UK’s Independent ranks Tel Aviv as top literary town
The write city

UK’s Independent ranks Tel Aviv as top literary town

Known for its collection of poets, streets named for literary lights, and beaches with lending libraries, the city by the sea ranks high for readers

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the mobile library. (photo credit: Malovani Israel)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the mobile library. (photo credit: Malovani Israel)

We’re known as the People of the Book, and it turns out Tel Aviv is seen as the city of readers.

According to a top ten list compiled for World Book Day 2018 by The Independent, Tel Aviv ranks up there with Paris, Dublin, and Seoul as one of the best literary cities, thanks to its streets named after famous writers, and that it is home to poets Rachel Bluwstein and Chaim Bialik, whose former house is a regular stop — and a city museum — on city tours.

Tel Aviv beaches even offer lending libraries with books in multiple languages, given that warm sand and a beach chair — or towel — is a great spot for a read.

Writer Lilit Marcus (whose name has a decidedly Hebrew ring) recommended Etgar Keret’s “The Nimrod Flipout” as a good read when in Tel Aviv, and, as the beloved Keret is a Tel Aviv dweller, that makes sense too.

The three-story reading room planned for the new National Library of Israel, with a massive skylight in the roof. (Courtesy The National Library of Israel)

As long as we’re talking about literary cities, we’ll give a mention to Jerusalem, another reading mecca, with its own collection of literary lights, including S.Y. Agnon, Yehuda Amichai, A.B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, and others.

The city has some magical spots for sitting, reading, and contemplating.

There’s the National Library, with its new incarnation under construction,  although the existing building offers a very quiet reading room for scholars of all stripes.

A reading corner at Tmol Shilshom is dedicated to the late poet Yehuda Amichai. His favorite armchair is still there. (Courtesy)

For a cozy reading spot, try Tmol Shilshom, the beloved cafe named for a famed story by Jerusalem’s Nobel Prize-winning writer S.Y. Agnon. You can also head to his house in Talpiot on Klausner Street, named for the grouchy historian Josef Klausner who lived just up the block.

There’s a great shady bench right outside, overlooking the view to the Dead Sea beyond.

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