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My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past five 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 2016.

Reviewing my reading for 2016 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (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).  I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library), G (gift), or FTB (for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor OR as part of the ongoing series of spotlights posts on past winners of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award). 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.

  • Via The Tower: an interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy ahead of the U.S. tour for The Genius of Judaism, translated by Steven M. Kennedy and slated for January publication.
  • Looking for Jewish kidlit recommendations ahead of Hanukkah? Rachel Kamin offers her suggestions for the Horn Book‘s Family Reading blog, while Marjorie Ingall compiles recommendations over on Tablet.
  • This month’s Jewish Book Carnival, with news, reviews, & interviews from the world of Jewish lit, posted yesterday over on the Fig Tree Books blog.
  • Speaking of Fig Tree Books, there’s a new giveaway running over on Goodreads–enter for a chance to win an advance copy of Abigail Pogrebin’s forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew.
  • And this weekend’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, inspired a new poem of mine that appears on the Lilith blog.
  • 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.

  • If, like me, you didn’t make it to the launch of a new Forward anthology Monday evening in New York, you’ll be especially grateful for Talya Zax’s dispatch from the festivities. (Okay, you’ll also really be kicking yourself for not having been there.)
  • I did manage, however, to spend some wonderful minutes listening to the latest episode of the Israel in Translation podcast. In this installment, host Marcela Sulak reads from David Grossman’s A Horse Walks Into a Bar, which came out in Jessica Cohen’s English Translation last month in London (and will evidently be here in the USA in February).
  • #Readukkah week ended yesterday. See the event page on Facebook for the virtual celebration of Jewish lit.
  • The Kveller site, “for those who want to add a Jewish twist to their parenting,” is “super excited to announce the launch of the Kveller Writers Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to give moms (or dads!) who are also writers the support, mentorship, and experience necessary to take a transformative step forward in their careers.” NB: “The fellowship is open to writers of any experience. The four writers selected for the fellowship will work remotely, but will be flown out to New York City during the course of the fellowship for a day of in-person workshops with the team (and dinner. And drinks. Definitely drinks). The work produced during the fellowship will be published on Kveller, and fellows will receive payment for each contribution.” Application deadline: January 1, 2017.
  • And my Fig Tree Books colleagues and I so appreciated the invitation that Foreword Reviews extended to our publisher to help launch a post-election series of commentaries featuring small publishers and independent authors of diverse perspectives.
  • Shabbat shalom, everyone.

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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.

  • ICYMI: The latest Fig Tree Books newsletter went out to subscribers this week. It features lots of celebratory suggestions for Jewish Book Month, which is happening now!
  • Also ICYMI: Just yesterday, right here on My Machberet, I shared enthusiastic thoughts about Yehoshua November’s new poetry collection.
  • The Forward is looking for an Opinion Editor. (They’re also advertising for a Culture Intern and a News Intern. These are paid internships.)
  • Another haunting essay, grounded in her Jewish family’s experiences in the former Soviet Union, by Zhanna Slor: “Nationality.”
  • And as we approach the inauguration of a new American president, JTA presents a series of essays, each written by a Jewish leader, under the umbrella of “Worst Fears/Best Hopes.”
  • 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.

  • “If trauma passes down through generations, then so too must love.” From a lovely essay by Leah Kaminsky over on Literary Hub.
  • J-Job alert: position available for “a Program Coordinator to help create, implement, and promote PJ Library programming in New York City, Long Island and Westchester.”
  • We’re less than one week from the start of Jewish Book Month. Library Journal takes note with Rachel Kamin’s excellent article on Jewish fiction. (I’d love this article even if it didn’t mention two books I’ve helped promote through my work with Fig Tree Books.)
  • Speaking of Fig Tree Books, we’ve had a big week in HQ! First, we launched a Goodreads giveaway of advance copies of Abigail Pogrebin’s forthcoming My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. And then, digital galleys became available for reviewers/librarians.
  • And some news from my own home office: I’ve got a new poem (inspired by a study of the Book of Ecclesiastes) on the Forward‘s Sisterhood blog, and a new article (my first!) for the wonderful Jewniverse site, about one of the most arresting artifacts you’ll find in the New-York Historical Society’s current exhibition, “The First Jewish Americans.”
    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.

  • Coming this weekend in The New York Times Magazine: a poem by Yehoshua November (online now).
  • I love Zhanna Slor’s essays about her family and immigration history. Here’s a newly published piece, “They Used to Call Me Kolya.
  • Yizkor-related rabbinical thoughts, from David Wolpe and Lisa S. Greene.
  • Now available: the October Jewish Book Carnival.
  • And ICYMI: some reflections (and a small reading list) inspired by Adam Kirsch’s The People and the Books.
  • Shabbat shalom!

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