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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Rebecca Klempner reviews this past (Jewish) year and realizes: “I’ve published more in the last year than in the prior 38 years of my life combined.” And a few other things.
  • I’ve had an e-galley of David Bezmozgis’s new novel on my Kindle for awhile, but I finally started reading it this week. Once again, an Adam Kirsch review is the motivating force.
  • It happened this week: the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted by the Jewish Book Council.
  • Is Leonard Cohen your man? If so, you must read Ezra Glinter’s “A Song of Love and Memory for Leonard Cohen at 80.”
  • Coming very soon: Monday will bring big doings for those of us at Fig Tree Books. We’ll be officially launching ourselves and announcing our inaugural list of novels. I hope that you’re already following Fig Tree on Twitter and/or Facebook.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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    On “Holocaust Fiction”

    cover19_240x3281ruled46In the new (fall) issue of the Jewish Review of Books, I respond to a piece published in the summer issue.

    My response begins:

    “As an avid reader of novels and short stories, and as the author of a story collection myself, I am always pleased to see fiction discussed within the JRB’s pages. But in the case of Amy Newman Smith’s “Killer Backdrop” (Summer 2014), my initial pleasure was tempered by an increasing sense of discomfort.

    In part, the trouble stemmed from my difficulty understanding the exact focus of Ms. Smith’s opprobrium. Does she object to all “new works of Holocaust fiction” because they are not nonfiction? Fair enough. Some people don’t ascribe any value to Holocaust-related fiction; I am not among them. But are there any examples of Holocaust-related fiction that might meet with Ms. Smith’s approval? Novels by the late ArnoŠt Lustig? Cynthia Ozick’s now-classic “The Shawl”?”

    You can find the rest of my response–plus the original article and Amy Newman Smith’s response-to-my-response–on the JRB website.

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    Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress

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    ‘Tis a c-r-a-z-y time, folks.

    A lot of that has to do with my job at Fig Tree Books. We’ll be announcing our first list of novels on Monday, September 22. So there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on to make that a smooth and successful day.

    In the meantime:

  • It appears that one of my essays is going to be recorded and re-presented as an audio piece. I spent some time reviewing edits for that over the weekend. More info to be shared in due course.
  • Although I haven’t yet received my contributor copy, the new edition of Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market is out and includes my contribution on virtual book tours.
  • I’ve started a new poem! (On a related note: I also found out this week that my poetry chapbook had lost yet another contest. But the notice included some really nice, encouraging words about my work.)
  • Bonus: Thanks to one of my former supervisors (hi, Tim!), I’ve discovered this excellent post with stock-image recommendations. The one I chose for today’s “work-in-progress” update appealed to me because, for a few days this past week (for once!), my fingernails looked almost as nice as those of the model in the photo. And that’s because another high point of the past week was my midtown lunch with another former co-worker, followed by a surprise luxury–a free manicure!–at a nearby Duane Reade drugstore. (If you happen to be looking for a new nail color for fall, may I recommend “Dress to Kilt”? It looked fab…while it lasted.)

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    Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

    dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction). Continue reading ›

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    Sunday Sentence

    In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

    “To suggest that Dunham is too young, too privileged, too entitled, too narcissistic, neurotic and provincial (in that rarefied Manhattan-raised way) to be dispensing advice to anyone is to add very little to the ever-expanding, very much already-in-progress conversation about her place in the culture and her overall right to exist.”

    Source: Meghan Daum, “Lena Dunham Is Not Done Confessing” (New York Times Magazine)

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