The Strand Book Festival

The front page of Wednesday’s HT was adorned with a mediocre ad proclaiming the return of the Strand Book Festival with their standard “up to 80% off” at Sunderbai Hall, near Churchgate Station.

Even though I am an Advertising student and should’ve seen the catch in the phrase “up to 80% off”, I willingly turned a blind eye to the deceiving line due to my undying love of reading and decided to finally catch this time’s book “sale” and actually buy some respectable and readable and worthy books for myself, rather than borrowing them from unsuspecting classmates and friends and forgetting to return them until threatened for my life.

Finally, I got hold of a friend and planned to travel all the way to Churchgate to check out the book sale.

After crisp instructions in English from a paanwalla to find the aforementioned hall and 2 minutes walk, we finally reached the book festival which was nothing but a huge room that reminded me of Hogwarts’ Great Hall with 6 very long tables crumbling under the pressure of tonnes of books (new) dumped on them. But the almost haphazard display of books didn’t prove to be much hindrance and the available of plethora of titles made me forget the fact that just to find one books of Toni Morrison took me close to 2 hours of browsing.

The long tables though divided into some sections don’t really help. But if you have the time and the passion to look for that book you want, a keen eye and diligent digging will prove to be fruitful and if you are an ardent book lover it is a treat to browse through thousands of titles and you never know when you may hit upon an interesting book.

From Leo Tolstoy to Salman Rushdie, The Kite Runner to Lesbian Erotica, Jane Eyre to The Ultimate Break-up Guide, the sale had all the titles you could ask for, well almost all, because I didn’t find the three books that were the ultimate inspiration behind me visiting this sale. Not to mention various Indian authors and I even chanced upon a book on Amitabh Bachchan “The making of a superstar” or something on those lines. All of this at discounted prices!!!

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Leather Bound) available at mere Rs 200.

Few more from titles/authors I saw:
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Bill Bryson books.
PG Wodehouse
Unpublished work of Ayn Rand
Salman Rushdie books
William Dalrymple
Charles Dickens books
Ruskin Bond books
And loads of other ones.

A must visit for anyone who loves books. Make sure you have plenty time to spare and don’t expect to get 80% off on all the books but you will sure find classics at mere Rs. 200 or so.

I plan to pay a second visit to see if they will really add new titles everyday as the ad proclaims and maybe buy some books too this time.

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6 Responses to The Strand Book Festival

  1. Shruthi says:

    2 hrs! But once you end up picking a good book, it doesn’t matter how long it took to find it, right? So much for the love of reading!

    P.S. I’ll be borrowing some books from you soon 😉

  2. Pavan Madhini says:

    I am not too sure u got a good bargain there….u get almost any title by dostovesky in big bookshops in most cities at around 100 bucks…yes,leather bound…..i got C and P at Landmark in Lucknow for 100 bucks…..same goes for all those other books u’ve named…..u want a real bargain…go to dariyagunj in delhi…..u’ll get rushdie’s and wodehouse stuff at 30 . Lesser known authors like kurt vonnegut and irvine welsh can be had at 20 or 10 . no offense…but thought should spread awareness .

  3. devilsworkshop says:

    Oh! Didn’t know that. Any places in Bombay where I can get books for cheap? Cos I have tried many big book shops they mostly always expensive.

  4. Irah says:

    The paanwalla really spoke English? :-O Where’s he based?

  5. meena iyer says:

    Tamm hit any raddi shop.. or the roadside shop at churchgate.. near to that maidan.. what the heck is the name??

    I used to pick up my books from there.. u can try in Dadar too.. near to rhuia college.. there r many 2nd hand shops where u can get good books for cheaper rates.. I would so love to go to Delhi 😦

  6. Manu says:

    Picked you off Shruti’s blog.

    Decent reads, keep them coming.

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