Jewish Book Carnival: October 2023

book-filled logo for the AJL Jewish Book Carnival

Months ago, when I volunteered the My Machberet blog to serve as host site for the October 2023 iteration of the Jewish Book Carnival, a monthly event where those who cover Jewish books online “can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts,” I never—not even in my most pessimistic nightmares—envisioned that said Carnival would post barely one week after the deadliest, bloodiest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Organized by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), the Carnival travels around and is hosted on a different participant’s site on the 15th of each month. I’ve hosted it here on My Machberet 15 times in the past.

Nothing is “normal” this week. At least, not for us in the Jewish world.

So I reached out to everyone who had already submitted a Carnival post. I invited them to replace their previous submissions. I suggested that contributors send along either something they’d just posted in response to the current tragedy, or something from their archives that seemed particularly relevant—and resonant—at this terrible time.

This is what they’ve offered:

  • In her Substack titled On Being and Timelessness, Aviya Kushner shares “Poems from Israel,” focusing on work “about home and birthplace, along with terror and peace.”
  • The Book of Life podcast revisits a 2017 interview with author Tammar Stein about the middle grade novel The Six-Day Hero, about young Motti’s experience of the Six-Day War. Show notes include recommendations for more children’s books on Israel, and links to past podcast interviews related to Israel. 
  • The Sydney Taylor Shmooze mock award blog would like to re-up a review of The Miracle Seed by Martin Lemelman. It’s a graphic novel about an ancient Judean date seed, unearthed in an archaeological dig and germinated by two female Israeli scientists.
  • On gilagreenwrites: Gila Green shares “The Fifth Day of War.” 
  • Life Is Like a Library looks at the beauty of Israel in three new picture books and a “coffee table” book.
  • On TaliaTellsTales, Talia Carner has posted “Israel, That Pesky Little Country,” which was originally published in Digital Journal in 2011. (ED note: As I read this post, it became clear to me that not everything that was true then is true now—I noticed a point made within the piece about Israel’s official languages, for one example.) The title is borrowed from “a dismissive UK official’s comment at a dinner-table talk.”
  • Literary Modiin, a monthly author series that brings together readers and writers of Jewish literary fiction, memoir & poetry, will hold a special Israel solidarity event on Sunday, Oct 22, at 20:00 Israel time / 1 pm Eastern. Join online “to hear perspectives from Israeli writers and share your support during these excruciating times.”
  • And right here on My Machberet, I’ve posted a special “Solidarity Edition” of another compilation of Jewish literary links. (Among those links is a highly time-sensitive call for submissions for an emergency anthology project; don’t delay checking that out if you have even the slightest possible interest in contributing.)

Am Yisrael Chai.

Books, plus the Association of Jewish Libraries logo and a text label announcing "Jewish Book Carnival"

4 thoughts on “Jewish Book Carnival: October 2023

  1. Batya says:

    Thanks for hosting. I was too in shock to send in anything special. We’re in Biblical times, and I’ve been studying the Bible for quite a few years. My study group is on our third round of Nach, the Biblical books after the first five. We just learned the horrid story of the “Pilegesh/Concubine of Givah,” which had always seemed so impossibly cruel. Hamas is even more perverse.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Batya, I understand. Please take good care of yourself.

  2. Paul Beckman says:

    Am I too late to submit my just-released book, “Becoming Mirsky” which follows the life adventures, misadventures, and troubles of 4-year-old Ruven Mirsky whose father left his mother, his older brother, and a newborn boy, to go off to California. At the same time, the family had to move into the Bridgeport housing projects where they were the only Jews and destitute.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Paul, congratulations on your book. The Carnival deadline has indeed passed, but beyond that, please reread the introduction this post and consult the HQ link that I’ve included above. The Carnival is not a venue for authors to submit/promote books.

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