withdraw cash which is a brilliant idea in this time of the after effects of demonetization.
The books were sold at a discount of 10% in all the stalls, which was a good opportunity for buyers to get the books at a discounted price.
Compared to English books there were a huge number of Tamil publishers, information on whom I got to know through the fair. I was pretty much interested in two of those stalls where the offer was like, 5 books for Rs.250 & 4 novels for Rs. 360. I found these shops quite crowded and I managed to purchase a few books from them too. It is one of these shops where I was able to get the book that I always wanted to read, Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope. Another book that I purchased and would like to mention here is, Inner Engineering by Sadhguru.
The Food Court provided me with a variety of delicious dishes from Indian dishes to Western food. I really liked the Chicken Shawerma and the Dahi Poori. Overall, the Chennai Book Fair is one of its kind. The total ambience of the Fair was absolutely outstanding. I would give the organizers a 4.5/5 scoring for their valuable effort. As Maya Angelou says, “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
I’m very sure that BAPASI has served the purpose of enhancing the reading habit of people.
Looking forward eagerly to the Chennai Book Fair 2018.