It takes a little honesty to admit that the best part about book launches in the Capital is the free alcohol. Very rarely do people talk books at book launches.
So for a change,if youre keen on doing that,head to the India Habitat Centre to feast on a wonderful collection of books that have been put together by Penguin India. The Penguin Classics Library is an initiative by the publishing house to bring together book lovers for a week for the purpose of browsing together,buying books together,and whats more,actually talking books for a change.
This is a unique concept,a first in India. The library has on display the entire range of Penguin Classics in a friendly,accessible ambience and gives readers a chance to browse,read and discuss their favourite classics over a cup of coffee, says Rachna Kalra of Penguin India.
The library kicked off with a colourful programme on Thursday evening at the IHC amphitheatre. With a jazz band belting out standards like The Girl from Ipanema,A Kiss to Build a Dream On and Jamaica Farewell,bibliophiles went through a semi-circle of shelves stocked with books to browse through and buy.
Apart from the Indian classics,translations of Somadeva and Visnu Sarmas works,you have A K Ramanujan,Ismat Chughtai and Rabindranath Tagore rubbing shoulders with Timothy Leary,Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The left side of the library also has works by Charles Dickens,Elizabeth Gaskell,Charlotte Bronte and other Victorian greats.
Apart from the books,what should have Dilli intellectuals thronging the lush green amphitheatre are the readings,panel discussions and interactive sessions with authors,theatre personalities and academics. Among the scheduled events,author of best-selling chick lit novel Almost Single,Advaita Kala,read extracts from her favourite classics with fellow author Palash Krishna Mehrotra on Friday evening.
Spend late Monday afternoon with Professor Alok Rai and Professor Nivedita Menon as they discuss What makes a book a classic. Tuesday will see the not-to-miss launch of Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore with an introduction by Ramachandra Guha. But the most interactive of all sessions will be the Classics Quiz for all age groups conducted by theatre personality Suneet Tandon.
The library is on till March 18.