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Day 194: Those “fat words”…

I needed a quick book-fix after a relatively stressful day at work. At Gibert Joseph, I browsed through the English books section, picked up a couple of novels, and was heading back downstairs to the cashier to pay for my purchase. There, lo and behold, a book that’s promoting for all the “fat words” of the world.

“Fat words”? Actually, gros mots translates as swear words… aha, now, you’re probably thinking – interesting book! Especially one which promises a guide of 80 most commonly used, errr, colourful phrases. In 12 languages, no less. Of course, that means this book is now categorised as “dictionary” and I can think of a couple of people who wouldn’t mind having one on their bookshelves, hehehe.

Sharjah International Book Fair

Where there’s book, you’ll find me. To read about the Sharjah International Book Fair, that was exciting. Local and international publishers and sellers would be there, and there would be tons of books in Arabic and non-Arabic languages too!

Held at the Sharjah Expo Centre, which is not far from where I am, the massive book fair is well organised (kudos to the organisers) and seemingly very popular too, teeming with visitors when I snuck over at 6pm yesterday evening. This was at the time when half the population of Sharjah were still stuck in the traffic, en route home from Dubai. I can only imagine as the evening progresses, more and more visitors would be expected.

Since I don’t read Arabic (how I wish I have – I took lessons once upon a time when I was six but never continue beyond that) my target section would be that of non-Arabic, foreign books. Hall 4 is dedicated just for that.

As I strolled along rows after rows of stalls, I noticed the majority of titles in English are children’s books. This is something very positive, that children are encouraged to learn English and there are so much educational tool available to them. There were also a quite a number of stalls dedicated to academic and medical texts, making them prime source of text books for second/third level students.

However, in general, there’s a lack of stock of fictions and right now, that’s probably what I’d like to get my hands on the most. Some popular titles are available, but I would have already read them. Some are classics, which I know I could get much cheaper elsewhere. New releases are few and far in between, which is a pity. I would have love to go away with a few new purchases. (I ended up going to Borders at Sharjah City Centre and bought 3 books there instead.)

The Sharjah International Book Fair is running from 26 October to 6 November 2010 at the Sharjah Expo Centre.

Never without books

I have been away for too long. Case in point – I have now a big stack of books on the nightstand. Three of them newly purchased. You must be wondering, why aren’t you going out and experience more local stuff? I do, but since this is a work-related trip, much of my time is tied up and the intermittent breaks during the day are usually not long enough to justify heading out somewhere. Come evenings, the options are limited to shopping, eating, and errrr… reading? (It’s dry where I am so no bars to go to meet locals.)

I consider books as part of my travel essentials. I never leave without packing a book or two. When I’m done with them, I replace them with either books from exchange shelves (hostels are great for this) or new ones from the nearest bookshop. This trip, I’ve topped up my reading materials three times altogether.

It does create just a wee bit of a problem – I can’t, and usually don’t, bring them home with me. Those I’m done with, I leave behind. This is more for a practical reason than me not loving the books. For one, I travel light so there’s a lack of space to carry all of them back. Secondly, chances are, I may not re-read them again so why not let someone else have it? Thirdly, like many young adults of today, I am renting and if it teaches me anything, it’s that I should not have too much belongings. Each move creates a problem, since I already have more books than clothes right now!

A friend reckons I should get a Kindle or an iPad, so I can read ebooks and never have to leave any book behind. He advises, “the gadgets are light, slim and easy to carry everywhere.” But of course, any damage or theft to the gadget means I’ll stand to lose a lot more than just one or two small paperbacks. Besides, I think I’ll feel better if there are less things of expensive nature in my bag. Apart from my laptop, camera and iPod nano, everything else’s two a penny. Without actual books, I would also have nothing to contribute to the book exchange shelves, where present, and I’ll feel really guilty taking one out for nothing in return.

What do you think? And what’s your travel dilemma?

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