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Pre-Hiatus Jewish Lit Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Every Friday, My Machberet presents an array of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety. Yes, I know it’s not Friday. But I won’t be able to post then, as I’ll be on a brief “off-the-grid” hiatus. So here are the links, just a bit early. See you again next week!

  • Last Thursday I attended the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) awards ceremony. I was happy to see that The Essential Ellen Willis won in the Criticism category. I read that book after I discovered “Is There Still a Jewish Question? Why I’m an Anti-Anti-Zionist,” a truly “essential” essay. (Also taking top honors at the NBCC ceremony: Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – one of my favorite reads of 2014.)
  • The March Jewish Book Carnival was posted on Sunday. Always worth reading.
  • UK-based Jewish Quarterly is hiring paid interns in journalism and in social media.
  • Also worthwhile: a cyber-roundtable with Jewish-fiction editors Yona Zeldis McDonough, Nora Gold, and Michelle Caplan (my colleague!), hosted by Barbara Krasner.
  • On the Fig Tree Books website, Rebekah Bergman reviews Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s Leaving Brooklyn.
  • And speaking of Fig Tree Books–last, but definitely not least: the March newsletter, with info on three ongoing giveaways of titles of Jewish interest and a whole lot more.
  • Shabbat shalom–and see you next week!

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    From My Bookshelf: Myron S. Kaufmann’s REMEMBER ME TO GOD

    Can't explain the coloring on the cover of my library copy!

    Can’t explain the coloring on the cover of my library copy!

    “Though it was hailed on publication as one of the finest novels ever written about American Jews and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for an entire year,” Josh Lambert has written for Tablet, “almost no one remembers [Myron S. Kaufmann’s Remember Me to God] today. It goes unmentioned in bibliographies of American Jewish fiction, and so obscure is Kaufmann in this Internet age that searching for his name turns up nary a stub on Wikipedia.”

    Lambert’s essay explores the possible reasons behind the book’s obscurity. Having recently immersed myself in the novel (you can find a summary here), I can appreciate Lambert’s arguments and hypotheses. I’m in particular agreement with the suggestion that one should accord attention and respect to the characters of Adam Amsterdam and his daughter Dorothy. But I can’t get away from how unpleasant—dare I say, how unsympathetic—I found the ostensible protagonist, Richard Amsterdam (Adam’s son and Dorothy’s brother).

    This character is so repellent that he made it challenging for me to stick with the novel—which runs more than 600 pages—despite the book’s unquestionable artistic merits as (again borrowing from Lambert) “a finely wrought triumph of midcentury realism.” Like Lambert, I have personal connections to Harvard, where much of the novel unfolds, and innumerable details within the novel struck chords of not-unpleasant memory. But Richard Amsterdam (and, to a lesser extent, Richard’s mother) so appalled me that I’m not sure how comfortable I’d feel recommending this book to others without some warnings.

    Still, I can understand Lambert’s enthusiasm. And I’m not sorry that I read it.

    Have you read Remember Me to God? What was your take?

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


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

  • Paid summer internship opportunity with Tablet.
  • Speaking of Tablet: check out this sweet, brief documentary: “The Last of the Morrises,” about author/critic/scholar Morris Dickstein.
  • On my to-listen list: the newest episode of The Book of Life podcast, hosted by librarian Heidi Estrin, which features an interview with Tova Mirvis about her newest novel, Visible City.
  • Finally: “The Isaac Anolic Memorial Annual Jewish Book Arts Award is now taking applications.” (Thanks to Elizabeth Edelglass for info about the Jewish Art Salon and its current exhibit.)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • Liam Hoare shares “Knishes and Kilts, and Other Highlights of London’s Jewish Book Week” on the eJewishPhilanthropy site.
  • New on the Fig Tree Books site: Kathe Pinchuk’s review of Anne Roiphe’s Lovingkindness.
  • Did you miss the chance to hear authors Anita Diamant and Dara Horn in conversation? Thanks to Moment magazine, you can now read a transcript.
  • Michael Weingrad’s analysis of Reuven Namdar’s Sapir Prize-winning novel (for Mosaic) makes me even more eager for the translation than I already was.
  • And speaking of translation: podcaster Gil Roth recently met with eminent translator Anthea Bell; their ensuing discussion contains plenty of “Jewy” material and is well worth a listen.
  • Shabbat shalom, friends.

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    From My Bookshelf: Anita Diamant’s THE BOSTON GIRL

    More often than not, when I’m looking for a birthday gift for my beloved mother, I choose a book. We celebrated Mom’s birthday last week, and this year, I chose for her Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl.

    The novel crossed my radar last fall. My bibliophilic bff Deb read it and recommended it, enthusiastically. In December, I even went to hear Anita Diamant in conversation with Dara Horn at an event organized by Moment Magazine at The Jewish Museum (books were sold there, too). But I didn’t read the new novel until I was prodded by the inaugural “meeting” of the Jewish Women’s Archive Book Club, a new online gathering-place; you can find the archive of that discussion, which occurred on February 10, here. Continue reading ›

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • In “the first of a five-part series on growing anti-Semitism in the U.K.,” Tablet magazine presents Howard Jacobson, “the literary voice of British Jewry.”
  • Mazal tov to the winners and finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature!
  • Barbara Krasner offers “7 Reasons Why a Writer Should Attend the Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Conference.”
  • Having recently read Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, I thought Gloria Kestenbaum’s review for The Jewish Week‘s Well Versed blog was spot-on.
  • I’m only halfway through, but I already agree with my friend Rebecca Klempner, who pronounces this recorded interview with Dara Horn “required reading [watching?] for anyone interested in writing the Jewish experience.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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