One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in Israel was how much I took certain things in the U. S. for granted, even with my rose-colored glasses focused on my new home of Israel. One of those things was easy access to novels in English. How precious they quickly became.
Where were all of Israel's library's? Did we really have to pay a huge fee to join a university library, or sneak into one and only be able to read books there? Was I going to have to buy everything new, and at new prices?
A few of the 20 or so English-speakers in the merkaz qelitah (absorbtion center) where I lived in Tel-Aviv, found a used bookstore, and would buy a few books pass them around, then sell them back. That was in addition to what each of us had brought with us from the U. S., Canada, and the U. K. I survived for two years, thanks to this local book exchange.
About a year ago, I started the Israeli Book Exchange on the social networking site dedicated to books, GoodReads.com. Credit goes to Irina of Ignoble Experiment for introducing me to this site in the first place. (Don't forget to wish Irina a Mazal Tov for graduating law school!)
After forgetting about this group for a year, I received an e-mail from fellow oleh (immigrant) in Haifa, asking if the group was still active. I had no idea. I thought that I would receive e-mail notifications about the group's activity. Apparently not. I have to check into adjusting the notification settings.
Anyway, now that I have been visiting the group more regularly, I see that we're up to 12 members, including at least four JBloggers you will undoubtedly recognize.
So far, members have been discussing their tastes in literature and helping each other find the best used bookstores in their areas (Jerusalem, Modi'in, Beth Shemesh, Petah Tiqwah, Nahariah, etc.)
Plus, if you join GoodReads, you will be able one of their cool widgets (see above) to your site!
So, if you live in Israel, or are coming to visit, please join this group, and meet others who share your taste in books, and who may even live around the corner.
Please help spread the word, too!