Egypt celebrated World Book Day

Ahram Online , Friday 29 Apr 2011

Egypt’s January 25 Revolution has dominated the demand in this week’s celebration of World Book Day in Cairo bookstores

"We offered our clients a flower and the flag of Egypt at the beginning to commemorate World Book Day last Saturday," said Karam Youssef, owner and manager of the Maadi-based Kotob Khan Bookstore.

Youssef said that they offered a special selection of books for the visitors throughout the week. Most of the books highlighted were politically-oriented, as is the case, for that matter, with other leading Cairo bookstores.

Be it through fiction, history, political science or even sociology, Egyptian politics dominated.

"This has been the case since the beginning of the January 25 Revolution, and especially after the revolution; more and more people are showing interest in reading books that could help them learn more about what has been going on around them," said Dina Charaki, of the Diwan Bookstore, that has also been offering a special selection of titles for this week.

The titles offered by Cairo bookstores this week include a selection of articles by novelist and commentator, Alaa El-Asswani and the popular titles by Galal Amin, such as "Egypt in the era of Hosni Mubarak" and "Whatever Happened to the Egyptians" not to mention the very appropriate "A Step Away From the Revolution" by Zaghloul.

Among the popular buys of the week are Ibrahim Issa’s "The Assassination of the Big Man" and those of Belal Fadl, especially "Indigenous Egyptians," according to Nasser, a sales assistant at the widely frequented Madbouli Bookstore in downtown Cairo.

Some sales assistants at the Cairo bookstore are expecting this weekend a demand for the poetry of Tamim Barghouti. "We are getting quite a number of people asking for Al-Barghouti poems; his recital on TV the other day attracted much attention," said Mohamed, a sales assistant at the Heliopolis branch of the Shorouk bookstore.

Tuesday Barghouti read his poem "To the Egyptian People" on the Egyptian channel, On TVand for the following two days Mohamed in the Shorouk bookstore received considerable demand for "anything by Barghouti."

According to Nadia Wassef, a director of Diwan, the link between current events and radio and TV productions on the one hand and the demand for books on the other is typical. Last summer, Diwan, Wassef said, saw a considerable demand on books related to Muslim Brotherhood as Egyptian TV aired the controversial soap opera Al-Jamaah, which covered the nearly 80-year history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most influential opposition block during the years of the Hosni Mubarak regime.

Previously, Wassef noted, the broadcast of the soap opera about the life of King Farouq, the last monarch of Egypt before the 1952 revolution, there was a keen interest and a considerable demand for books on the history of Egypt’s royal family.

Beyond this week, Cairo bookstores will continue to highlight books of relevance to the January 25 Revolution to keep in tune with the mood of the readers. But, according to Nasser, while readers continue to show interest in this type of books there will be a back-to-normal demand for the regular popular titles that are mostly relate to religion, history, fiction and self-help.

"Some of these are written in Arabic and many are translated," Nasser said.

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