Don't be square, read a book

Turn off your TV and get off line - Book Week begins on June 10.

books 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
books 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Every week is book week for Dori Parnes, whose Hebrew translation of Hama Tuma's The Case of the Socialist Witchdoctor has just been published by Ahuzat Bayit. Currently in "recovery" after completing James Joyces's Ulysses, he is working up to Finnegan's Wake by reading two books about Joyce, while relaxing with an adaptation of Norse mythology by Tolkien and Swift's Battle of the Books. For those of us who need more encouragement to read, Book Week is held from June 10-20, with a plethora of events throughout the country. Asked if he is planning to read anything in Hebrew, Parnes replied, "Yes, the one I am dreaming of translating next: Raymond Chandler's letters. I translated Flaubert's letters and despite the difference in period and genre - Chandler writes detective stories - they write about literature in the same way. I wouldn't have imagined that this is what he would write about literature." As one book inevitably leads to another, Parnes came to read Chandler via Daniel Pennac's Comme Un Roman, a book about the pleasure of reading and how to transmit a love of reading to children. Pennac's advice is to read aloud as much as possible, even to teenagers, as he does with his high school students. Timely advice, as there are readings galore for children and adults during Book Week, which offers ample opportunities to enjoy books in almost every way imaginable. Storytelling, lectures, readings, theatrical and music events will take place in eight cities and 40 towns throughout the country. Jerusalem's main events will return to Gan Hapa'amon, with poets and writers giving readings at several cafés during the week. Discounts abound and cities such as Beersheba, Rishon Lezion and Haifa are taking an ecological perspective on the annual event by setting up stands for second hand books in addition to sales of new books. Celebrating Tel Aviv's centennial, book week will take place in Rabin Square with hundreds of stands and children's activities - every evening from 6 p.m. In the "World Tent - Read and Succeed," under the auspices of Bank Hapoalim and the artistic direction of Yossi Alfi, an impressive list of children's authors will be on hand nightly to entertain and instruct. Among the participating authors are: Yehuda Atlas, Michal Snunit, Dorit Rabinyan and Shlomo Abbas. In Beersheba a "browsing corner" will entice young readers alongside other creative activities, such as a "pool" of rhyming words. In the spirit of multiculturalism, Mayor Rubik Danilovich will preside over an evening of poetry in Russian. In Haifa, there is something for everyone. A series of lectures, such as Dr. Rubik Rosental discussing the "Future of Hebrew," is offered in the mornings, with a talent contest for teens in the evenings. Rishon Lezion has an intriguing line up of people and events, with Meir Shalev speaking on June 9, a celebration of Hebrew culture at the museum on the 11, and David D'or performing in front of the municipal building on June 13. One highlight in the literary array is a presentation on legendary playwright Hanoch Levin by Prof. Shimon Levy, Prof. Nurit Ya'ari and actor Shimon Mirman at Yad Lebanim on June 18. As for Parnes, whose translation of Hama Tuma is likely to be one of the few books in Hebrew with an Ethiopian author available during book week, as the interview concluded he was still busy listing the new books he had just bought and is planning to read: three volumes of Nathan Zach's collected and new poems, the first volume of David Avidan's complete poems and the complete poems of Hezi Leskly. For more information about Book Week in your city, visit The writer blogs at