I Love My Books.
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair was held in Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi till the 2nd of April. The country of focus was the United Kingdom, thus, increasing the number of English titles prominently at the book fair. There was no entry fee.
I’m a book lover. Till a few weeks back I only read for pleasure. Crime stories, mysteries, Sci fi dominated my list of to buy books. My opinion towards inspiring and enlightening books has been revised over the period of the past few weeks. I have started realizing the importance of real Literature. Though I like books which are off the hook and cheerful, there are books which cater to all my needs. Robin Sharma and Paul Coelho have started entering my reads.
I attended the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair with a friend on the 1st of April. We attended the Centre to find a sparse crowd and an abundance of choice. We were at first, not very impressed at sight. I really expected the same events to occur that have been recurring in the past few editions of the book fair. Mostly foreign titles, stampede like crowd and a disappointed return. This year I can whole heartedly say, I enjoyed the book fair. I enjoyed skimming over the titles and getting my feet sore (the hall is HUGE). We arrived at the book fair during the early afternoon on a working day which resulted in the emptiness of the hall. Why is the word International made prominent? The book fair does not deserve it. Having almost all the Arab Gulf states down to the fair does not make you international. They don’t even have proper representation from the publishers of the Universal Language, English. If they would like to promote Arabic Literature do remove the word International. God knows, how many people hoping to attend a truly International book Fair were disappointed. I am happy that you have tried to increase the representation of Western authors and publishers but there is still a long road to follow. Another reason why I am over the moon is the sudden but appreciated increase in Indian publishers. Two of the three books which I bought were from the Indian Publishers Side. Indian Publishers have a knack of selling books at throwaway prices. If what I pay in the UAE to get a copy of a book is compared to India, it’s a far cry. What I pay in the UAE is of double value than what I pay in India. Another area of the book fair which needs work is the publishers invited. It would be excellent if well-known English language publishers were invited. It would just make me happier if Interviews with well-known Authors were conducted. I was extremely happy to know about the introduction of “book vending machines” in and around the Abu Dhabi City. A very welcome change.
The part of the book fair I loved the most was the coupon system. Each student of any private school in Abu Dhabi was handed a coupon of face value AED 30 at no terms or conditions. My friend and I had a meager budget and the coupon was a life saver. It was the random words of a book seller that got us the coupons which we first thought were for selected people and were not for the general public. A book seller seeing our state enquired if we had withdrawn our coupons. In a confused stage we answered no. Trying to help us he directed us to the coupon withdrawal area which nearly doubled my spending allowance. Thumbs up to the Good Samaritan.
Among the titles we bought include Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, Shoaib Akhtars Biography Controversially Yours and Percy Jackson The Ultimate Guide. The Percy Jackson book was bought in order to gift it to friend as a Birthday Present.
I now stay mesmerized with Paul Coelho, investigating Agatha Christie, pondering on Dan Brown, inspired by Robin Sharma and still loving my books more than ever.