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 ›
Last weekend, I journeyed to Columbus, Ohio, for a family Bat Mitzvah. There, I had the pleasure of spending time with Werner Frank, whose astounding genealogical research includes some of my own family history (on my dad’s side).
Werner, who emigrated from Germany as a child in 1937, has recently published a book focusing on a specific strand of this research: the story of the October 1940 deportation of Jews from the Baden region of Germany to Gurs, an internment camp in France. From Gurs, many of these Jews were eventually deported to Auschwitz. This helps explain the book’s full title: The Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz.
The story is particularly painful because so many of Werner’s relatives were among these Baden Jews (as were some of mine). Moreover, Werner remains acutely aware of his good fortune in having left Baden before 1940 – a realization that I similarly share concerning my grandparents, who were also Baden-born.
I purchased a Kindle copy of Werner’s book while we were in Columbus; Werner was kind enough to then gift me with a print copy. As an historian, I was wowed from the outset by Dr. Michael Berenbaum‘s introduction: Continue reading ›
Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.
Lots of great book coverage in The Forward this week (including, if I may be so immodest as to point it out, my review of a new English translation of Hans Keilson’s first novel).
Superb essay by Etgar Keret (translated by Sondra Silverston) on Keret’s “new house in the old country.”
Michael Lowenthal has a new novel out, and he talks about it in a wide-ranging interview for The Rumpus that touches on “American politics, gay parenting, and Jewish literature.”
Because my early childhood summers were spent at Brighton Beach; because my life, too, is so much about passing stories along; because I, too, treasure moments spent in the company of my mother and my niece–for all of these reasons I loved Jami Attenberg’s post for The Prosen People. (See also Ron Charles’s enthusiastic review of Attenberg’s new novel.)
Finally, The Wall Street Journal ran a nice piece this week spotlighting The Blue Card, the organization to which I am donating portions of the profits from sales of my story collection, Quiet Americans.