Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finding Books

One another year entered in our life (Yes, I realized it little late, dumb me!), this new year is little more emphasized than last few as a new decade started with the year 2011. As a child e.g. in 1988 or so, I always used to wonder how it will be when the year will be 2000, I used to wonder how my life would be and used to imagine a lot of things, like how this world will change? Now 10 years after 2000, I wonder how it changed so fast so much, mobile phones, computers, so many television channels and finally we did not have internet. Now I wonder how did we live? Some young friends ask me  how did I manage to fall in love without a mobile phone? "Your life must be so boring without internet, without new mobile ring tones, without funny apps to play with, without Face book, without twitter!"exclaims some other.

Humm..that's true, only thing we had were one television channel with no specific hours dedicated to children or young adults, we did not have any thing else, we had lots of time in summer, autumn or winter vacations and we did not know what to do with that time, no our parents rarely asked us to book a coaching class or a computer course or a sports coaching, they did not have that much money either. We could therefore go to friend's houses and chat. Sometimes we used to rent video cassette player  and watch movies, unhindered from advertisements. One other thing we used to have were books although quite limited if we look into today's scenario,  but we had more time to read.  Swapping books and magazine during school vacations with friends and borrowing them from nearby library or buying them occasionally after lots of discussions with parents consisted a big part in our childhood.

I have tried to instill reading habit in 'J' from the time she could sit and luckily amidst of all other distractions like television, DVDs and you tubes she is finding  interest in books. While living outside India finding books of different genre and interests was not difficult as every small town out there,
is laced with small but very enriched libraries. There were bookshops, second hand bookshops, penny fairs at schools and neighborhood and friend circles where you can always find new kinds of books which interests you.

After coming back to India one thing I am rigorously missing is a library, also the bookshops are flooded with books but the choices are pro business than being pro interests. Children books section mainly consists of popular Enid Blyton books along with Indian mythological books and some encyclopedias and rarely some translated books from Indian languages, although puffin books are doing great works on this. Books in Indian languages are hard to get at even high profile book superstores. There might be some hidden small bookshops containing diverse kinds of books in Indian languages, but I still need to figure them out in the city I am living.

Recently a visit from a bookworm friend of mine who has also traveled in different continents and have recently returned to India showed her alarming concern of how children of India are weaning out of reading habit. She is also trying her best to expose her little girl to diverse literature available out there.

We both felt that it becomes difficult to find a book just as an individual effort, specially if you are living in a book 'not loving' environment. So we decided that we will share the resources whenever we will find any link, online store or a way to acquire interesting books of  labels, topics or authors unknown to we the Indian audience. The choice will be not only for English children literature but also Hindi and Bengali (as we both are Bengali) and Translated works of Indian Authors. 

Then I thought why not share the whole concept to my readers, and I know there are so many other parents who belong to proud bookworm category and would like to develop some more bookworms in their families.

With this motivation in mind I am creating a page called "Bookworm", where I will keep adding any piece I write regarding links for book reading, book reviews and blogs on book reviews or sources to buy interesting books.

You can put your add-on as comments.
I guess a considerable resource will be build with time.

Here are some links for now;

Amazon; has proved to be immensely popular to get books from all over the world.

Flipkart; Indian version of Amazon, although their bullet point is books, they have very good system of selling books through online clicking, throughout India. They are also coming up with services for CDs, DVDs, games etc.

Saffron tree 
This is a blog space where regular reviews on children books are written by mothers, who have tried and tested the books with their kids. It is a very good blog I find where books from various sources are considered.
Though it might be difficult to buy the books. Best try can be to try searching them in Amazon for instance.

Few publishers I keep looking for their new and old releases are:

Tulika; Non profit organization, children specific books, but I assure you that the books they publish are different. In India we are used to of comics, mythological and essay type books for kids, some states have children specific magazines, but Tulika is doing absolutely different kind of job.
Only problem is it is difficult to get their books from any bookshop. You need to search or you can directly order them from their website. They provide extensive book reviews and interviews from their authors and illustrators, so even if you cannot touch the books before buying but you can get the feel how the book will be.

Rupa and co; Their children section are also very enriched. Books from Ruskin Bond and so many other authors. Crawling through this website you can get glimpses of how the array of children literature are changing. How the kids of today can swim from the kingdom of lord Rama to the story of their contemporary having a fun day at school.

Penguin Books India; They are one another treasure.
Puffin Books India; is the corner dedicated for children books, I found that they have done great number of translation like of Rabindranath Tagore, Lila Mazumdar, Sukumar Roy and Satyajit Ray. Also they have books by Ruskin Bond, Anita Nair and so on.

Finally that our very own Amar chitrakatha; catering the Indian history, mythologies, fables and several other forms to Indian readers in the form of comics and short stories.  I have always read them in Hindi, but now they are available in English and are still constituting a big space in any book shop of India.

These are the few sites I generally ponder upon when I have time, now on returning to India, I find out books mostly of my interest and then I select some from them which I discuss with 'J' and when 'J' also shows her interest in them then, either I click ( No sorry, 'J's papa) click them from Flipkart, or I keep the names in my mind and then if I find them in the bookshops, then I buy them.

Sometimes I also go to further extents and figure out new ways to find books for us. 'J' has started bringing names of new books or series from her friends or school and that also we discuss before buying. Sometimes I become a ruthless mum and deny her demand for books when they are only about fairies and princesses. They are always asked to keep crying and wait for a prince to come and save them. It is absolutely unreal, from my grandmother's generation I am seeing women believing this, and then getting depressed as it never happens. Problems when raised needs to be solved by us and only us, no one can rescue us from any mess in front of us. Period. There are several such series, I will write about them yet another day.

Till then have a good read, and please keep me informed too is you find a treasure of book.


    Online bookstore based in India. Good selection. Free shipping.

  2. Thank you very much..khub helpful blog !!
    Jiya is very lucky that she has at least some friends who talk about books and u get to know about the names of the books that she might like!!
    In my case, since I live in a not-book-loving- environment, I browse myself different websites then I select some books which Arshiya might like..I read the synopsis or read the review (or just google putting the names to know about the book)..Finally in our quite time I tell her the story..If I see her happy bright face then I clicked in flipkart and buy it. long procedure HUh !!!
    For me I read whatever I get . And of course I have good friends like you who help me to explore contemporary books !! Thank you once again !!