Earlier, David Ehrlich wrote about the shared culture, language, and fate of Israelis. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
My third book was published this week. Needless to say, I’m somewhere between panic and excitement. It’s the first one in English after my two books in Hebrew. When I come up with a new book I’m preoccupied with all kinds of questions, such as:
- Will people buy it?
- Will they like it?
- Will the reviewers like it?
With my new book published in the U.S., I also have worries as an Israeli author, such as:
- Will my writing be interesting to a foreign reader?
- Will people who are not Jewish or those who know nothing about Israel want to read it?
- Will the book be received as universal, even though certain stories are clearly set in my own country and culture
- Will the Israeli “situation,” as conveyed in my book, seem bizarre or extreme from a distance?
But now I have a new set of questions that have to do with technology. Take these, for example:
- Do people still read books?
- Is there life outside of Facebook?
- Will there still be bookstores in 10 years?
So many times have I been advised to start a blog or publish on the web. But there’s no way. I’m too attached to the print, the paper, the smell of the book. It’s a totally sensual experience, isn’t it? How can I give up on my first and biggest love? Like everybody else, I live a considerable part of my day on the computer, but I resist giving up on the rest of the world. Here’s a universal message that has nothing to do with being Jewish or Israeli: I’ll continue reading and writing books, real physical books, even if I’m the last one to do so.
David Ehrlich has published two books of short stories in Hebrew, “18 Blue” and “Tuesday and Thursday Mornings.” His newest book, “Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel,” is now available. His bookstore-cafe in Jerusalem, Tmol-Shilshom, is a haven for avant garde artists and writers, hosting readings by authors such as David Grossman, Etgar Keret, and A. B. Yehoshua.
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