a new chapter

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Those of my readers who follow me regularly have read of my odyssey from my old home, staying with a dear friend, and then in rented apartments, till I finally moved into my new home as described in last week’s blog post. I shared with you my agony and my bliss… sometimes the blues, and sometimes the wonder of a youngster who looks around him and is amazed by the beauty and the endless possibilities of the world around him. Being uprooted from my old world was painful. But coming face to face with new environments and conditions taught me to appreciate what I had taken for granted. And I discovered I was more flexible than I had thought. And that as long as I was alive, I could learn new things, and new ways of dealing with life. As rooted as I was in old habits, I discovered that even habits could change.

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Though I worked in a number of fields, most of my career was spent as a professional photographer. Towards the turn of the century, everything I had known about my profession changed, as we moved from film to digital photography. It wasn’t easy. I had to learn new skills and acquire new tools. But somehow I managed to learn the new system.

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Now, moving into my new home, I’ve had a similar experience. Not so much, in having to learn new skills and standards. For I, like everyone around me, have made many adjustments as our world changed over the years. But in moving into my new home, I came face to face with all that had changed over the years. I see those changes reflected in the physical reality of my living space.

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Two of my great passions have been the written word and music. The first recordings I bought were 78rpm records. After some years, the 33rpm records made their appearance, and then there were ‘long playing records’ and stereo. The quality of the recording improved in stages, and each time, I bought the latest devices so as to appreciate the added element in recorded music. I had a very fine record player which allowed for minute adjustments of the weight of the ‘needle’ on the groove of the record, so as to avoid excessive wear on the vinyl. Because after a while, one could always hear the sound of the needle in the groove, and sometimes there were bumps and scratches on the record that spoiled the purity of the sound. It was for that reason that I was so excited when the stereo reel to reel tape recorder became available in electronic stores, and backed up my favorite recordings with copies on tape. A few years later, the cassette player became the player of choice. Eventually, many of my favorite pieces were recorded again on to cassettes, joined by original recordings which were sold in cassette versions. This system was replaced by the CD, and over a number of years I bought several CD players as well as a sizable collection of discs.

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With the advent of the digital age, it became possible to transfer recorded music to digital files, and to play them on the computer or on an MP3 player. A few years ago, I started converting many of the records, and taped recordings to digital files. Today, I listen either to internet radio, or to recordings that have been converted to digital files. But in my old home, I still had an extensive collection of records, reel to reel tapes, and recorded music cassettes, as well as the instruments made for playing these old recordings. That old record player with diamond needle whose weight could be adjusted still stood on the top of a music chest in my old home, within which were stored musical recordings on a number of different media. No sign of any of that in my new home.

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The walls of my old living room used to be covered with book cases and shelves, bearing more books than I ever counted. It was a great pleasure for me to access many of my favorite books at a moment’s notice, and to reread a thought or piece of information. I remembered the place of each book on the many shelves around me. The books are still with me. They have been moved to my new library. But they are no longer as crucial as they once were. Because now I often read digital reproductions of books on my computer or Kindle, and when I want to review a quote or a poem, they are often available on the internet, and it’s even faster to find them on the computer than it is to locate the book and bring it to the table.

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This week, Chana and I visited an old barn in the northern negev, where books have been donated and collected from people in the area. We met two very charming people who are doing their best to organize these treasures of a previous generation. A visitor may buy any of the books for ten shekels, regardless of size or topic. The price is between one seventh to one thirtieth the original price of the books, but there are not that many customers. We heard the young man singing as he worked. The young woman, Adi is her name, offered to help us find any particular book we might be looking for. We told her we were just looking. I saw many books I have read and loved… and some I have never encountered. I didn’t expect to buy any. But as it happened, I did buy two: ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ which had impressed me greatly as a young man, and ‘Prey’, a delightful book by Michael Crichton, which I gave to Chana as a present. I was touched but not saddened by the great array of books. For though they told of the conclusion of an age, I knew they had been replaced by a fine new method of enjoying the written word.

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69 responses to “a new chapter

  1. You kept me guessing right to the end … at every photo I was thinking ‘is this really Shimon’s personal library?!’ I know the digital age has changed the way we read and listen … but I’m of the antiquated opinion that books will always be around. In our flat, anyway.

    • As I mentioned back on a previous post, we still use scrolls for certain written works. So I agree with you, that in all likelihood books will remain. But they will be used by a small minority, probably for very specific purposes. I believe that most of the reading and writing in the future will be by way of digital devices, computers and ebooks. And as you say, Gill, for our generation there is no reason to abandon printed books altogether. I have many books that continue to give me pleasure and use… among them, volumes that I couldn’t bear to part with. Thanks for your comment.

  2. It’s very hard to get rid of old books, records, etc. They do seem to become part of the family. And finding homes is very difficult too. Most people don’t want the clutter these days. I still like an old -fashioned book, an old-fashioned cd.

    • I too find it very hard to part from my books, and they remain with me. There is no reason why I should pay for a digital version of those books I already have. But nowadays, I buy more ebooks than printed ones. On the other hand, I do find the digital files simpler to use than the CDs, and most of the music I listen to these days, is from digital files. Thanks, Lisa.

  3. I wonder if your photographs show what the inside of our heads really look like …
    Love reading your musings. I have a record player sitting here in my living room and we still send it around in circles now and then. There are some things that are hard to get rid of.

    • Yes, I have the same feelings about many old records. They have become old friends. Even those that I’ve converted to digital files, still reveal their origins when I play them. You can actually hear the needle on the groove. Wishing you much pleasure from the music of old records, Karen.

  4. Looking at your photos, Shimon, made me think that this is what I need – a very big shed to store all the stuff -books, paper, photos, CDs etc – this so the house can breathe and the spiders have fewer surfaces upon which to weave their webs and trail the dust about. Much as I love books, they can start taking over, and so many of the larger ones are much easier to read in Kindle format. They are magic aren’t they – kindles.

    • Yes, Tish, I’ve often thought that as time has gone by, my physical presence here on this earth has grown to include the many books and other possessions that I’ve gathered along the way… and has become something like a snail’s shell… feeling sometimes a bit heavy and unwieldy. Here, our homes often include a ‘store room’ where such things are kept after they no longer have a day to day function. But in the case of my books… they haven’t reached the store room yet. However, in my new home, I have a very large book cabinet with glass doors through which I can see the titles, but the books remain protected from dust and spiders. I agree that the Kindle format is much easier to deal with.

  5. Shimon, you ‘kindle’ thoughts so well…it’s absolutely amazing thinking of all the changes around all of us. I’ve adapted well to CD’s, computers, etc but oh, I love books around me! And parting with one is difficult at times! Thank you for the stroll through your new surroundings…enjoy!

  6. Shimon,
    Your posts always make me think and this one was no exception. I love your photos of the “book barn.” I agree, with your sentiment here and my own interpretation is that life moves and I’m happier and more content when I move with it! I enjoy my digital devices, from my Nikon D600 to my iPhone to my little Bluetooth speaker system, but there are a few times when I still enjoy picking up a book and feeling it in my hands (and digital media don’t emit olfactory stimuli either!). All,the best to you and your human and feline friends.
    Cathy

    • Thanks very much for your good wishes, Cathy. Like yourself, I try to go with the flow and adapt to the changes around me. But I have to admit, that as I grow older, there are some changes that are difficult for me. We lose some of our flexibility in old age. Still, I have been successful in many cases, integrating old and new. And I am happy to say that life has been getting better and better as time passes.

  7. Dear Shimon, I am trying incredibly hard to embrace a coming change with the wisdom and insight that I have been exposed to here, and given my age, one might think it would be easier to do, but it simply isn’t. Thank you again for your encouragement…your example.

    • It is always a pleasure to share my experiences with you, Scott, as it is to learn from yours, and to enjoy your writing and photography both. It seems to me that people often have the expectation that everyone is much the same… and I don’t agree with that. Each of us has his own personality and talents, and what is easy for many, may be exceedingly difficult for others, regardless of age. It is good when people have more tolerance for individual tastes and eccentricities. Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Last week when you shared the photos of your new home, I almost asked if you had found a comfortable place for your books. In my new home, which was smaller than the one before, I ended up giving away several boxes of books because I simply didn’t have enough space for them all. I did manage to fill one large bookcase in my living room, and told myself that I wouldn’t keep more books than could fit in that one case, and I mostly kept true to that idea. Well, mostly. There are still some other books that are tucked away in drawers that are about writing, and even with those, I only kept my five favorites about the subject at hand.

    I think we share a similarity in that my move to a smaller place meant that I had to sift through the things I owned, and decide which things meant the most to me, and let go of much of the rest. In my case, I donated boxes and boxes of kitchen goods and other various household items, but when it came to the books … well, it was harder to let them go. I ended up moving several boxes of books to the new place, and then, once there, I had to face the fact that the books were either going to be stuck in a box indefinitely, or I would need to let them go. There simply wasn’t enough space for them. So I sifted through them again, and then again, and finally ended up with probably just over a hundred books, all neatly tucked into that one bookcase. The rest? All donated to charity. Letting them go was hard, but also brought a sort of sense of relief. I’m finding that in my new place, I’ve grown to appreciate less clutter and more open space.

    Going through those adjustments was difficult. Everything around me changed, and even though there were many advantages in the new place, it still took me a while to settle in and appreciate where I was, rather than mourn what I had lost. Many times I’ve reached for something that wasn’t there, only to remember that it ended up in the donate pile. But after almost a year in my new place, I am glad to say that I’ve resisted the urge to fill up every nook and cranny, and my home is still filled with light and space.

    As you mentioned about your new place, there are also some spots in my new home that have little or no natural light. In those rooms, I’ve finally just accepted that fact, and although I’ve added a touch of light here and there by using reflective surfaces or mirrors and lamps, for the most part, those rooms are still fairly dark. It gives me choices about where to spend my time – in front of the large bank of windows in the dining room where the sunlight can pour through, or tucked back in another room where the only light is what is reflected off the glass surface of the photos hanging on the walls. My new space has grown smaller, true … but overall, I think it has helped me expand my ideas about what is needed to be happy.

    In that way, I hope your new place will open up new opportunities for you to find a peaceful and happy life, and that it will surround you with enough familiarity to make you feel at ease, even while asking that you adapt to your new surroundings. A place to rest our heads and cook our meals, and enough room for our pet companions and a few of our books. Home.

    • I truly admire your resolve to minimize your holdings, N. There have been times in my life when I went the same route with other possessions. But I has been too hard for me to part from books. And you’re quite right about re-evaluating belongings during a move. It can be a very difficult exercise. But it’s necessary. And as you say, an uncluttered living space is a luxury in itself. I hope that I too will be well adjusted after a year. I think I’ll be spending most of my time in the well lit parts of the home. But I have also used artificial lighting to bring more light to the darker spots. I don’t care much for mirrors, and there is only one in my home; that in the bathroom. And though in my case, the move wasn’t to a smaller home, I can say with surety, that I do enjoy small places and a compact living style. I think I could be quite happy in an old fashioned shack, preferable in some nature retreat. I loved the way you described a person’s needs in regard to home. Thanks very much for your comment.

  9. I have carried around certain books with me for years. We are funny people..some of us, I hold on to books or other things. I guess they represent something important in my hearts. When we moved from California, I did downsize somewhat. There is freedom in it. I worked in a library for several books and I was always dragging used books home. Enjoy the change..Shimon!

    • For many years, the library was my second home, and to this day I feel a great intimacy when I visit the library. Unfortunately, they are becoming less popular these days, and are open less hours than they used to be. But I suppose we have to learn to accept that. Thanks for your comment, Roberta.

      • I vaguely remember the library that I went to a child/teen. I recall the wood circulation desk, the wood card catalog files.I don’t think my mother ever went, so I am not sure when my first visit to Welwood Murray Library was in Palm Springs , CA. If I did not go often as a child I was a little bookworm and loved when we went to the school library. It’s hard to keep up with change…

  10. Books… and music… and and photographs too 🙂 what they make a home, home! with smelling coffee or tea… and homemade cooking… I can almost understand you dear Shimon, the difficult part is while we are moving in another home, to carry them. In one of my moving (that was the last time) I gifted some of my books to a village library… This made me to feel better
    to leave from my books… (I did because there wasn’t enough place for them) but do you know what happened then, in the home, now there isn’t enough place for us… I filled again with books… 🙂

    Thank you dear Shimon, always so nice to read you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • I think it wonderful, Nia, that you gave some of your books to a library. That is truly a communal treasure in every city and village. And I always felt most comfortable in a library. I am sure we’ve had many of the same experiences in our moves. I’m hoping that I will be able to adjust fully in the near future. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Your photos in this post made my heart happy…I love places like this. I have slowly let go of a lot of books, and now read mostly on a Nook. Will bookshelves in a home soon become a thing of the past?

    • Very glad that we were able to share our common love of books, Angeline. So many happy hours were spent in libraries and book stores. And now, one room of my new home has been dedicated to books. I doubt that the younger generation will have such sentiments. But I am sure they will continue to read, and love to learn.

  12. I’ve read all of the comments in this thread, after reading the post and I have a warm feeling at how many of us share these common experiences. I also know that our objects have a link to our personal narratives in life…sometimes it’s not about accumulation of objects for the sake of POSSESSION…but an accumulation of memories that connect us to one particular story. I love your writing and your photography so much, Shimon. It is a part of me that I treasure. Thank you

    • Yes, there is a big difference between accumulating objects as a collector, and treasuring certain objects that have enriched our spirit. Thank you, Kathleen for pointing that out. And thank you for your kind words about my writing and photography. It is wonderful to be able to share our thoughts and feelings. And I do enjoy very much your own enthusiasm for art and communication.

  13. For almost the entire blog, I was going to tell you (admit, as it were) that I am much more messy than you. And then you tell me it’s a book store. I spent the high majority of my life reading technical journals on medicine and surgery. No, I’m not ashamed to say I’ve only read probably less than 10 otherwise books…fiction…Jaws, Aku Akui…and I listened to(for first and so far, only time) Dan Browns Da Vinci Code. My vocabulary is seriously restricted because of my reading and so I follow you and others like you to glean what I can…..and I Thank You for that. I must add that the new technology could probably store every one of those books in that store…one just ONE dvd! With the new technology, one can even have the books read to him. Wonderful. Would you know about Edgar Caycee?

    • I don’t know much about Edgar Cayce. But I have read a little about his work and his advice and prophesy while under hypnosis, and it all sounds very interesting. Since he was a very modest man, and tried to help others for free, I have nothing but respect for him. In general, though, my thinking follows the words of Isaac Newton, who said, “I stand on the shoulders of those who stood before me”. I think that in general, most of mankind’s most worthwhile knowledge was gained by continuous methodology in which every generation added to the body of knowledge, and our collective understanding of the world grew more quickly with time. However, there have been some rare cases when a particular individual was able to push us forward with his own personal genius. Ultimately, knowledge and wisdom is tested by time. Thanks for your comment, Bob. I might be a little neater than you in some respects. But I am sure I would feel very comfortable in your immediate environs.

  14. Och, I like paper, I like holding a book. I am not a Luddite. Like you, I can read on a computer, a tablet or a kindle. They though, they must be interspersed with perusing and reading books. I love the flexibility you have with a book; it is almost possible to visually replicate the turning of the page with an ipad, (some people call it twee, I don’t) however, you cannot ‘shuffle’ the pages to find something, in any of the electronic devices I have access to. I would not be sad about the book ‘vault’ you found, it is full of hope. It allows esoteric works, unheard of books to be digitised and saved in digital and book forms. Those pictures give a tempting view of a great place for a rummage for written treasures.

    If you have ever read The Shadow Of The Wind’ by Ruiz Zafon, he takes his reader to an underworld of saved books which serves interesting purposes. (I wouldn’t recommend the second book in that series).

    • Yes, there are some very specific advantages to printed books. And what I like most about them is that it is easy to share them. With the Kindle, this is a problem. And you’re quite right, It is a lark… and a great adventure to go browsing such a book barn. And were I not pulled away, I would probably still be there, searching some of the more exotic titles. I bought ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’ after it was recommended to me, and read only one chapter and lost interest. But since it has been recommended a number of times, I’ve decided to go back and read it to the end. Thanks for the comment, Menhir.

  15. Ah…the barn full of books is a place I would love to visit and get lost in. I have a copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, it belonged to my father.
    I have lots of books, far too many and I know I shall have to part with some of them, but somehow never seem to manage it.
    I have enjoyed following your journey, with all it’s up and downs and now a new chapter is unfolding….I wonder where it shall lead, into good adventures I think.xxx

    • Another instance of similarity between your father and myself. I can understand how difficult it is to part from books. Here’s to interesting and amusing adventures in the future, Dina. I wouldn’t complain if they were a little less intensive than the recent ones. Always very happy to have you along for the fun. xxx

  16. Shimon, your writing skills are a wonder, and your photography skills are an innate gift – in addition to the proficiency you’ve developed along the way. Among the posts, I see words from a few of my kindred spirits – those of us who still love the sensation of books in our hands. We’re indeed a vanishing breed. I refust to let go of the reading of hard copy books and have yet to bring an e-reader into my home. I, however, don’t totally live in the past and have an iPhone, iPad, and iPod. There are nine computers in this house (my husband tinkers with the older ones). I love the Interenet and my email friends. I text occasionally, but prefer actually talking to friends face to face. I not only read book books, I receive a daily newspaper (though I have an online subscription, too). I even have a land line! I often feel I have a foot in two worlds – the old and the new, but does it bother me? Not one whit. I love it all! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Myra for your sweet comment. Yes, even in an open forum such as this, we find that like minds and common tastes bring people together. Fortunately there is an in between stage when society moves from one pattern to the next, so I suppose that for at least a generation, one will be able to enjoy hard copies. They haven’t made them illegal yet. And I’m glad to hear that you take advantage of some of the digital advantages. We still have the choice, and I believe that we should only adopt those changes that make us feel good. Enjoy the ride with a foot in both worlds. I feel much the same.

  17. Good morning Shimon….I agree with you that although moving and all that the disruption that comes with it can be challenging, in many ways we are taught so much about who we are…and what we really treasure in life. We are so fortunate to have grown with the new technology so that we can partake and enjoy the pleasures of this new age, and at the same time, still dip into a beautiful book when we desire to do so.
    Have a wonderful weekend with the glorious Nechame in your new home:)x

    • I agree with you, Janet, and am really thanksful that I’ve had the opportunity to watch this wonderful new age of digital turn human affairs in a slightly different direction. And like you, I believe that we may take advantage of all the many different pleasures and wisdom that have been contributed or designed in the past… that past that often remains in our backpack thanks to the inventions of mankind, such as the written word or other sorts of recordings. There is more art and spirit to share than we could possibly enjoy in a lifetime… and so we all have endless choices. Thank you very much for your good wishes to both myself and Nechama. I think we are both very grateful for the way things have turned out. xxx

  18. I think I must “move” more easily than most old folks. I am never nostalgic for what was. I want to see what is in front of me and anticipate what is to come. My mother used to say that the only people who had no more problems to solve lived in the cemetery. She was eager to discover new things as long as she lived. She died at ninety-five. She lived in her home in NC for fifty years. When she left to come to Texas, she locked the door, got in the car, and never looked back. I think I must have inherited that outlook on life. I know you and Nechama will enjoy your new home with the view! Getting things the way you want them is frustrating, but you’ll be settled into a routine very soon. Enjoy the view, Shimon!

    • Actually, I believe I’m not a nostalgic person. I don’t think about my past much; don’t long for the good old days… But I do get very attached to some of my tools, and to certain possessions that I’ve had for a long time. I too, admire your mother’s ability to close the door and go on to new things. I’ve closed the door on a number of chapters in my life the same way. But in the case of my old home, it was quite hard to tear myself from it… so much of my life was there. And I did expect to die there. Now I’m ready to continue my life in a new place, and am thankful for what I’ve received. How lucky that you’ve inherited your mother’s determination, George. And thank you very much for sharing that story with me.

  19. Life is continuous change, not always easy. We can only do our best to adjust, but I think you are doing marvellously well! Good on you for tackling all these changes with such a positive attitude and energy. Enjoy your Kindle. I love mine.

    • Yes, I agree that life brings us continuous change. And of course, it’s in our best interest to go with the flow. I’ve been very lucky in that my life has gotten better and better over the years. And this last change has been for the better too. It was a little hard for me to get in the swing of things, because I thought I already had everything I needed. But it has worked out well. I do like my Kindle, and have many ebooks on my computer as well. Best wishes to you, Fatima, and may you have many wonderful hours enjoying a good read, as I do.

  20. i don’t know. an e-reader is cool, though you have to charge it up like the Frankenstein monster to get it going. a print book? well, they can be heavy, they can be clumsy, they can be expensive, and often bigger than any pocket i’ve ever had. but they always smile when i pick them up, and like a friendly neighbor, say, “don’t bother knockin’. just come right in.”

    • The one quality I really love about the traditional book on paper, is that we can share them over and over with others… which is a great advantage over the commercial ebook. But on the other hand, they do take space, and do attract dust. It’s good to be able to leaf through them to find a quotation, or to remember a passage. Speaking of people, some say that the real beauty is found inside. I think that’s true of books too. The beauty, I believe, is in the content. And whether it’s printed or stored as digital data does not make that much of a difference. In any case, enjoy your books, Marit. I do too. And I have many of the old kind. And they’ll stay with me as long as I live.

  21. I sometimes look at my childhood and think about all the things that children have now that we didn’t have. The technology that we have had to come to terms with, some of which would have been right out of the science fiction films of the early ’70’s. I know that my granddad would have loved the computer but laptops and pcs came along a little too late for him to be bothered with learning how to use them. He eventually just withdrew and immersed himself in films of the 30’s and 40’s, the modern world becoming too vulgar and fast paced for him to cope with. I wonder at what point this will be the same for me. I sometimes feel I’m there already, certainly I struggle with the trend towards a total lack of respect for others. As ever Shimon, a very enjoyable, thought provoking post!

  22. I love this post, Shimon. After a childhood filled with books, I had this dream of having a library to call my own when I eventually “grow up”.
    My bookshelf right now is rickety and falling apart, but I still pile more books on it. I was given a Kindle as a present and that opened my eyes to greater possibilities and books that are out of print. But I also love the ability to see words come to life with the flip of a page, feel the fragility of aging paper, and experience the joys of skimming through unexpectedly just to find a gem of a passage.
    Happy reading!

    • Yes, there are sensual pleasures to enjoy with books too. I have a rather large collection which includs a number of different languages, and both fiction and non fiction. It has been a great source of joy for me over the years. But now I have books on my computer as well as owning a Kindle. And I see these new ebooks as an addition to the possibilities… something that brings knowledge and pleasure, but I don’t look at them as a replacement for what I already have. Thanks for your comment, plumerainbow

  23. I love my electronics but I must admit I do love to hold and read an actual book. What’s becoming rarer is the small bookstore…you know the one you walk into and the floors creak and there’s a musty smell in the air. I miss those tremendously and when I do come across one in my travels I rend to get lost for hours.

    • We still have some very pleasant small book stores here in Jerusalem. Though I have to admit the large chain stores are pushing the little ones out. I think the financial aspects of publishing in paper will be the deciding factor for a lot of subjects in the book publishing world. But that there will be some areas where printed books will last. Wishing you many very wonderful hours of reading, Edith.

  24. Relieved to know these aree not your books

  25. I, too, thought that was your personal library at first and that was why it took so long to get your new home ready! Funny.

    Well, you know my ordeal over smartphones, but I have some favorite books in storage and even though my vision is too far gone to ever read them now, I don’t think I would part with them if I ever have a home again. I can’t read much more than a post or shorter newspaper article on my blown-up laptop and losing the ability to read due to my sight was a sad day for me. I think that some things can’t be replaced, like the smell of an old book or the cover that gives you a glimpse of what’s inside all those pages. An old book could take me right back to where I was in life when I read it. Can a Kindle really relay all that to the kids who will never know what a book is in due time?

    I don’t know, Shimon. I think sometimes it’s nice to have options in general so those of us who like the old version can stick with that and vice versa. I’m not a fan of the commercialism and waste of the West, so I’m a bit biased here but appreciate your take as you’ve traveled through the decades…

    • I am very happy for you, Leah, that the computer enables you to continue reading… despite the sorrow on your limitations because of what’s happening with your eyes. I have been recommending books recently, to a friend of mine. And I was just amazed to find out that most of the books were available as ebooks through the internet… for free! The internet has taken the place that the library used to fill in my youth. And for you, this could be quite an advantage. But I do agree that we shouldn’t close the door to the past, just because we have gotten a new toy. There are a lot of instruments and methods that belong to the past and can still offer us great advantages.

      • Agreed! I can’t see well enough for ebooks and I tried an audio book, but am just too much of a visual person by nature and my mind kept wandering. So, I guess I’ll have to throw reading anything more than a few paragraphs into the grave–and those posts I write take days which is why I don’t blog much.

        I do like Pandora for music, so one good thing that’s new and FREE!

        • I loved Pandora too, when I first discovered it. But then they informed me that they were limited to American music lovers, much to my regret. I haven’t found another site I like that much.

          • What do you mean, Shimon? I have a station with raï music: Maghrebi Arabic/French originally from Algeria if unfamiliar. Most Americans have never heard of it. Can you not access Pandora anymore in Israel, because they definitely have stations with music from all over the world. I just checked mine and I still have that station. Hmmm. I wonder what the issue is and hope you can find a solution…

  26. You expressed the sentiment that we may all have for books and musics. The changes of using the digital age are dramtic. You’re right, the adjustments for us are not small, thought it has been an incremental change. I have removed a lot of books from my shelves and I have only a few CDs. I,too, thought those were your books.

    • Yes, glad to relieve you of the worry. Though I do have very many books… it’s still not that much. But I do feel that the world will be very different with books stored away compactly on computer or hard disc. It’s much more fun to have free wall space to put pictures on display, or windows to gaze through. It seems to me, a great improvement. Thanks for your comment, Amy

  27. I’d love to go to such a place especially in wintertime.Stories make us human.And stories from other cultures are engrossing.The Hebrew book charms me.

    • Yes, I too was charmed by the idea of learning our language through cartoons. It’s usually considered a difficult language to learn, and books on the subject are usually heavy. This was so light and amusing. Thanks, Mary.

  28. When I was a teenager I used to visit the many used bookstores clustered near Union Square in New York. Almost all of them are now long gone, and they disappeared decades before the digital age that is now seeing the decline of many new bookstores. As you say, things keep changing.

    • I too, loved visiting bookshops, Steve. Both new and used. And living here in Jerusalem, there were so many, that I could make the rounds, and it would take me quite some time till I’d go back to revisit a shop once I’d been there. There were shops dedicated to certain subjects too. As you say, the used bookshops were the first to go. Though we still have quite a few in our town, one can feel that the offerings are fewer… that there is less variety. But meantime, a new world has opened up to us, with its many advantages.

  29. Shimon, Not everyone loses flexibility in old age, and neither have you, otherwise you would not have moved house, at all, believe me! I’m certainly not inflexible, witness all the changes in my life (I won’t regale you) and the constant moves into new homes. I’ve enjoyed it all as it feeds the explorer in me and teaches me things, just like you! In fact, reading this post, I’m amused at how alike we are — especially with the love of books and music, which constitute the bulk of my physical possessions. However, I do not see myself as a conservative, that’s where we differ! 😉

    • You’re right, Janina. Though I do feel that even if I haven’t lost my flexibility, it has been reduced. There were times when I could adapt much easier than I can these days. All the same, I am still grateful to learn new things, and for the many new experiences that enrich my life. And yes, I feel that we do share some significant similarities. As for the issue of conservative attitudes. Such things are very relative. I am sure that most of the young would see me as being conservative. But there are others who would see me as radical in some ways. Such things can only be judged within a given context.

  30. Dear Shimon,
    I have a weakness for books, and so do my kids. I love to turn them loose at a used book store and see what treasures they find!

    • Yes, I have a similar weakness for books. But I’m sorry I didn’t introduce my kids to used bookshops. I used to take them to libraries, and they learned to love them too. But there used to be a lot of used bookshops here in Jerusalem, and for some reason I never introduced them to my children. Now they’re less of those shops around. I think we’re beginning to see the move from paper books to ebooks. Thanks for your comment, Naomi.

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