oh, happy day

Today, July 2, is my mother’s birthday. She died this year, and this is the first birthday without her. And though I miss her very much, it is one of the happiest days of my life. Because today, the Kindle that I bought from Amazon about two weeks ago, finally arrived. I didn’t know how much it would move me to get this digital reading device. And it was a very fitting way to celebrate her birthday. This was her 102nd birthday.

caught in the mirror, taking a shot of my mother

We both loved reading, and used to share books, and recommend books to one another. I know she would have gotten a kick out of the Kindle, because she could have read from it. When I first started reading ebooks on my computer, I told her about it, and tried to tempt her to learn how to use a computer. But she was adamant. She felt she was too old to learn this new technology. ‘You may be an old man,’ she told me, ‘but I’m ancient’.


But reading a Kindle is so much like reading a book, that there’s really nothing much to learn. And it’s very pleasant, because you can adjust the size of the letters, and have many books in a very light package. I feel like I’ve lived to see the future. Of course, that feeling that I’m living in the future started quite some time ago, with the whole digital revolution. But nothing so characterizes my life as books. I have bookcases along all the walls of my house, and I ran out of space quite some time ago. So every time I buy books, it’s a problem where to put them.


Aside from that, there’s a great freedom, in being able to buy just about any western book, and have it arrive in a minute. I smile to think of it. Though Jerusalem is filled with book stores, many a time I’ve read about some book in the west… read a review, or heard it mentioned, and when I checked out the bookstores, it had to be ordered. And that would always take between two weeks and a month.


Well, I wanted to share my happiness with you, my readers. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m really enjoying it. My daughter Rivka will be joining me in a short while. She’s coming to Jerusalem today from the north. I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate, but we’ll think of something. She’s a reader too, by the way.


95 responses to “oh, happy day

  1. smiling in Oz, reading this 🙂

  2. Much joy to you today, Shimon, as you remember your mother and have your daughter with you. You are rich in the love of your family! And congratulations on receiving your Kindle. I don’t have one yet, but anticipate that it may come in the future – if we move more than half a mile from our local library, which is very well stocked!

    • There really are a lot of books here, libraries, and book stores. And I suppose, that had I not started to blog in English, I might not ever have bought a Kindle. I am not the type that gets excited about gadgets. But after blogging for some time in English, and meeting a lot of people and ideas from abroad, I have more interest in reading works and subjects that are not so readily available. Thank you very much for your comment, Ruth.

  3. Enjoy the Kindle and what a lovely portrait of your mother.

  4. I love my Kindle, but I love books to and it makes me a bit sad to think how antiquated they’re starting to become.

    • I love books too. And since I also love scrolls, it seems less of a problem to adjust to the new version. But there are certain exclusive advantages both to paper books and the electronic readers. Thanks, Jordan.

  5. The lovely thing about such technology, is that it makes available books which are no longer available. Now that I have retired from my profession as an audiologist, I no longer HAVE to keep up with the advances in medicine and technology. I am now spending a lot of time reading books which are perhaps 100 years old. I am constantly amazed at what my predecessors managed to do with limited knowledge and rather primitive tools….
    That for me has been one of the greatest advantages of e- readers,
    I wish you good reading

    • It certainly would be nice to thing that would be the rule, but what usually happens in the change from one media to another, is that certain things are saved, and others are forgotten. So far, the digital revolution has brought to light a lot of works that had previously been out of reach, so like yourself, I’m optimistic in that regard. Thanks for your comment, Harry.

  6. What a fitting ‘present’ on such a memorable day! I know you’ll love your kindle. Like you said, you can have access to any book from anywhere at your fingertips, anywhere, anytime. Enjoy!

    • Yes, it was a complete coincidence, but in my joy, it seemed as if it all had been directed from heaven. I suppose that because I usually live in the context of a different language and culture, it gives me an important bridge to western culture. Thanks for your good wishes, Fatima.

  7. I hope you enjoy your day as you celebrate the memories of your mother with your daughter. I love your portrait of her! Ah yes, the Kindle. I’m glad you gifted this wonderful device to yourself. Like you, I love books and simply ran out of space in my library to store them. The Kindle is easy to ready, comfortable on the eyes and I can carry it in my purse. I have had one since they first came out and can’t imagine life without it now. I’m hooked!

    • It was a beautiful day, and I did enjoy a very nice talk with my daughter, and after that a beautiful social evening. I’m already beginning to see that there are advantages to both. But still, I’m very happy about having acquitted the Kindle. Thanks, Cathy.

  8. My dad was very excited when the Kindle came out and told me all about the advantages of having one. I decided to surprise him and my mom with one for Christmas and I know he enjoys taking it with him and reading in whatever spare moments he has. Maybe someday I’ll buy one too :]

    • At the start of the digital revolution, I was worried about my abilities to adjust to it all. I suppose I have a conservative streak in me. But over the years I have adjusted to it better than my expectations. Thanks for the comment, Kari Ann.

  9. Books are kind of like memories in 3-D, aren’t they? Like any work of art, ideas and people–and even the people we were at other encounters with the artwork–all come back to us, every time we open ourselves to these…Joy in your Kindle, and in your celebration of your mother’s life, Shimon.

    • In certain ways, for me, reading in English, are sometimes like that, Kitty. But usually, Books are a vehicle for exchanging thoughts and ideas with a much wider circle of people. I have often compared the internet to the Gutenberg revolution a few hundred years ago. But for me, books are still the greatest inspiration and influence. Thank you very much for your good wishes.

  10. Of course she is a reader…look at her father and grandmother….good for the both of you….and what a happy day for you…for your Kindle and for sweet memories of your mother. I love the image of your bookcase, too, Shimon…could spend a long time there. Thank you for sharing your treasure this morning….. Wishing you a continued wonderful day, my friend.

    • Yes, your right, Scott. We’re a family of readers, on both sides, going back many generations. And thank you for your good wishes. It was really a splendid day, and it’s been a very good week, with a lot of things to be grateful for.

      • You are most welcome for the good wishes, Shimon…and it’s very nice to know that both sides of your family are such readers…and back for many generations. With all of our children, only two of them seem to share my and their mother’s love for books and reading…something that we cherish.

        I’m glad you had such a nice day and week…with so many things to be grateful for….a wonderful perspective….

  11. What a lovely heartfelt post. I’m thrilled that you are so happy and can now get books in a second. Happy birthday to your mum, goodness I can hardly believe she would have been 102….amazing! That’s a great pic of your mum and you in the mirror.

    Here’s to happy days!xxxx

    • Yes, it was a wonderful day, yesterday. And probably the biggest advantage for me is being able to get books so fast. Though we usually mourn a mother for a year in my culture, I feel as if I’ve already passed the mourning period, and she has left me with many good memories. Thank you for your good wishes, Dina. xxx

  12. Excellent, Shimon. I know you will find great joy and utility in your Kindle.
    Hopefully it will continue to bring you fond thoughts of your mother.

    • You know Bill, I never needed a special mother’s day to give my respect to my mother, nor do I need any keepsake to remember her. She is always with me. And I’m sure that the Kindle will be a great addition to my life. Thanks.

  13. What bliss, to be surrounded by so many books in your house! I hadn’t thought of that use for a Kindle – that it would be helpful to someone whose sight isn’t so good any more. That’s a useful tip. I don’t have to tell you to enjoy your present. I suspect it will be addictive. I hope you have a joyful celebration with your daughter – I’m sure you will. Happy birthday!

    • I’m sure that you would feel very comfortable in my personal library, Gillyk. And yes, it was a wonderful day, and I’m still coasting on a high from it all. Thank you for joining me, and for your good wishes. I appreciate it.

  14. Oh happy day, and many more Shimon! You will so enjoy your Kindle. (and of course, so would your mother have! Happy birthday to her.) Ahh, and to be embraced by walls of books, that’s a warm and lovely thing.

    • Yes, it was a wonderful day, Spree. There was a time, when I remembered all that was written in every one of those books, more than I could ever bother to count. But now as I get old, I don’t always remember exactly, and so the books have grown more valuable with the years. Thank you very much for your comment.

  15. Happy day dear Shimon, what a beautiful reading, I am sure she will be with you too. Thanks and Love, nia

    • Thank you very much, Nia. It is always such a pleasure to hear from you, and to share with you my happiness. I know that these days are cloudy for you, and think of you every day.

  16. I’m happy for you too Shimon. I spent the majority of my life reading medical books and journals and such. I can count on one hand the number of other type books I’ve read, not counting high school and college (required reading). I have listened to on Dan Brown book on tape. That was a new experience for me. My wife and best friend are readers and Mary has a Kindle (and loves it). Jim however can’t imagine not holding a book in his hand. Naturally we all have huge libraries..and now mine ( medical journals) are antiques, like me. 😉 My Mom was a reader too and Loved Stephen King. Books are certainly wonderful. We would hardly be civilized without them.
    Happy Birthday!

    • I have discovered this in my own life too, Bob. That every profession, no matter how wonderful, has it’s pluses and minuses, and there is no question that in medicine there is a lot to learn, and new information arriving constantly. And so, those who work in that field are not famous for their wide horizons. I had a period too, when worked so overwhelmed me, that I did less reading. But now that I’m retired (mostly), I am able to enjoy pleasures that were most important to me in my younger years. I have to admit, though, that the books you mention, Dan Brown and Stephan King, didn’t do much for me. But I suppose that that is a matter of taste, one of the most individual characteristics of us all.

  17. congratulation for your happy mind!
    “…she would have gotten a kick out of the Kindle, because she could have read from it. When I first started reading ebooks on my computer, I told her about it, and tried to tempt her to learn how to use a computer. But she was adamant. She felt she was too old to learn this new technology. ‘You may be an old man,’ she told me, ‘but I’m ancient’…”
    well, she had humor – and for sure she would be satisfied, that you still like reading with interest – DNA or social learning = she continues to live via you …

    • Yes, I do believe that my mother continues to live by way of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, of which there are many. I don’t think it’s DNA as much as the influence of a particular culture… Thank you very much for your comment, Frizz.

  18. Just wondering if there’s another usage of a Kindle? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtXWWRyJLPw

    • Very humorous video clip, Janet. And there is truth in that. Many times my children and grandchildren are very excited by technological advances that I didn’t even know existed. Thanks.

  19. Hope your day continues to be flooded with joy. I haven’t powered up my Kindle in quite some time … perhaps I will charge it up and flick my way across the screen in your honor, or in your mother’s honor. Enjoy your portal to the other side of the world, compliments of the future. Much joy.

    • Yes, it was a day of joy for me. But I don’t think it’ll mark a great change in my reading habits. Right now I’m reading a paper book (by Margaret Atwood translated into Hebrew), and I have two paper books in line that I can’t wait to get to. But it’ll mean a widening of horizons and added pleasures… and as you say so well, a portal to the other side of the world. Thanks, N.

  20. Happy day, Shimon. You think maybe your mother arranged for the Kindle to arrive on her birthday 🙂
    Have a good time with your daughter and happy memories.
    My only question is what will people use bookshelves for now?

    • I don’t plan to get rid of my books now that I use electronic books as well. But if this had happened years ago, I would probably have more space on my walls to hang some pictures that I really love. Many of my dearest friends, over the years, were painters. And many gave me pictures or offered them to me… and I don’t have any space to hang them. Maybe they’ll make tables and chairs out of bookshelves one of these days. Thank you very much for your comment, Angeline.

  21. Another heartfelt post Shimon. Beautiful photo, one to cherish. Sorry (maybe I’m wrong); but I can’t imagine a Kindle ever replacing a hard copy of a book in my life. To me what’s a book if it isn’t a book! Pleased that you love it though as do countless others. Have a wonderful day full of sweet memories.

    • I can see some of the disadvantages of the Kindle. But as a person who still uses scrolls (as I mentioned on the post about the book fair), I realize that in time, there are different stages of the book. Thank you very much for your good wishes, Liana.

  22. I can imagine your delight when you began to read the Kindle. I have my old original Kindle Keyboard (that I don’t think they make anymore). It was the first edition of them. I gave Kelli a Kindle Fire that she does not like. She returned to her old Keyboard Kindle. I only use mine to read books so I have no interest in other functions built into the new ones. I ordered a refurbished Keyboard Kindle on the secondary market for my sister-in-law last Christmas because I knew that would suit her.

    I am happy to hear that you have one and are enjoying it so much. Isn’t it just the best thing to be able to carry a library in your pocket? I read while I wait in line at the drive-thru even. Anywhere else that I find myself with a few minutes of idle time. It is surprising how much time we spend simply waiting.

    I like the photograph of you and your mother very much.

    • It’s a shame they didn’t keep the keyboard. I find the virtual keyboard less comfortable. And I agree with you, it’s really amazing to have a whole library in a small package, and I know it’s going to be a great pleasure. But what was most important for me, was being able to get new books from the west quickly. Another thing I agree with you, is that too much time is spent waiting. As to the picture of my mother, it wasn’t one of the best, but I picked it because it was very personal, in that I was there with her. Thanks for your comment, George.

      • I liked your choice of a photograph where you were there too. You are fortunate to have such photographs that reveal unscripted moments together. I had a really good feeling looking at the two of you. Her expression reminded me of my own mother’s reaction to being photographed unexpectedly. I also very much liked your image in the photo too. It’s one of the best photographs of you that I have seen.

  23. This was such a wonderful, happy post! I was delighted to learn that you enjoy reading e-books and that you gifted yourself with a new Kindle! I think most of us still love the look, feel, and scent of traditional printed books, but the portability and ease of reading has sold me on my Kindle reader too. When I first saw my daughter’s I thought that I would never enjoy reading that way, but now I much prefer it to holding a book steady in my hands. I have the reader on both my tablet and iPhone and it’s wonderful to always have an assortment of books with you to read, anytime, any place! I love that we can purchase books from Amazon and have them almost instantly too… no waiting for the mail to bring them! How delightful that this arrived just in time to commemorate your Mother’s birthday and celebrate her life and shared love of reading! Enjoy your new Kindle, I think of you there reading in this manner and it makes me smile, I suspect that somewhere she is smiling too! 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Josie. And I agree with you that there are advantages to the paper book as well. I certainly won’t abandon paper books completely just because I have a Kindle. But it has brought me a lot of added advantages, and the most important, is that I will be able to get western books quickly. Thank you for your smile. And your company.

  24. Lovely that your Kindle came when it did. I have one and like it but still read “real” books too. There is something about a book that the Kindle cannot match. Maybe I am just finding it hard to give way to technology in everything. I hope you have a gift every year on your mother’s birthday. I give myself flowers on my mother’s birthday in remembrance of her.

    • How sweet of you to wish me more days like this, Patricia. Yes, it was very good. And I can understand what you say about not wanting to give up paper books. I won’t in any case, because I still use a lot of paper books and enjoy them. But this just adds other possibilities, and what really pushed me to buy one, is being able to buy books from the west and get them right away. Thanks.

  25. Shimon you make my heart smile! I love reading your posts and your wonderful perspective on life! Best wishes from a reader in America.

    • Thank you very much KB. How nice to think of that… your smiling in America because of things I’ve written here. Thanks so much for your sweet comment.

  26. Interesting how the joys of reading, remembering your mother, and the Kindle’s arrival all mesh together! Cheers to your joy!

    • It was a very special coincidence, Frank, and made the day all that much more special. Thank you for taking part in this little celebration. I know you are a reader yourself, and I’m sure you can understand my excitement. Now I’ll get even closer to the English culture.

  27. Such a beautiful post, and what a lovely tribute to the beautiful woman that is your mother. While I do own a Kindle Fire, I hardly ever use it. I really prefer the actual feel of paper in my hands, but I do agree with you about the Kindle’s ease of use and accessibility of books through it. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for coming by, Myra. I have just peeked at your web site, and it seems just the thing for me, so I am looking forward to getting to know you better. I like the feel of paper too, and also the differences in fonts, and binding. It is rather strange to go from one book to another, and have the exact same sensual experience. But the intellectual experience is even more important for me. And of course, getting books from the west almost immediately.

  28. I love my e-reader and often get books from the library. The closest library is 60 miles from here if I wanted to check out a real book but with the reader I can have it in a minute.

    • What a pleasure it is getting a comment from you, Linda. I was afraid you’d lost interest in cyberspace. I too love the library, and have one five minutes walk from my home. But all the books there are in Hebrew, and because of this blog, I’ve renewed my interest in English literature, and that’s harder to get. So the Kindle has really opened up the possibility of getting books from the west quickly. That’s what really decided it for me.

  29. You are certainly a man of books, Shimon. Sorry for the loss of your mother this year. Lost mine about 15 yrs ago. A blessing because she had Alzheimers and didn’t know anybody too well. She ended up in hospital the last few days, and on her last night I think she remembered me. A smile and a knowing squeeze of my hand. She was 84 years old when she passed away. Since her death, I have lost three brothers,two with cancer and one in Bangkok through illness. You have your memories of your mother, as I have of mine. WE were separated by distance and only saw here once or twice a year. Glad she wasn’t around with those terrible earthquakes down in Christchurch.

    • I felt very lucky that my mother was in good health and in possession of her mental faculties till she left us. That is just good luck. But as we grow older, the old gang starts thinning out. I have lost a number of very close friends in the last few years, and I have to admit that it does make me feel lonely at times. I hope that you people started working on the rebuilding of Christchurch this summer. I imagine that in winter the conditions are much harder. My best wishes to you, Pete. Always good to hear from you.

  30. I think your mother must be smiling, Shimon, seeing you celebrating her life in such a life-affirming way. Nothing can be better than books or manuscripts, but then Kindle is something else, isn’t it. In that little gadget you can tap into the wide world of books, and as you say, all in a minute. I remember hearing a radio interview with Margaret Atwood, where the interviewer was trying to pose that, as a writer, she was bound to be against electronic books. Of course she isn’t. She is far too wise. She told the interviewer that she had two electronic readers, and “they were just dandy on planes.” Happy reading by whatever medium.

    • Yes, Kindle is a very handy gadget, and for me, it’s just as good as a book, with the advantage of being able to carry many books in a small package. I also heard an interview with Margaret Atwood on the subject, and it was a pleasure to hear her rational response to the issue. Thanks for your comment, Tish.

      • Shimon, I sent you a comment recently but I think it went straight into spam. There’s a bug in the WP system. But if you unspam me, it should free things up again. This has been happening to a lot of bloggers apparently. Thanks

        • I really appreciate this message, Tish. This was really one of those times when others could see, and I had no idea. When I checked out the spam folder, there were quite a few legitimate comments that had been caught there. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to let me know.

  31. What a beautiful picture of your mother, Shimon. I bought my wife a Kindle a year ago bit she says that she much prefers the feel of a proper book. We are running out of space for books in our house, so much so that in the last week we have made the difficult decision to get rid of some of the old and tattered ones that have no intrinsic value.

    • I suppose that that is a wise decision. I’m just afraid that if I started looking for the ones that had no intrinsic value, I would get lost very quickly in rediscovering old trails… I can understand your wife’s attitude, though. And though I like to think of myself as sensualist, I think that my central regard for books is what is written… the words. I already see them as very abstract, even when I read them on paper. So it isn’t such a big jump for me to move to the digital reader. Thanks for your comment, Andy.

  32. Your wall of books is beautiful, Shimon. A lovely post.

  33. In “the people of the book,” the book usually means the Bible, but I always connect the phrase to the love for books and learning in general that is so much a part of the Jewish tradition. I grew up in a house with thousands of books, and even as a teenager I spent lots of time in bookstores. Sometimes I would even take a day off from school and go into New York City to browse the stores filled with old books. Those shops disappeared decades ago, but the memory lives on.

    • Though the book might have originally been referring to the bible, it seems to me that for a long long time, it has meant the love of many books. In Hebrew the phrase does not indicate a particular book. And the existence of other books, and their histories goes back to the very beginning of our culture. I have heard though, of homes, among other peoples, where there was only one book, and that was the bible. Thank you for your comment, Steve.

  34. You may have tipped me over the edge with this post, Shimon. I’ve been considering a Kindle for a while now, but am reluctant to give up on the paper and card version of books – I love the feel and smell of them. But we have a similar problem with storage (and I love techy things). Love your bookshelves by the way.

    • In my case, it certainly wasn’t a love for techy things, Richard. Though I have been enjoying reading ebooks on my computer for a while now, I think what finally pushed me to buying the Kindle, is the ease of making purchases from Amazon. Having them send paper books is quite expensive. Often the transport cost as much or more than the book itself. But shelf space is also a problem, I agree.

  35. At least three generations of readers – that’s wonderful. I’m glad you are enjoying the Kindle. I have tried reading digital books but somehow I’m still too connected to the texture of the printed page. It’s probably more nostalgia and sentimentalism than anything else. 🙂

    • My guess is that it’s more a sensual relationship to books than nostalgia or sentimentalism. When we’re really deep in the world we’re reading about, though, we forget where we’re sitting, and the book we’ve got in our hands. We slip into another world, and live the pains, the pleasures… or dive deep into the thoughts of someone else… and then, I don’t know how much it matters, the way those thoughts came to us. Always a great pleasure for me, getting a comment from you, yearstricken, as it is to read your writing on your blog.

  36. My son gave me a Kindle for Christmas last year. Slowly but surely I am using it more often, but still have at least one book that I am reading – the old-fashioned way!

    • I’m new to it, Bev. But though I’ve already bought a number of books, I am still reading one on paper that I started before I bought the Kindle. I don’t think I’ll switch completely.

  37. Lovely way to be feeling and thinking on the Birthday of your mother. I am sorry for your recent loss.

    Being only 34, I wonder if that is part of the reason I have become accustomed very quickly to new technology. I actually feel it has alot more to do with efficient as well as quality communication, and my desire to find a balance between the two.

    I also have to admit I wanted nothing to do with a kindle or amazon reading application until recently. My bestie, Justin is mostly blind and he finds great use of being able to increase and decrease font sizes on his screen! Something not so possible with books. I have since (last few months) caught onto the idea.

    I still however have my shelves of books, ranging from historical romance right through to Physics, Mathematics, Finance, Self development and David Eddings.. lol Oddly enough I have this OCD habit which leaves me never allowing any creases to get in the spines of my books (picture me reading, while trying to prevent that) So they all look very new.

    I love to be in bookstores, and my favorites are the second hand stores. There is a beautiful one in my city that has cushions and bean bags and is two stories high. I can spend hours experiencing that, surrounded my body with piles of books and never get bored.

    My children, like me have also developed into little avid readers! Something I am delighted to have passed on!

    • You know, it’s strange, Miss Lou. I didn’t expect to mourn her at all when she died. I thought it was only natural because she was so old. But even so, I realized suddenly that I would no longer be able to spend an afternoon talking to her, and I mourned. But it didn’t last that long. A few months, and I came out of mourning. Now her memory just brings me good feelings. I am completely unaware of OCD habits, but your description of your personal library sounds a bit like mine, except that I have no books on self development, and a lot of philosophy in the Hebrew language. I love bookstores too, and Jerusalem is full of them. And second hand bookstores are a great blessing. But I do think it’s easier for the young to adjust to new things. Wishing you many happy hours in the worlds of books.

  38. ‘You may be an old man,’ she told me, ‘but I’m ancient’. I bet she was a force to be reckoned with! How wonderful that you celebrate her in many ways.

    • She was a very strong woman, and a little stubborn at times. But she had a lot of love in her, for friends, and for the world at large. I learned from her all my life, and enjoyed a very close friendship with her as an adult. Thanks, bluebrightly.

  39. Wow, that is a lot of books! 😀 But what a wonderful way to celebrate. I hope you thoroughly enjoy your Kindle. I have been contemplating getting one myself, but I never end up doing it. I think I will at some point though! On that note, I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I can’t imagine what it is like. My mother was born the day before her, so I could smile at that, however 🙂

    • How nice that our mothers were born under the same sign. I have to admit, that I haven’t had a chance to read much in the Kindle so far, because I was still very much involved in some paper books bought during the book fair when it arrived. But I did try it out, and it seems very comfortable. I do look forward to using it more in the near future. Thanks for your comment, Jess.

  40. I have just returned from a month of holiday, I make it a rule that I do not use my computer unless it is unavoidable (rare fortunately) so was looking forward to your blog posts when I came back into the world 🙂 ).
    As always, you have some new and interesting subjects – thanks, as I always enjoy reading them; lovely picture of your Mother. Family memories, wonderful things.

    Ha – Electronic readers & new computers……… the bain of my life; like new test equipment, it takes twice as long to do the same job and yet they call it progress! (Maybe it is an age thing as after 60 one gets a little set in ones ways 🙂 )
    Instruction books that do not come in paper form any more, a PDF on the very equipment one does not know how to open or use.

    Books and readers: I managed to avoid getting an electronic reader for years, but took the plunge and now have a Sony.
    Like you, my wife and I ran out of space in our house for all the books we buy; always in deficit when it comes to shelves.
    I do worry though; will our grand children have as much fun going through old books, documents and more to the point photographs of our generation. The technology might preclude the possibility of opening files in older formats, without an investment of great expense, that most will not bother with?
    Gone will be the discovery of boxes of negatives that have been forgotten for years, only to be rediscovered and become a treasure trove of historical and cultural information. I some how do not see that happening in the same way that it does now; hopefully I am wrong, but ……


    • So nice to get this message from you on your return from holiday. It took me a few days to get to it, it seems. Because I too have only a limited amount of time for internet activities. But I have to admit, David, that when I go on vacation, I take my computer with me, and do check the mail and so on. I agree with you about the effect of age As I am getting older, the difficulty of adjusting to new contraptions is harder. I think your question is well placed, regarding future generations and our memorabilia. Though I don’t think that the changes in format will be the biggest problem. But the sheer weight of all the information available will eventually make people much more choosy about what occupies their time. They might not have much time for the past. It’s certainly interesting to thing of what the future will bring. Thank you very much for your comment.

  41. I have a Kobo. My son gave it to me when he bought an IPad. His IPod already has a reader. Shimon, where are we heading? Honestly it’s exciting and frightening at the same time.
    I hadn’t thought of it before I noticed some of your photos, but are bibles and other religious books available on readers? I guess that hard copy printing will have to say a bit longer. I imagine that even though it’s possible, it’s not likely. ,We’ll have to keep hard copy printers till things can get sorted out won’t we? 🙂
    PS. I noticed a staircase and a lovely wall that is just begging for a couple of bookcases. 🙂

    • Thank you for coming by, Mary. It was a pleasure to meet you, and as you know, I’ve read a few of your posts now. I never heard of Kobo till you mentioned it, and then I started reading about it, and it sounds fine. But I have to say, that my choice of a reader was mostly about getting western books in English without having to wait a long time for the shipment to arrive. Otherwise, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to buy one. I already read a lot on my computer. In answer to your question, there is a great and wide variety of religious volumes available as ebooks. Almost everything a serious student would look for. The problem is more acute with modern books in Hebrew. And that is because the publishers are worried about the market. But even so, there’s a sizable population here in Jerusalem, that wouldn’t open a computer or an ebook on the Sabbath, and I have no doubt that they will continue to buy paper books, even if they also have copies on their computers.

  42. Dear Shimon,
    I loved the portrait you took of your mom. She sounds like she had a sense of humor. My mother has been gone for twenty-four years, and I still feel her presence. I am so glad that you can feel your mother’s. I wish you joy on your happy day!
    I am a bit of an old dog, and haven’t bought a Kindle yet, although my husband has. He felt, as a librarian, that he really needed to understand the new reading technology and keep up with the times. I will eventually buy one, I am sure, but I will never entirely give up my paper books, as I would miss the feel of paper beneath my fingers too much. And I love the sight of books on shelf; a wall of books is a beautiful sight to me–so much promise of enjoyment and illumination at my fingertips.
    Best wishes,

    • Thank you very much, Naomi. Actually, I would call the picture a snapshot rather than a portrait, but I agree that it shows a lot. I think I have a similar attitude to that of your husband. But in my case, the reason that I felt the need to buy the reader was that in this way it is easier for me to buy these books in a different language and from a different place. The fact that it gives me immediate access. And now that I have it, I do enjoy it very much.

  43. I remember the thrill of getting the Kindle reader and the Kindle Fire, and I like the fact that I don’t have to carry books when I travel. It’s such a wonderful invention.
    BTW, I love your book shelves.

    • Yes, it is much easier just carrying a Kindle, rather than a few books. I’m sure I’ll continue to read paper books as well, but I thoroughly enjoy this new addition to my life. The best is having a book delivered in a minute! Thanks for your comment, Amy.

  44. Good morning Shimon and Congratulations on your Kindle purchase. I bought mine almost two years ago, and I LOVE it. I always used to carry books when travelling, and now, I just pop the Kindle into my bag, and yes, I also love the fact that I can have large print.

    I really like the portrait of you and your Mother….she was such a strikingly beautiful woman…..Now that we are in September, I hope to get back into my stride and to respond to your posts.

    It’s been a busy year, and will continue to be so….Off to the States on the 26th Sept….long weekend in Boston and then ten days in Atlanta where I will be doing watercolour portraits and attending a wedding.

    Wishing you and Nechame a happy day with the Kindle. 🙂 Janet.

    • I’m so glad you found this back page, Janet. I was thinking of you when I first got the Kindle, and I intend to write you soon, privately, and discuss with you about some of the books I’m reading and what I’m looking for. The Kindle is very handy, as you say. But for me, the biggest advantage is that I can get most books right away, and be more in touch with what is happening in the west. I feel like a gate has been opened. I wish you very happy travels, and continuous inspiration. I was so glad to get your new blog address from Tony. Now I’ll be able to comment on your blog. And thanks too, from Nechama.

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