Tag Archives: book

Agada – The Only Bookstore in Acre

Inside Agada

Inside Agada

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” 

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

This is the only bookstore in Acre. Well, the only real bookstore. The owner named it ‘Agada’ meaning ‘Legend’ in Hebrew, and legend it is. For keeping a bookstore in Acre IS legendary. Not long ago there wasn’t any bookstore around for almost two decades. It felt like I was living in a remote, god forsaken little village. I had to travel to other towns in order to visit a bookstore. Later I discovered that I could buy secondhand books online, from various bookstores throughout the country. Thus begun the rapid, increasing evolution of my book collection. Today I own more than 250 volumes and going. But nothing can compare to the exciting adventure of arriving at a real magical place, packed from top to bottom, with endless old books.

The owner of Agada

The owner of Agada

This man is doing the impossible – he keeps a bookstore in Acre. If we had bookstores instead of every restaurant or clothing store, we would be the city of books. Unfortunately, the locals don’t read anymore. His audience is Russian immigrants like himself and myself. The survivors of a communist regime, where ironically enough culture, education and books were the essence of a person’s life. The only ones who regularly consume literature are middle-aged, retired pensioners. The owner gets the goods from Russian publishers in Moscow. Those books are new and pricey but they are being bought nonetheless. He also buys secondhand books from locals and sells them for a low price. Books you’d never find anywhere else. In addition Agada functions as a library. If you buy one expensive book, you can then take another book for 5 ins, read it and return it and then take another one for 5 ins. But all this is not enough to keep the book engine fueled and running. To keep a bookstore in Acre you need the tough guerrilla reinforcement – guided tours. The owner offers tours around the country and abroad, for a reasonable price and flexible payment, otherwise unavailable to many elderly immigrants who don’t have a credit card. This is not just a bookstore, this is a cultural and intellectual center, the only place in Acre where true enthusiastic book lovers can interact.

The entrance to Agada

The entrance to Agada

I visit Agada once a month or more, to catch up on what’s new. The place is small and doesn’t have a great variety, but sometimes, if you’re patient you can find real gems. Agada offers classical literature, fantasy, poetry, art and crafts and how-to books, specialized magazines, dictionaries and encyclopedias. Also the store has the Holy Land souvenirs, post cards, calendars, gifts, gadgets, sports equipment and more.

Recently I have come across this splendid album series of art books and purchased the three about Russian masterpieces and artists. This subject is extremely hard to find in bookstores in Israel.

A set of books about Russian art, purchase at Agada

A set of books about Russian art, purchase at Agada

Many have tried and failed in keeping a bookstore in Acre, but this man has done it for some years now, despite of the great hardships and challenges. I can only offer him my utmost respect and strongest support in this endeavor, wishing him the best of luck and a bright bookful future. For his sake, and ours, the few readers of Acre.

Contact Agada bookstore: rash12@walla.com, a_skalt@mail.ru

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Books are dead, long live books: a visit to John Sandoe Books, London | Our Next Sunrise

“Every book on your shelf is a piece of your mental furniture,” he muses. “They are powerful repositories of our sense of self. Something like Kindle is never going to take that over.”

via Books are dead, long live books: a visit to John Sandoe Books, London | Our Next Sunrise.

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I never had and never will have a damn ebook reader!

This is a part of one of my bookcases in my study.

Book collecting

Book collecting is the collecting of books, including seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever books are of interest to a given individual collector. The love of books is bibliophilia, and someone who loves to read, admire, and collect books is a bibliophile.

via Book collecting – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Nowadays you can easily read online free ebooks with an iPad, iPhone, computer, ebook reader, loan from the library or from a friend. So why still bother and buy books at all? There are many reasons why people buy and collect things in general, and books in particular. Here”s an expert’s opinion that I appreciate:


Why collect books now, when I just got an iPad?

We are clearly emerging from what will be seen as a Golden Age of Publishing and book production, both in the UK and the United States, which has been booming for the last sixty years but now seems to be changing, like the music industry.  With the advent of the Kindle, the iPad etc., it is inevitable that much of traditional book publishing is starting to shift to downloadable formats, away from paper and printer\’s ink.  If this is true, I think that now is the time, for those of us who care about books, to start to make a collection of the ones we love, precisely because it looks like there is going to be less of them, in the future.

Real books vs. e-books?  Hardback vs. paperback?

Real books are fascinating to handle and decorative to display in a way that a small, flat screen can never be.  Most hardcover books, if printed on acid-free paper and kept away from damp, last astonishingly well, over many decades.  (Paperbacks are much more of a problem for collectors, as the lesser paper quality usually means they yellow with time, and their glued bindings will eventually crack and split down the spine.)  Each book becomes a time capsule for the year it was produced, summing up a design aesthetic, in addition to the actual words.

via WHY COLLECT BOOKS NOW? – Christopher de Lotbinière’s rare books.

This is why I buy, collect, store and maintain books for a few years now:

  1. ebooks. The sole though of a cold, irritating modern projected light of a screen, interrupted by black pixels that represent letters makes my mind ache. I absolutely and utterly detest it. Working all day with a computer screen, 5 days a week is much more than enough. Consequently, all ebooks available in the world – are worthless to me.
  2. Loaning books from a library seems like the best idea. It’s economical, you have a great variety and you save storage space. The only thing is that it’s actually a bad idea that causes me great inconvenience. You get a book from the library, put it on your cabinet, it waits patiently for some attention but you have no time to reach it during the week. By the time you finally decide to pick it up and read, you have to give it back, or else… If I wasn’t working, that would’ve been great. In a previous blurb I described how being a teenager I craved to own the books I liked. And I do own every single one of them now. It’s like owning a part of the world, a time-capsule of ideas.
  3. Loaning to or from a friend. This is a whole issue. Let’s just put it this way – NEVER! Never will I loan from a friend or loan to a friend. The few times it happened, books just disappeared. Like ghosts. Books are precious to me and I don’t loan any precious things to nobody.
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On Reading | Frankly Speaking

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

Cicero, (Attributed)

He liked all books, because he liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head.

John Green, An Abundance of Katherines, 2008

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Sir Richard Steele

via On Reading | Frankly Speaking.

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If there’s anything that still exists and stays with you after you die, it’s ideas.


Alberto Manguel’s book cover “A History of Reading”, Hebrew edition, 2001.

“Blurb and stuff” is my first attempt at serious blogging. The only thing that can keep me hooked on blogging is books. The goal is to share my individual interests, thoughts, ideas etc. with other people and learn from them. Because true, massive learning is gained only by brainstorming with other people. Too bad if I won’t have any readers to interact with…

So, how do I interest people and why would they read my blurbs and stuff? Don’t know, but if I think about what I would want to read in a blog then it’s about someone like me, someone’s personal experiences in reading, writing, collecting, thoughts and opinions, everything that has to do with books. I wish myself good luck! My surroundings do not contain many people who are interested in the same things as I am. Israelis read a lot, but they mostly read the new best-sellers, and it’s not interesting to me. We are after all the People of the Book, but somehow I do not know personally in real life any Israeli bibliophile such as myself.

I’m interested in a lot of stuff, but more specific issues are: art and art history, ancient history and cultures, illustration, calligraphy, classic literature, maps, languages and reading books as a an issue on its own. I’ll be presenting books and topics mostly from my own humble collection, which contains till now more than 250 books, stored happily in 2 large bookcases and grows lovingly more and more each month.

So many books, so little time. Unfortunately I can’t spend as much time reading as I would like to, also I’m not a fast reader. My romance with a book I’m reading is slow but extremely satisfying. I have to fully absorb and understand the essence of a sentence, otherwise it’s not worth reading. You can get tons of information, knowledge and ideas from everywhere, but I just love to get it out of a book. A book to me, is an organic tool for containing and preserving live ideas. It’s something about the hard cover, binding, the paper and its scent, the ink and printed letters, the old-fashioned illustrations and ornaments that makes the spiritual action of idea transfer into an outer bodily adventure.

* the image is from Alberto Manguel’s book cover “A History of Reading” (1996), the Hebrew edition (2001). One of my greatest favorites. It depicts  with sensitivity and humor the great Argentinian Author Jorge Luis Borges.

This is not a quick read, or a particularly easy one, but rather one that acts like a religious pilgrimage, cultivating the patience and curiosity that are perhaps waning in an age of instant gratification. It introduces you to a many colourful family members you didn’t know you had.

via A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel | The Keepin’ It Real Book Club.

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