For the past three years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2014.
Reviewing my reading for 2014 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively; it seems that this list comprises about half of the titles I read this year in toto. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)
But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.
Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first, this year). Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews, essays, and newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; “Sunday Sentence” citations; and the odd blog post. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library). This year, I’m adding a category: FTB, for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor. Continue reading ›
Dr. Nora Gold’s Fields of Exile has been described as the first novel about anti-Israelism on campus, and it has received enthusiastic advance praise from Phyllis Chesler, Thane Rosenbaum, Steve Stern, and others. Gold is also the author of the acclaimed Marrow and Other Stories, which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award, as well as praise from Alice Munro, who – after reading the title story – wrote Gold: “Bravo!”
I’ve been a fan of the Toronto-based Gold and her work since reading that collection. And I’ve also had work published in Jewish Fiction.net, an online journal that Gold founded and edits. When I discovered that Fields of Exile was slated for a May 2014 release, I knew that I’d be eager to read it (and I said so in a piece for The Forward‘s Arty Semite blog at the beginning of the year). As I noted then, the new novel seems all-too-timely to anyone following news accounts about the vilification of Israel in academia. According to the novel’s publisher, Dundurn, this novel is “about love, betrayal, and the courage to stand up for what one believes as well as a searing indictment of the hypocrisy and intellectual sloth that threatens the integrity of our society.”
Gold is also a blogger for “The Jewish Thinker” at Haaretz, and the Writer-in-Residence and an Associate Scholar at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Gold holds both Canadian and Israeli citizenship.
Please welcome Nora Gold! Continue reading ›