For Erin, the love for books began at an early age.
The university student is not just an avid reader, if given the opportunity, she would spent the entire day amid books.
And, it is the love that motivated her to participate in this year's Amar Ekushey Granthamela as a part-time salesperson.
“I was looking forward to engage myself in something that will help me gain experience and provide me financial support,” said Erin Jahan, a third-year student at a college under National University. She works at the stall of Anya Prokash.
“It's a great opportunity. Various publishers hire students like me during the book fair. I not only get to learn about customer service while working, but also get to interact with booklovers,” she told this correspondent yesterday.
The student from Natore lives at a hostel with other female students at Mirpur. “I get paid for the work as well. My parents also welcomed the opportunity.”
She is also a member of a group called “Himu Paribahan”, a fan club of Humayun Ahmed's writings.
“But most importantly, I'm an avid fan of Humayun Ahmed. We sell many of his timeless books here. I get to relive them…,” she added.
Not just Erin, many university students are working at various publication houses. The Ekushey book fair provides them an opportunity to work part-time as a salesperson.
Mohasina Akter Sithy was helping a visitor choose a book at Gono Prokashon publication.
The student of East West University said, “This is the first time I'm working at the book fair. This is a great opportunity. I get to read books and interact with many.”
“The honorarium helps too,” she said smilingly. “I feel safe working here. The security is well maintained.”
Dhaka University student, Mousumi Khatun, works at Kagoj Prokason. She said, “I work from 3:00pm to 9:00pm. Since my classes are in the morning, I have no trouble working. Many of my friends are working at other stalls. To us, the book fair is like a month-long 'adda'.”
“Though the pressure increases during the holidays and weekends, it's fun to see so many booklovers at the fair…,” said Saching Prue Marma, a student at Dhaka State College. Saching works at Prokriti publication.
The book fair is also an opportunity for them to meet their favourite authors.
National University student Nymul Haque would never forget the first time he met writers Muhammed Zafar Iqbal and Anisul Hoque.
“When they came to our stall, I did not know what to do at first. I've been a fan of their writings ever since I could remember. To see them in person… it was an incredible feeling. I even forgot to assist visitors…,” said Nymul at Ankur publication.
However, some of the students said they had to face some untoward incidents too.
“On February 21, a guy came to our stall and during the rush, he took a book without paying for it. I tried to follow him, but he took off,” said Kabita Hasan. The Habibullah Bahar University College student works at Modern publication.
This is the second time she has been working for Modern publication.
The publishers also appreciate that students are working at their stalls during the book fair.
“The students are well aware of literature. The knowledge helps them to interact with the booklovers better…,” said Nasir Ahmed Selim, publisher of Kakali Prokashani.
A total of 103 books hit the fair yesterday. A book titled, “Idioter Atmokotha” (memoirs of an idiot) was unveiled at the fair. Written by Heerak Rana, the book tells the story of various social incongruities through theory, facts and a great amount of wit and humour. The book is published by Adee Prokashoni (stall 155).
The preface of the book has been written by Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury.
DAILY STAR BOOKS
Tahmima Anam's “A Golden Age” and its translation “Sonajhora Din”, “Selected Micro Economic Issue: Theory and Practice” by Mirza Azizul Islam and “The Merman's Prayer and Other Stories” by Syed Manzoorul Islam were in high demand at Daily Star Books yesterday.
Other than those, “Shuno He Lokkhindor” by Shawkat Ali, “Kishor Muktijoddha” by Mostafa Hossain, “Sangrami Nari 52 o 71 (interview)” edited by Bashar Khan, “Srestho Rohosso Uponnas” by Rakib Hasan and “1971” by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay were also popular choice.
“We offer a wide variety of books for people of all ages,” said Emran Mahfuz, coordinator of Daily Star Books. “Our books are also available on Rokomari.com.”
Meanwhile, Syed Abul Maksud's “Bangalee Musolmaner Buddhibrittik Bibhrom o Bishwashinota” will hit the book fair soon.