“Though Singer was an American writer, with a couple of National Book Awards to prove it, that doesn’t feel like the right nationality to put down on the Nobel list. Nor does Polish, which matches his birthplace. Jew is the word we’re looking for here. He’s not the first Jew to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he’s the first one to win it for writing in Yiddish, and we’re not going to see another one.”
Source: Daniel Handler, “What the Swedes Read,” a recurring column in The Believer. The column on Singer appeared in the May 2014 issue, which I had the delight of thumbing through over the weekend.
For the past two 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 2013, even if Hanukkah came so early this year that this 2013 iteration lacks the same usefulness a gift-inspiration guide.
Reviewing my reading for 2013 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that 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” 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 particularly 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. Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews, essays, and newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; and the odd blog post. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy/complimentary seminar copy), L (library). Continue reading ›
Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.