The Ekushey Book Fair every February is an occasion to celebrate the written word. The excitement associated with opening a new book is known to all book lovers. When it is complemented with festivity and love for language, the pleasure of buying new books becomes even more acute.
The arrival of thousands of new books every year is a testament to the power of books, even when the act of reading seems to be diminishing in a world that is increasingly falling under the grip of visual media. Ekushey Book Fair plays a big part in preserving the culture of reading in Bangladesh. This year, the fair again brought all Bengali writers and publishers together, acting as a sanctuary for every type of writer and writing that exist under the sun. From instructional books on outsourcing businesses to pocket books of jokes, from translations of Homer to satire fiction on computer programming, and everything else in between – all of it can be found within the boundaries of the Ekushey fair for the entire month of February.
For this issue, we take you through some of the new books that have been released in the fair so far.
Bedana Gacher Chaya by Tariq Ali, translation by Rashid Harun
Translated from Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree
, this book has been published by Kagoj Prokashoni. Tariq Ali, the renowned leftist political writer from the UK, is perhaps more known for his political analysis and activism than writing fiction. But Shadows of a the Pomegranate Tree
is among his five fictions that were written based on the Islamic world or historic personalities.
Bedana Gacher Chaya
is set in Muslim Spain. First published in 1994, the book garnered enthusiastic reviews and continues to be read worldwide. Rashid Harun's translation now provides readers the opportunity to read the book in Bengali for the first time.
Ousmane Sembène Er Cholochitro Hala by Bidhan Riberu
This is the first book in Bangla on the acclaimed Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène and his films. Published by Katha Prokashoni, the book features a biography of Ousmane Sembène, a translation of an analytical essay on Sembène's famous film Xala
, and an interview of the filmmaker. There is also an article on the history of African cinema. Overall, the book is designed to give Bengali language readers an introduction to the cinematic traditions and history of Africa.
Cine-loid by Arif Mahmud and Ayman Asib Shadhin
Published by Chaitanno Prokashoni, in Cine-loid
the writers try to present an overall picture of world cinema within the span of 104 pages. An interesting and valuable addition in any language, the book is particularly relevant because of a lack of contemporary books on the subject. The writers included all genres and styles in their discussion, exploring Satyajit Ray to Tarantino, Bergman to Alamgir Kabir with ease.
Roktojobader Keu Bhalobasheni by Mouli Azad
Mouli Azad's book contains one long story where the author tells the story of a group of 'roktojoba' (a Hibiscus flower). Who are these 'roktojoba' and what is the melancholy that surrounds them? The writer answers the questions through the characters in the book. The conniving and greedy characters in the book struggle to answer the questions posed by characters like Saleha through whom Mouli Azad channels the spirit of the oppressed and downtrodden.
Barisal Er Bhashar Obhidhan by Muhammad Muhsin
After Dr Muhammad Shahidullah’s voluminous Bangladesher Ancholik Bhashar Obhidhan
, not much has been done in the field of cataloging the various regional dialects prevailing in Bangladesh. Barisal Er Bhashar Obhidhan
(Dictionary of the Dialect of Barisal), compiled by Muhammad Muhsin, is a welcome arrival in that respect. The task of compiling a dictionary is daunting and inevitably grueling. The editor must determine which variant to use, among countless other issues that require solutions in order to put together a coherent collection of words and their meanings. To what extent the work has been successful will be best decided by the academics and ultimately by the readers. Published by Kagoj Prokashoni, the book is available at the publication’s stall at the fair.
Onubhutite Aghater Rajniti O Aunnanno by Bidhan Riberu
Bidhan Riberu wrote about how religion has been used in politics to exploit religious sentiments in his book Shahbag: Rajniti Dhormochetona
. This year, the author’s new book Onubhutite Aghater Rajniti O Aunnanno
expand on the subject in the present context. The book goes beyond national boundaries and politics in order to discuss and analyse international events. The book has been published by Oitijhya.
Cineman by Syed Nazmus Sakib
A masters graduate from Jahangirnagar University, Sakib is known in his campus and in the online sphere for obsessing over cinema and writing about it. In his first book, Cineman,
Sakib writes on the subject of his passion - cinema. The book features life stories of notable actors and actresses and the struggle they faced to get to success. The book has been published by Bhasha Chitra Prokashoni.
Circus Shundori by Salah Uddin Mahmud
Published by Doyel Prokashoni, Circus Shundori
is the first short story book by Salah Uddin Mahmud. Mahmud participated in and won the Sunil Sahitto Puroshkar contest three times since 2006. That stoked his interest in story writing. His first book was published in 2003, and after a long hiatus of about 14 years, Salah Uddin Mahmud is back with his second book this year. The book has 13 short stories, which were written between 2014 to 2016.
Bostuborgo by Mustafiz Karigor
Mustafiz Karigar’s novel Bostuborgo
won the Gemcon Literary Award in 2016. Published by Kagoj Prokashoni at this year’s Ekushey fair, the story tells the tale of a young man who comes to the city and finds himself engulfed in socio-economic problems that leave him stranded, emotionally and physically. Karigor has been praised for successfully using period settings in his story.
Chilte Megh O Kuhukekar Golpo by Binoy Dotto
Published by Chaitanno Prokashoni, this book is a collection of six stories. The stories have been described as ‘small novels’. Human values, affirmation of life, love, awakening and evolving are the recurring themes of the six stories Binoy Dotto has penned in this book. The book is easy-reading because of the author’s expert use of commonplace, day-to-day language.