Have a look at the Books I bought @ Chennai Book Fair, 2013

  1. Then Kizhakku Asia (South East Asia in Tamil) – Ram Velayudham and Ramalakshmi
  2. Naatukku Uzhaitha Nallavar – Veerapandiya Kattabomman
  3. Naatukku Uzhaitha Nallavar – V O Chidambaram Pillai
  4. Naatukku Uzhaitha Nallavar – Shivaji
  5. Naatukku Uzhaitha Nallavar – Visveswaraiah
  6. Naatukku Uzhaitha Nallavar – Jaya Prakash Narayanan
  7. The Classical Age of The Tamils – Arokiaswami
  8. Tourism and Development in South and South East Asia – Manivasagan.

The last two books (7,8) is published by University of Madras (in English). The first six books is published by Palaniappa Brothers (in Tamil).

These are the books I bought at the Chennai book fair, 2013 held at Nandanam Island grounds (YMCA campus) 🙂 As you might know, every year this *grand and huge* book fair is held for two weeks at Chennai, during the Pongal season. The book fair ends on Jan 23 (tomorrow) and I managed to go there one day before!

I have been going to this exhibition almost every year (save one or two) for the last 15 years (almost). Generally, I go there to buy some English books (mostly non-fiction). But this year, I went there specifically to buy Tamil books. Of course, I know to read/write Tamil, but I have not been reading Tamil books in the recent years.

The options available for Tamil books is really mind-boggling. All these years, I used to think that there was not enough variety to choose from, and I didn’t always get the book I wanted (in English). I now realize what a mistake it was. I should have looked for the topics I wanted, in Tamil. I not only got all the books I wanted this year, but I got some additional titles that I was futilely looking for (in English).

Looks like almost every (major) English book is being translated into Tamil, these days. The number of original Tamil books on TN & India, is *highly impressive*. I guess, Tamil novel lovers would find it a treat, but for non-fiction lovers like me also, it wasn’t any less! Even the couple of English books I bought, one about Tamil Sangam Period(!) and the other about Tourism, have been published by the University of Madras.

The book fair, as usual, has been organized very well. But I prefer the old venue in P.H. Road, because that was closer to home! 🙂 The food was, a bit costly (as expected), but good. I relished the sundal, kulfi, tea, samosa & juice, in addition to the veg. biriyani 🙂

The only issue I have (every year) is – There is no space to sit/relax inside the book stall venue. And the tickets are session based, once you enter they tear it. If they can arrange some chairs inside (along the corner), people can sit, relax, browse for some more time and buy more books. Or they can give tickets valid for one day. Simple tricks, but they keep missing it every year!

Thankfully, my legs pained *so much* after browsing the first five rows. There were at least 12-14 more! Not sure, didn’t count. If I had covered the entire book fair, I would have bought many more! Money saved 😛

One more good thing about this years fair is, they don’t allow plastic covers. So, book shop owners gave us thin cloth bags to carry books. I think it’s a good initiative. The second-hand book shops were also there (opposite the venue). I bought a 2000 Issue of National Geographic magazine because it had an excellent article on Indus Valley Civilization. They even had a 1985 issue of this magazine!! Talk about rare books!

Altogether, this year’s book fair was very fulfilling to me 🙂 Going by the number of people visiting this book fair *LOTS*, every city should have one. Have you had any memorable experiences with book fairs?

Destination Infinity

Photo: Destination8Infinity. Photo published under this creative commons license.

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33 Replies to “Have a look at the Books I bought @ Chennai Book Fair, 2013”

    1. Yes, all the books are non-fiction. That’s what I read these days.

      I wanted to write articles on some inspirational people, but I never found enough information on the net (Wiki, etc). That’s why I was searching for mini-books on them in English, but finally got them in Tamil. These books are small biographies on –

      Veerapandiya Kattabomman, VO Chidambaram Pillai (Freedom fighters from TN), Veer Shivaji (Maratha ruler), Visveswaraiah (Deevan, Bglore/Mysore), Jaya Prakash Narayan (National leader). There is another book in Tamil, on the history of South East Asia from 1800 – 1966.

      Destination Infinity

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        Destination Infinity

  1. I used to buy books at this fair, except last and this year as I have some books unread. My dad complain similar to yours standing for long time and searching the books I wanted.
    Definitely these are books worth reading and learning. I hope u take more history classes after reading those books 🙂

  2. I used to go with my sons every year to these book fairs. The interest is lost now. I wanted to go this year to buy some good books of Vikatan publications like Raju Murugan’s and Ramakrishnan’s series which came in Vikatan. I used to buy Sujatha’s story books earlier at the fairs. He had written non-fiction books also.

    Let us know which books you liked in Tamil.

    1. I didn’t know about Sujata’s Non-fiction books. I thought he writes only fiction. People suggested me to buy his books to get a good idea on the Tamil Sangam period, but I don’t want to read stories. So, I went for whatever non-fiction book was available on the topic.

      Destination Infinity

      1. Sujatha is a very good writer. I remember reading about computer in my school days in one of his series in Kalki. I learnt about binary language etc. from this series – thodar. It was like a story. If it was like a documentary nobody would have read it in those days when no one knew about computers. He was too good in whichever subject he wrote.

        His ‘Thirukkural pozhippurai’ also is very interesting! Have you read Karunanidhi’s ‘thirukkural pozhippurai’? He had explained with small interesting stories! I like him for his Tamil knowledge…otherwise, NO!

      2. I do agree that stories make people understand difficult-to-understand concepts better. It makes reading more interesting too. Most of these books are stories too, only they are real! But now I am at a stage where I am comfortable with reading serious non-fiction (but slowly).

        I will buy Sujata’s non-fiction works during the next book fair 🙂 And no, I am not familiar with any of MK’s works.

        Destination Infinity

    1. I too don’t read much in Tamil these days, but since the topics I want are available in Tamil, I might as well read it. It helps me not to forget a language I know quite well!

      Destination Infinity

    1. Getting space to sit and read from within stalls is a luxury. I would like that, but with the kind of crowd they get, it might be very difficult.

      Destination Infinity

  3. I like reading books in Tamil too, but not novels or stories. Non fiction is my preferred genre in Tamil and even English, now. Of course, I am partial to children’s books in English, nothing more, unless it is an off-beat work of fiction. Book fairs in Delhi are more about the food courts and picnicking since it is at the end of winter. So except for serious book lovers and those in the industry and profession of publishing, it is one big mela. There is huge crowd in the educational toys section too. Kids mostly amble around disinterestedly behind their parents who are in a hurry to get it over with before they relax over a plate of paneer pakora 😀

    1. No. It is Vishveshwaraiah, the famous Deewan of Mysore state who brought so much development to that region. A book on C V Raman was also there, but I didn’t buy it because it’s easier to read scientific concepts in English.

      Destination Infinity

  4. Wow! I cannot read Tamizh. Would love to know more about what you read and your experiences. I do read books in Kannada and totally enjoy some poetry and works of fiction and non-fiction in the same.
    However, even though I can read Hindi, I haven’t read any novel in that language. hmmmm, your post inspires me to catch up on non-english books 🙂

    Book fairs are held here 3-4 times a year and it is a lot of fun to get coffee table books for cheaper rates (coz otherwise they always burn a big hole in the pocket). I also buy other acclaimed works during this time mainly because I get hardbacks on discount. But the sheer experience of browsing and smelling endless books gives an immeasurable high! 🙂

    1. Here the discount is less – 10-15%. But then the books are already inexpensive, so nothing to complain. It’s same with Hindi for me as well. I can read, but I can’t read novels/books in that language. However, I can watch Hindi movies 🙂

      One regret I have is, even though I can speak Telugu (my mother tongue), I can’t read any substantial text in that language (I can, but I may take one hour to read one page!). I need to re-learn the alphabets and get better at reading Telugu sometime…..

      Destination Infinity

    1. We get only 10-15% discount here. But the prices of Tamil books are already low, so it’s ok… I would rather buy English books online where we get much better discounts.

      Destination Infinity

  5. Apart from selling books, the fair has a wide range of events, ranging from a drawing competition to cultural events adding fun to the fair. Bapasi has planned for debates and discussions on all days at 6 pm, for which the organisation has invited eminent speakers and leaders to address visitors.

    1. Yes, I have seen some of the events in previous book fairs. But this time, I missed them. There are so many chairs in front of the events dais and that helps us to relax a bit! 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  6. In my childhood, Russian book fairs used to come to town and I simple loved them I have got so many Russian books still! I love book fairs!

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