Yes­ter­day, David Ehrlich wrote about the shared cul­ture, lan­guage, and fate of Israelis. He has been blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

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 US, 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-café 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.