Saturday, June 14, 2003

They always seem to catch you mid-track while you're cheerfully going about your business, don't they, these terrorist attacks? Actually there is a good way to look at this. It probably means you are usually cheerfully going about your business, so you are usually cheerful. Being stopped mid-track gives you an opportunity to see this. Unless it's you or yours being blown up.

I've been having this niggling feeling for the last few weeks about the Road Map and the rewarding terrorism thing, that I haven't wanted to put into words. I still don't, really. I'd rather just be swept along with events and hope the guys upstairs are devious and conniving enough bastards to ultimately be able to make sure the ship doesn't sink.

This week is Hebrew Book Week in Israel. There are book fairs in every town and books are sold everywhere for big discounts. There is always a frenzy of book buying. I read a statistic that, on average, Israelis buy five and a half books a year. This made me smile. I probably buy five and a half books a week. Not that I get round to reading them all, and most of them are for the girls anyway. This statistic is actually rather sad, because given people like me, and there are a lot of us, although just as many take books out of their local libraries (we do too), and considering that the religious and the Russian immigrants are big book buying groups, it means a lot of people never ever buy a book. Not even a cookery book.

They were selling books in the supermarket and I noticed they had Agatha Christies. Now all through my teens I was an Agatha Christie nut. I gobbled her books up. I had this standing bet with myself that I should guess whodunit by page thirty and I got quite good at this. So I've been looking around to find some for Eldest, thinking it's about time to get her acquainted, her being such an avid reader.

Buying books in the supermarket is problematic. The chance they are going to get home not smeared by some foodstuff or other or just with all the pages bent is slim, not to mention having to schlep them along with all the other stuff you have to schlep anyway. But I couldn't fight it. I scooped up a copy of every Christie on offer in the place. There were six in all, and bigger and heavier than their English language counterparts. When I got to the checkout the cashier in the next register along noticed I had all those books and flipped. She was just so excited and she went on and on about what a good deal it was and how much more expensive they were at the book fair and what great books they were. I was half way home and she was still shouting after me, "They're classics, I tell you, absolute classics". Well, okay. At least she reads.

Eldest, a very polite child who seemed very grateful to get them, hasn't given them a second look, not to mention actually reading them. Grrrrr. I just know she'd love them and wouldn't be able to put them down once she started on the first. Bish was delighted, though, and said he must read them all again. Apparently he was also hooked as a teenager.

The book fair in Tel Aviv always used to be in Kikar Rabin, which was great because it meant we could walk (no chance to find parking). Now they've moved it to the park. It must be for security reasons, Kikar Rabin is more difficult to enclose, or maybe to ease up on the traffic congestion and parking problems. I was once meant to start a yoga course on Book Week in a yoga center a few blocks away from Kikar Rabin. It was late evening and I naively came in the car. I drove round and round and round, amid droves of crazed book buyers also searching for parking and in the end gave up and went home.

They now plan to renovate Kikar Rabin and add a big car park underneath. So the environmentalists are staging this big public struggle against it. Beats me. I think a car park underneath Kikar Rabin would be great. The environmentalist mustn't live in Tel Aviv.