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The House of Twenty Thousand Books
The House of Twenty Thousand Books | Sasha Abramsky
16 posts | 3 read | 30 to read
Named one ofKirkus's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015The House of Twenty Thousand Books is the story of Chimen Abramsky, an extraordinary polymath and bibliophile who amassed a vast collection of socialist literature and Jewish history. For more than fifty years Chimen and his wife, Miriam, hosted epic gatherings in their house of books that brought together many of the ages greatest thinkers. The atheist son of one of the centurys most important rabbis, Chimen was born in 1916 near Minsk, spent his early teenage years in Moscow while his father served time in a Siberian labor camp for religious proselytizing, and then immigrated to London, where he discovered the writings of Karl Marx and became involved in left-wing politics. He briefly attended the newly established Hebrew University in Jerusalem, until World War II interrupted his studies. Back in England, he married, and for many years he and Miriam ran a respected Jewish bookshop in Londons East End. When the Nazis invaded Russia in June 1941, Chimen joined the Communist Party, becoming a leading figure in the partys National Jewish Committee. He remained a member until 1958, when, shockingly late in the day, he finally acknowledged the atrocities committed by Stalin. In middle age, Chimen reinvented himself once more, this time as a liberal thinker, humanist, professor, and manuscripts expert for Sothebys auction house. Journalist Sasha Abramsky re-creates here a lost world, bringing to life the people, the books, and the ideas that filled his grandparents house, from gatherings that included Eric Hobsbawm and Isaiah Berlin to books with Marxs handwritten notes, William Morris manuscripts and woodcuts, an early sixteenth-century Bomberg Bible, and a first edition of Descartess Meditations. The House of Twenty Thousand Books is a wondrous journey through our times, from the vanished worlds of Eastern European Jewry to the cacophonous politics of modernity.The House of Twenty Thousand Booksincludes 43 photos.
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BarbaraBB
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#20booksby2020

I made it halfway through the challenge so far. Three more months for 10 books. It does sound easy!

megnews 👏👏👏 I‘ve got 8, working on my 9th now. Too easily distracted by so many other great books. (edited) 2w
Cinfhen Way to go!!! It‘s great having a “concrete” plan, although I have read some books not on my “list” 2w
Cinfhen I‘m super curious about that memoir 2w
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Cinfhen Oh, YOU read Shotgun LoveSong???? Isn‘t it great?!!? 2w
BarbaraBB @megnews I read many others too, I doubt I will even make these 20 but so far so good! 2w
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen It was a pick for me, but not a five star one! 2w
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Cinfhen
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#20BooksBy2020
I‘ve completed 10 books❣️❣️❣️
Enjoyed most of them🤩
Favorite so far; On Earth We‘re Briefly Gorgeous

megnews 👏 👏 👏 2w
suzie.reads Well done 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2w
Cinfhen Thanks @megnews @suzie.reads It feels good to whittle down your TBR from books that you own 😊 2w
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Crazeedi 👏👏 nice! 2w
BarbaraBB Very good! And such great choices. I just bought a copy of 2w
bcncookbookclub Impressive👏👏👏📚 2w
TrishB Well done 👍🏻 2w
97 likes8 comments
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Cinfhen
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#20BooksBy2020 📚📚📚📚📚 I saw this hashtag the other day and thought it was a great way to whittle down my physical #TBR before January 1.
I have 14 weeks to make it happen😊
Just hoping I stick to these 20!
5 are ARC‘s, 2 are for IRL bookclub and the rest are calling to me😉

Mdargusch The Break 🤦🏼‍♀️ 1mo
erzascarletbookgasm Good luck! 👍💪❤️ 1mo
TrishB Cool 👍🏻 I‘m hoping to get to 3 of these, maybe soon! 1mo
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LeahBergen I can‘t plan more than two ahead. 😆 1mo
MicheleinPhilly You and Ducks! 😂 *insert gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn* This is gonna be good. 1mo
Kalalalatja I‘m interested in a lot of these! Can‘t wait to see what you think 🙌 (edited) 1mo
megnews So glad you joined in! I‘m such a mood reader I‘ve only finished 5 but I‘m still trying to get my 20 done! 1mo
Cinfhen Thanks @megnews we‘ll see how it actually goes but I‘m happy to at least have a goal in my mind! I‘ll keep you posted @Kalalalatja @LeahBergen @rather_be_reading @erzascarletbookgasm 1mo
Cinfhen @Mdargusch did you not like 1mo
Cinfhen Which 3 @TrishB ??? Maybe we can buddy them!!??!? 1mo
Cinfhen What‘s the over/under page number before I bail on Ducks 🦆 @MicheleinPhilly ???? 1mo
CarolynM Great idea, but I'd never stick to the list I made😂 1mo
Cinfhen Well, my first few will hopefully be the ARC‘s @CarolynM 🤞🏽🤞🏽 1mo
TrishB I will read Testaments soon (not brought yet!), Celestial Bodies and On Earth We‘re Briefly Gorgeous I have ready 😁 let me know when you‘re reading them and I‘ll join in! 1mo
Cinfhen You wanna start On Earth this weekend??? @TrishB 1mo
TrishB Sounds like a plan 👍🏻 probably be Sunday as it‘s moving day Saturday and I don‘t want to carry that lovely book around with me and get it damaged! 1mo
Cinfhen Oh wow!!! Best of luck on Saturday 💜💜💜 @TrishB 1mo
BarbaraBB Lots of interesting ones. And lots of #booker ?! 😉😘 1mo
BarbaraBB No... its length and the fact that it is a one sentence book scares me too much! 1mo
Cinfhen You want to buddy read it together @BarbaraBB ??? 1mo
BarbaraBB I just can‘t read 900 pages of a stream of consciousness. I‘ll wait until I no longer can avoid it, for example if it wins the Booker and makes it to the ToB (just like Milkman, which I ended up loving). Also I‘m waiting for a cheaper edition. 😘 1mo
Cinfhen Totally hear you @BarbaraBB we‘ll see when I feel the desire to pick it up 🙄🦆 1mo
99 likes24 comments
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GatheringBooks
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This is my #NYRB Book haul from their very recent 24 Hour Flash Sale while my family and I were in the US (serendipity!!) last month. Tagging my #NYRBBookClub as a few titles here that may interest us all! Brought these babies back here in Singapore and will soon make their way to Al Ain (Abu Dhabi) where we are moving to very very soon.

TrishB Good luck with the move! 2mo
BarbaraBB What a great haul! You were so lucky to be in the US right on time! I look forward to your nominations for the #NYRBBookClub! When will the move take place? 💕 2mo
Smrloomis Good luck with the move and hope you enjoy the slower pace of Al Ain. 2mo
AlaMich I just started Family Lexicon yesterday and am enjoying it quite a bit. 2mo
69 likes4 comments
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BookaholicNatty
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One of my friends stumbled across his awesome bookstore in downtown Philadelphia and got me this bookmark! She said there are books from floor to ceiling and it looks like an old house just full of books! I look forward to checking it out!!!

MaGoose Will need to check this bookshop out. 1y
obviateit Ooh, I‘m putting this on my to do list! 1y
BiblioLitten Oh my! It must be beautiful 😍 1y
99 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Birdsong28
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Thank you all for this. Love you all and this safe environment to be myself. I might only really interact with a few of you but I do appreciate you all and the time you take to read my posts and your acceptance of me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😘😘😘😘😘😘

DivineDiana 👏🏻📚👏🏻 1y
Jess7 🤗🤗 1y
TrishB 🎉🎉👍🏻 1y
See All 13 Comments
MicrobeMom Congrats! 🍾 Litsy is a safe place! Glad you found it. 1y
tammysue 🙌🏻🤗🌼🌸🦋 1y
Ddzmini Congratulations 🎈🎉🎊 1y
JoScho Yay!!! 😊💖🎉 1y
Cinfhen Congrats 🎊 🌸💛 1y
TheReadingMermaid Congratulations!! ✨🤘🏻💐🎉🎉🎉 1y
Andrew65 🎉👏👍🍾🥂🙌🎉 1y
AmyG Yay🎉🎉🎉 1y
LeahBergen 🎉🎉🎉🎉 1y
hes7 Yay! 🎉 1y
47 likes13 comments
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speljamr
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AmyG That‘s just lovely. 2y
Maria514626 This photo makes me swoon! 2y
C.Perone Library goals! 2y
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Austen_Nerd I am in awe!! Lovely 2y
TheRomantiCate 🤤🤤🤤🤤🤤 2y
BiblioNyan I‘m halfway there, woot! 2y
94 likes6 comments
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peggyriley
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Goal.

mrozzz 😆🤣😁 2y
9 likes1 comment
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Leftcoastzen
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#aprilbookshowers day 29 #indiebookstore Happy indie bookstore day!Changing Hands Phoenix gave me free coffee ! Show your indie some love if you can. One of the programs today featured a story telling Knight,the kids were loving it.(me too)🐉#indiebookstoreday

ferskner Changing Hands makes me miss home! I loved the original location on Mill Ave...all staircases and corners. 2y
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rubyslippersreads
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Better than winning a Golden Globe! I'd like to thank all the "#Litten people" (with a special nod to @jdtchicago for all those extra likes. ?) And how do I celebrate this moment? By reading a book, of course! ?

BookishMarginalia 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 3y
moranadatter Yay!🎉🙌🏻 3y
See All 41 Comments
Minispok Congrats! 🎉🎉 3y
Robothugs Congrats!!!! 3y
James Congrats 🎉🎊 3y
LeahBergen Yay!!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 3y
Texreader Wonderful!!! 👏🏻👏🏻🎉🎉🎉🎉 3y
Suzze Far out! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼💕💕💕 3y
jdtchicago Congrats! 3y
Gezemice Very nice! Congrats! 3y
CherylDeFranceschi Congrats! 🎉📚🎉 3y
Branwen Congratulations! How exciting!! :-) 3y
Bookworm83 Yay!! 💕📚🎉📚🎉 3y
Smrloomis 🎉🎉🎉👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 3y
BookishBlonde12 🎉✨🎉✨ 3y
Megabooks 🎊🎊🎊🙌🏻🙌🏻🍾🥂 3y
stacybmartin Yay - congrats! 🎉📚🎉👏🏼 3y
DGRachel Woohoo! 🎉🎊🎉 3y
ptkpepe98 Impressive accomplishment! Can feel the book love through the chill in the air.💖🎆💟 3y
bookdrunkard78 Yay!! 🎈🎉🎈🎉📚 3y
PurpleyPumpkin Wow, congrats!🎉🎊🎉🎊 3y
BekahB Congrats!! 🎉🎉 3y
Dragon 😀👍🎉 3y
tammysue Congrats!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻 3y
DebinHawaii Congratulations!!! 🎉👍🎉👍🎉😀 3y
Cinfhen Congrats 🍾💖📚🙌🏻🎉 3y
UwannaPublishme Yay for you!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🍾🍾 3y
TrishB 👍😀😄 3y
Shemac77 Congratulations!! 3y
quirkyreader Yippie skippy for you. 🐸🐙 3y
BibliophileMomma Congrats!! 3y
GlitteryOtters Yayayayayay!!! Congrats on the 20K & here's to 20K more (and beyond!) 🥂 🎉✨📚✨💕🎊🙌 3y
EloisaJames Congratulations!!! 3y
susanw Nice!! 3y
DuckOfDoom Congrats!!🎉📚 3y
megt Congrats! 3y
britt_brooke 🙌🏻🙌🏻 3y
MyNamesParadise Yay!! Congrats!!! 🎉🎉🎉 3y
164 likes1 stack add41 comments
review
AAmuses
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Pickpick

I read this last year. A most amazing story, as much about a house with 20.000 books that brought together many great thinkers for regular salons, as it is about a man who loved ideas, devoted his life to the written word, and transformed from leading communist to a liberal thinker. The picture of our own library - with less books - was taken a few years ago: law and medical books, current affairs, history, and literature in a few languages.

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Marchpane
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Woke to a Litsy milestone!! Today I turned 20,000. What's that in dog years? 😂

Shemac77 Congratulations!! 3y
LeahBergen Yay!! 🎉🎉🎉 3y
Well-ReadNeck 🙌🏻👊🏽👏🏾 3y
See All 33 Comments
Librariana Woot! Woot! You rock! 😄🎉🌟📚👍 3y
BookishFeminist Woo!! 📚🎉🎉 3y
cathysaid Congrats and pass the Metamucil! 3y
BookishMarginalia 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 3y
DGRachel Congrats! 🎊🍾 3y
drbethandherkindle Congrats!! 🏆 3y
JDHawkins Hooray! Congrats! 3y
Robothugs Congrats!!' 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
Michelle_mck Wahoo!!! 3y
GlitteryOtters Yay, congrats!!! 🎊 📚🎉 3y
vivastory Congratulations! 👏 👏 🎊 🎊 🍷 📖 📚 3y
Megabooks Congratulations!!! 🎉🎉🎉🍾🍾👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
Graciouswarriorprincess Congratulations!! 3y
DebinHawaii Congratulations!! 🎉😀🎉😀🎉 3y
Faibka Congratulations!! 😄🌻 3y
Texreader Fantastic!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🎉🎉🎉 3y
DrexEdit 😄 congratulations! 🎉🎉 3y
CherylDeFranceschi Congrats! 🎉📚🎉 3y
CoffeeBooksRepeat 🎉🎉🎉🎉 3y
Lizpixie Congratulations lovely! 🎉🎉🎉 3y
UwannaPublishme Yay for you! 👏🏻👏🏻🍾🍾👍🏻👍🏻 3y
BekahB Congrats!! 🎉🎉🎉 3y
Dragon 😀👍🎉 3y
James Congrats 🎉🍾🎈 3y
Cinfhen Yay 😊 congrats 🎉🎉🎉 3y
DuckOfDoom Congrats!!📚🎉 3y
britt_brooke 🙌🏻🙌🏻 3y
PurpleyPumpkin Yay, fantastic!🎉🎊🎉🎊 3y
stacybmartin Way to go!! 🎉📚🎉👏🏼 3y
megt Hooray! Congrats! 3y
131 likes33 comments
review
8leagueboot
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Pickpick

This volume is a quiet, thorough study of one man's life in letters, as told by his grandson. I went in knowing embarrassingly little about the politics of Judaism, Soviet Russia, or the global rise of communist sympathies and came out wanting to know everything. Simultaneously a love story between one man and his books and a reflection on a chaotic century for philosophy, I bought a copy for myself before I finished my copy from the library.

Yossarian Only 20,000? What happened to the rest of his books? 3y
21 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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8leagueboot
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Taking advantage of a peaceful 45 minutes before a 12-hr shift. / The prologue of this one struck me, the author experiencing a haze of grief following his grandfather's passing. My grandmother recently passed and reading about Abramsky's emotional life in the wake of a death has me aching. With my grandmother (an avid reader and dazzling crossword puzzler) on my mind,the first few pages of this felt like Kafka's "axe in the frozen sea".

Sue 💕💕💕 3y
10 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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bookish_wookish
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Grabbed this one from the library today! Seems like a very interesting story.

ShelfSpaceLimited The cover alone has me ready to buy it! 3y
22 likes6 stack adds2 comments
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shawnmooney
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Just found out about this book, an apparently poignant memoir of a grandfather's library by the author of 'Obama's Brain.' The cover and title are enough to sell me, and you too, right?

maximoffs How do I live there? 3y
25 likes4 stack adds1 comment