Kolkata: Likening the Kolkata International Book Fair to festivals like Durga Puja and Eid, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said that irrespective of advancements in technology, nothing can match the pleasure of picking up a book and reading it.
"Today there is Twitter, Facebook, there are online books available, but our tradition and heritage will remain. Despite the changes and technological advancements, the feeling and joy of reading books will always remain," she said inaugurating the 38th edition of the fair here.
"A book means joy, ecstasy and sometimes sorrow, creation and also culture," said Banerjee, five of whose books were also unveiled on the occasion.
Describing the fair as one of the biggest in the world, Banerjee said such festivals linger in the minds of people for long as also provide a meeting place for book lovers from across the country.
The fair which will be opened to public Wednesday and continue till Feb 9 has Peru as its focal theme, and will see the participation of 29 countries besides publishers from across India showcasing their books in 600 stalls.
The highlight of the event though will be the inaugural Kolkata Language and Literature Festival (KLLF) which will witness the participation of several luminaries from the world of art and culture.
The three-day KLFF to be inaugurated Jan 30 by union minister Shashi Tharoor will comprise 18 sessions involving speakers from multi-faceted genres including the likes of movie directors Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen, actor Mohan Agashe, author Vikram Sampath and historian Leonard Gordon.