Monday, 18 May 2009

Reading makes the world go round...

Rachel Shabi is a Tel Aviv based journalist and author of the recently published Not The Enemy: Israel's Jews from Arab Lands. As the title suggests, the book considers the complicated issue of the integration of Israel's Mizrachi population, arguing that there was, and remains, a latent undercurrent of discrimination, sometimes bordering on upon out-and-out racism, directed against the ethnic group.

There's a link to an interview with Ms Shabi on Radio 4 here (Episode for 13.5, starts at 16:02)

Whilst the book has generally been reviewed warmly in the United Kingdom and the United States, not everyone is in thrall to her argument - see here, for one example,

(True, he does hedge his bets by saying that he hasn't read the book; but then, who ever heard of a reviewer spoiling a carefully constructed argument on the merits of the book by actually reading the damned thing?).

...but it does sounds like an interesting contribution to the continuing argument about the state of the State of Israel, and I think I'll look for it the next time I'm abroad.

The next time I'm abroad?

Well, broadly speaking, I've given up on buying books in English here. It is such an infuriating experience...

For example: A little while ago, I went to the largest bookshop in Tel Aviv, to look for a copy of this. One would thought that they'd have it, or at least heard of it; I mean, she only won the Sapir Prize a couple of years ago, writes (wrote? not sure if she still does) a column for Ma'ariv and just happened to have a short story published in the New Yorker a fortnight ago?

Had they heard of it? No they hadn't. In Hebrew, perhaps?* (Ms Hareven has written six books, after all) A dim glimmer of light in the forest, a lengthy computer consultation..."ah! I didn't know it had been translated into English!"

Isn't that what bookshops are for?

And this is without getting started on the obscene prices that they charge, even with the appreciation of the Shekel against Sterling and the Dollar over the last couple of years...

Perhaps I should stop whining and do something practical about it...

Tov. Back to work. Aluta Continua...



*Of course I'm not going to read it in Hebrew. I can barely read the Small Noisy One's books in Hebrew. I just wondered...

** Too many hyperlinks. I know, I know...

4 comments:

G said...

Mr Goy;

Well I buy at Albiris.com, they have x10 titles as Amazon, including out of print and used stuff. Since the books are used, prices are low (your Noa Weber sells there for 7.50$), and together with the shipment it comes to about what it costs to buy a book in Israel.
G

Goy said...

mmm, interesting. Thanks for the tip! (I see they sell CDs too...)

G said...

yeah...take care, though:
when buying several items, make sure you are buying all of them from the same seller! otherwise you might end up paying a seperate shippment fee for each one, which ruins the cost effectivness. The tricky part is to find a couple of items you want at the same seller...So I can't take responsibility if you end up playing the defendant again :)

G

G

Goy said...

:-)