Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • This week brought the excellent news of a forthcoming essay collection by Kevin Haworth. Titled Famous Drownings in Literary History, the collection is billed as grappling with the “confusing things that make up the life of post-9/11 Jewish American parents and artists.” You can read one of the book’s essays, “The News from Bulgaria,” on Airplane Reading.
  • Read Jacob Paul’s essay on David Grossman’s See Under: Love.
  • “The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute awards grants to support interdisciplinary research or artistic projects on Jewish women and gender issues. Scholars, activists, writers and artists who are pursuing research on questions of significance to the field of Jewish women’s studies may apply.” Application deadline: September 13, 2012.
  • Terrific essay by Doreen Carvajal about her family: “We were raised as Catholics in Costa Rica and California, but late in life I finally started collecting the nagging clues of a very clandestine identity: that we were descendants of secret Sephardic Jews — Christian converts known as conversos, or Anusim (Hebrew for the forced ones) or even Marranos, which in Spanish means swine.”
  • Mark your calendars for October 23, when Norman Manea will appear at YIVO in NYC.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish literary news from around the Web.

  • First up: this month’s Jewish Book Carnival, hosted by Needle in the Bookstacks, a blog from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) librarians.
  • Many short-story treats this week, starting with this gem from The New Yorker: a 1970 story by Isaac Bashevis Singer (“Job”), plus notes about the translation.
  • A brand-new issue of JewishFiction.net is now available for our reading pleasure.
  • I read it first in the print magazine, but it looks as though Moment has made Edith Pearlman’s short story, “The Kargman Affliction,” available online, too.
  • Adam Kirsch writes about Amoz Oz’s reissued story collection, Where the Jackals Howl (trans. Nicholas De Lange).
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Some Jewish literary links to close out the week.

  • First up: Looking for some titles for your book club? Check out Makom’s suggestions for books by Israeli writers (books in English translation).
  • Next: Earlier this summer, I was lucky enough to attend “The Uses of History in American Jewish Fiction,” featuring novelists Anna Solomon and Dara Horn and moderated by Josh Lambert. And now, all of you are lucky enough to be able to watch the event on video.
  • Some exciting changes are afoot at The Forward.
  • Guess who’s coming to CUNY’s Baruch College this fall? Etgar Keret! I’m already marking my calendar.
  • As we begin preparing for Rosh Hashanah, The Whole Megillah has announced its First Pages Competition for Jewish-themed middle grade and young adult manuscripts (fiction or nonfiction). Deadline to enter: September 15.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday, My Machberet presents a set of Jewish Literary Links to close out the week.

  • First, and in case you missed it, I devoted a post on my “Practicing Writing” blog earlier this week to some reflections on Israeli author Shani Boianjiu’s forthcoming novel, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
  • Next, the latest Jewish Book Carnival went live earlier this week. This month’s Carnival marks the project’s second anniversary.
  • Lilith fiction editor (and prolific author in her own right) Yona Zeldis McDonough is the Association of Jewish Libraries Facebook Writer-in-Residence for the month of July.
  • On Monday, the Jewish Book Council hosted author Francesca Segal, who chatted with readers via Twitter about her recasting of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence in her own recent novel, The Innocents. You can read the transcript if you missed the fun. And take note of the next JBC Twitter chat, featuring Joshua Henkin and The World Without You in September.
  • Finally, yours truly has a piece up on The Forward’s Arty Semite blog, “Remembering Munich, in Fact and Fiction.” (That would be in my fiction: in “Homecomings,” a story in Quiet Americans.
  • Shabbat shalom.

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    Every Friday, My Machberet presents a set of Jewish Literary Links to close out the week.

  • First up: I’m currently reading Francesca Segal’s The Innocents, a novel that updates Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and transplants it to Jewish London. You still have time to read a copy yourself before the Jewish Book Council’s Twitter chat with the author, which is slated for July 16.
  • Also looking just a bit ahead: If you’re in New York, you may want to catch “Four Jewish Guys: Poetry and Performance,” scheduled for July 19 and featuring Jake Marmer, Jay Michaelson, Yehoshua November, and Philip Terman.
  • Not easy to read, but noteworthy nonetheless: “The American Girl in the Bunker,” a first-person account of a volunteer from New York serving in an IDF paratrooper unit–and dealing with rockets from Gaza.
  • Very different material, but also worth your time: Deborah Eisenberg’s new short story, “Cross Off and Move On.”
  • And over on Bagels and Books, there’s a nice recap of this spring’s Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem.
  • Shabbat shalom!

    From My Bookshelf: Fiction by Etgar Keret

    Confession: I frequently read, admire, and link to Israeli author Etgar Keret’s nonfiction/essays (particularly his columns for Tablet), but I haven’t always been as comfortable with Keret’s fiction. I read The Nimrod Flipout when its U.S. publisher sent me a review copy of the English translation several years back (2006), and although I understood what the fuss was about–Keret is one prodigiously talented, not to mention prolific writer–my own reading tastes just don’t hunger for the sheer strangeness–call it experimentalism, fabulism, magical realism, whatever–that seemed to characterize the collection.

    Moreover, back then–around the time of the Second Lebanon War–my nascent interest in attempting to understand contemporary Israel through its literature was intensifying. There was so much about Israel that I, a Diaspora Jew, needed to learn (this remains all too true six years later). Keret’s fables and flash fictions didn’t seem to engage with the seriousness of what the Israelis call hamatzav— “the situation,” namely, the pervasive conflict that suffuses life in their country. It occurred to me only hazily (if at all) that this was a selfish indulgence of my Diaspora self; living within “the situation,” Keret could certainly be excused from spending still more time with it in his fiction.

    But last week, a review-essay on The Millions caught my eye. Titled “The Maturation of Etgar Keret” and written by Bezalel Stern, it captivated me. And it sent me hurrying to add two new volumes to my bookshelf: Suddenly, A Knock on the Door (Keret’s latest book to be released in English, with translations by Nathan Englander, Miriam Shlesinger, and Sondra Silverston) and Four Stories, a slim collection I’ll address in greater detail shortly. (more…)