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Looking at Holocaust Literature Anew

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Two weeks ago, I attended a panel event, held at the Center for Jewish History here in Manhattan, that helped launch a new book, Holocaust Literature: A History and Guide. And last Friday, my account of that event was posted on the “Well Versed” blog of The Jewish Week, a New York-based newspaper that I subscribe to.

“Looking at Holocaust Literature Anew” is my debut post for Well Versed, and I hope it signals many to come–and perhaps even some bylines within the paper itself. We shall see.

Meantime, here’s the opening of the post:

Definitions can be tricky. Just try to find agreement on what qualifies (or not) as “Jewish literature.”
Perhaps equally arguable: any effort to define “Holocaust literature.”

In their new book, “Holocaust Literature: A History and Guide” (Brandeis University Press), David Roskies and Naomi Diamant propose some striking new terms.

Intrigued? Please keep reading!

(cross-posted on Practicing Writing)

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Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish news, primarily of the literary variety, from around the Web.

  • “As an agent, I attract a fair number of queries about Holocaust-related books because of my interest in Judaica. I rarely ask to see these manuscripts, and I’ve never taken on the authors as clients. I know I can’t sell their work. Not many editors, especially of children’s books, want to buy books about Jewish suffering. So why is my new book Holocaust-related?” Read all about agent/author Anna Olswanger’s experience in Publishers Weekly.
  • Mazel tov to Ellen Cassedy, who has won Grub Street’s National Book Prize for her nonfiction book We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust.
  • JewishFiction.Net presents an excerpt from Michael Lavigne’s forthcoming novel, The Wanting.
  • What Brahna Siegelberg gleaned from reading Philip Roth’s latest novels.
  • Last, but not least: As we approach International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’ve opened another giveaway on Goodreads. This time, two copies of Quiet Americans will be awarded.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Upcoming Events at the Center for Jewish History

    Just a quick note about some intriguing events at the Center for Jewish History here in New York:

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2013: Reading Holocaust Literature (panel discussion with David G. Roskies, Naomi Diamant, Samuel Kassow, and Ruth Franklin)
  • Thursday, February 7, 2013: Emerging Writers/Contemporary Literary Landscapes: Fiction (with Nadia Kalman, Austin Ratner, Francesca Segal, Adam Wilson, Josh Lambert, and Ruth Andrew Ellenson)
  • Sunday, February 10, 2013: Jews and Words: A Celebration of Jewish Writing, Language, and Expression (conference with multiple panels/speakers)
  • Check the CJH website for details and ticket info for all of these programs.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish news, primarily of the literary variety, from around the Web.

  • Beautiful, haunting essay on Tablet by David Goldstein, about his grandfather (a Holocaust survivor), and a visit to the grandfather’s village.
  • Another moving “3G” story I discovered this week: “Marcy Rosen had never seen a photograph of her grandfather, Morry Chandler, as a young man. He is a Holocaust survivor, and all pictures from his childhood were lost or destroyed. But then Marcy found a pre-World War II film from his hometown in Poland on the Museum’s website. And she spotted his fourteen-year-old face among a group of children and teens smiling at the camera.”
  • Some background regarding how my novel excerpt, “Rio, 1940,” made its way to the current issue of JewishFiction.Net.
  • From the Association for Jewish Studies: “We are on our way to Chicago for the AJS 44th Annual Conference! Keep an eye on Facebook and and Twitter (@jewish_studies) for updates throughout the meeting. We’ll be using the hashtag #AJS12. Hope to see many of you there!” Conference runs December 16-18.
  • Don’t forget: The December Jewish Book Carnival will go live after sundown tomorrow evening. Please stop back here to see everything we have in store for you this month!
  • Enjoy the conclusion of Hanukkah, everyone, and Shabbat shalom!

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    My Year in Jewish Books (2012 edition)

    Last year, I 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 2012.

    Reviewing my reading for 2012 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, I define “Jewish books” as books with substantive Jewish content/themes. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as particularly Jewish. I read several of those books this year, too.)

    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. Continue reading ›

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