HOOKED and BOOKED

Youngsters thronged Ranchi's 10-day fest for bibliophiles that ended on Sunday. t2 peeks in between the covers

The event: National Book Fair between November 30 and December 9 on Zilla School grounds, organised by Samay India and Pustak Mela Samiti

The draw: One hundred and thirty kiosks and mind-boggling options for every taste. Sleuths from Baker Street's Sherlock to Belgian �migr� Poirot. Thought leaders from Mahatma Gandhi to Jinnah. Literary giants from Rabindranath Tagore to Munshi Premchand. Plus books of every genre possible, from classics to pulp, self-help to self-study, quiz to cookery. Rashmi Bansal's corporate wisdom nudged shelves with Renu's eternal Hindi fiction. Educational CDs were another plus

Book buffs: "Hearteningly, children and teens thronged the book fair. Every day, we got footfall of 4,000-5,000 visitors, most of whom were youths," says one of the organisers, Chandra Bhushan

Best-sellers: Ranchi is still a city that remembers Bapu the author. Mahatma Gandhi's Hind Swaraj was the best-seller. Even Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie couldn't beat the lawyer-turned-leader of the 20th century. Other pop picks were Children's Knowledge Bank, Premchand's Godan, Rabindranath Tagore's Inspiring Thoughts, Anupam Sinha's The Virtuals and Surendra Sharma's Mujhe Chand Chahiye. Evergreens Raj Pocket Books and Raj Comics as usual sold well, as did tomes on grammar, academic subjects and dictionaries. Desi legends Nagraj and Private Detective Kapil continued to be page-turners. So did citizen vigilante Arvind Kejriwal's books and newbie author Rachit Bhushan's By Losing You I found how much I needed You

Ranchi proves that it likes to read 'em all!

Extra shots: Kavi Sammelan, film screenings, fun-filled and creative activities for students such as singing, quiz, antakshari, laughter challenge. Laugh, hum and read along

Voices:

"Comics apart, kids bought grammar books, dictionaries, competitive books," says Surendra Kumar, kiosk owner of Raj Comics

"We loved seeing so many Agatha Christies at one go," says Pallavi Verma (23), Marwari College MCom alumnus

"Advanced physics books are top-notch here. As my hobby is cooking, I browsed through recipe books too," smiles Spriha Kumari (23), pursuing MPhil in physics from Ranchi University