December Jewish Book Carnival

As the blogger behind My Machberet, I am delighted to welcome you to the December home for the Jewish Book Carnival. Launched by Heidi Estrin and Marie Cloutier, the Carnival is a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read, and comment on each others’ posts. The co-creators established it to build community among bloggers and blogs who feature Jewish books. The Carnival is headquartered on the Association of Jewish Libraries blog, and it runs every month on the 15th.

Without further ado, I am proud to present the December Carnival:

  • Children’s author Sylvia Rouss shares the “Hanukkah Origins of Sammy Spider.”
  • From Jewesses with Attitude, a blog from the Jewish Women’s Archive: Renee Ghert-Zand writes about The Bookseller’s Sonnets, Andi L. Rosenthal’s debut novel.
  • sends along two posts: one, “Becoming Thankful for Jewish Book Month,” which focuses on Linda R. Silver’s Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens, and another, by David Levy, advocating that we “Give Comics for Chanukah” and featuring short reviews of recently published Jewish-themed comics.
  • On her Jewish Muse blog, Linda K. Wertheimer describes the books that created her first Jewish community–and tells us about a more recent read: Naomi Ragen’s latest novel, The Tenth Song.
  • On his 12:12 blog, Jewish Journal Books Editor Jonathan Kirsch reviews Ruth Franklin’s A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction.
  • Margo Tanenbaum shares eight favorite Chanukah reads on The Fourth Musketeer.
  • The Association of Jewish Libraries recently celebrated its first-ever Library Snapshot Day, and captured the occasion on the People of the Book blog (with video!).
  • Heidi Estrin’s Book of Life blog/podcast series introduces “Shalom Sesame.”
  • On The Whole Megillah, Barbara Krasner reviews The Hanukkah Trike, written by Michelle Edwards and illustrated by Kathryn Mitter.
  • In a guest post for the Jewish Book Council blog, author Avi Steinberg (Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian) describes some Kafkaesque experiences. Also on the JBC blog: an invitation for readers to meet up on Twitter on January 12 to discuss Elizabeth Rosner’s novel, Blue Nude.
  • Ilana-Davita writes about a recent read: Mitzvah Girls: Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, by Ayala Fader.
  • Jew Wishes reviews Stronger Than Iron: The Destruction of Vilna Jewry 1941-1945: An Eyewitness Account, by Mendel Balberyszski.
  • And last, but perhaps not least: please enjoy my enthusiastic take on Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English, a novel by U.K. author Natasha Solomons.

Notes from Around the Web

  • Lilith magazine presents a selection of prize-winning Jewish feminist poetry.
  • A bit late, perhaps, but still very worthwhile: Erika Meitner’s list of new Jewish poetry books for Chanukah (or, at this point, other) gift purposes.
  • David Miller writes about his first Chanukah in Patagonia…and carving a menorah.
  • Adam Kirsch, writing for Tablet, has some issues with a new anthology of writing from the Middle East.
  • In certain ways, I could really identify with the writer of this essay, “How My Love for Israel Uncovers My True Friends.”
  • I hope to have the time to listen to America Abroad Media’s interview with David Grossman sometime very soon!
  • Looking ahead: The next Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club selection is Elizabeth Rosner’s Blue Nude. Discussion will take place on Wednesday, January 12, 12:30 p.m. (EST).
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Notes from Around the Web

  • If you haven’t yet listened to this year’s Hanukkah Lights stories from National Public Radio, well, it’s still Hanukkah! Take some time and enjoy the offerings.
  • And if you’re looking for still more stories after that, check out the latest issue of
  • From the Consulate General of Israel in New York comes news about a newly translated novel, Limassol, by Yishai Sarid (trans. Barbara Harshav).
  • Linda K. Wertheimer shares some reflections on Jewish books and community.
  • The amazing Carolyn Starman Hessel, Director of the Jewish Book Council, reveals which Jewish book has most influenced her.
  • The latest Jewish Reader presents a review of  Jessica Cohen’s translation of David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, excerpts, and discussion questions.
  • Win copies of my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans! Free! Easy! Details here.
  • Shabbat shalom!

    Hanukkah Lights in Prose

    The annual Hanukkah Lights stories are now available on National Public Radio. This year’s batch features works from Rebecca O’Connell, Lev Raphael, Margot Singer, and Shira Nayman. Can’t wait to listen to the whole group.

    Admittedly, NPR sometimes gets on my nerves–a little too quick to criticize Israel, a little too often–but today, I appreciate it. Chag sameach!

    Notes from Around the Web

  • Robert Lee Brewer’s interview with poet (and former Hebrew school teacher) Erika Meitner–and Meitner’s poem, “1944,” that Brewer included with the interview material–persuaded me to order a copy of Meitner’s latest book, Ideal Cities.
  • Speaking of poetry, I am very grateful for “Cut the Challah, but Slice it Slant: A Response to the ZEEK Poetry Manifesto.” Thank you, Zackary Sholem Berger!
  • Over on HTMLGIANT, “a literature blog that isn’t always about literature,” author Kyle Minor, raised as a self-described fundamentalist Christian, explains why he is “Jealous of the Jews.” Hint: Roth, Bellow, Malamud, Ozick, and at least one of the Singers have something to do with it.
  • Chanukah is coming! And the Jewish Literary Review prepares us with some poetry.
  • My latest pre-publication post about my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans, takes this week’s anniversary of the Kristallnacht to reflect on that event in my own poetry and prose.