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…)

    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen
    There is so much excellent content to share with you this week. Let’s get right to it.

  • First, one of the books I’m anticipating with considerable interest this fall is Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid. Boianjiu, an Israeli, wrote the book in English. This week, The New Yorker published an excerpt as well as a Web-only Q&A with the author.
  • Next: You’ve seen me mention JewishFiction.net here before. This week, The Whole Megillah ran a Q&A with JewishFiction.net’s editor, Dr. Nora Gold. I was especially impressed by Gold’s pride in her journal’s “high level of inclusiveness and diversity….For years I have been deeply concerned about the divisions, divisiveness, and polarizations within the Jewish world: between the different streams of Judaism, between religious/secular, left/right, Ashkenazi/Mizrahi, and Israel/Diaspora, to name just a few. So in Jewish Fiction.net we have made a point of publishing fiction by authors who are secular and religious (“religious” encompassing all streams of Judaism), right- and left-wing, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, old and young, female and male, economically privileged and disadvantaged, community-affiliated and community-alienated, LGBTI and straight, and from Israel and the Diaspora. It is our hope that, in this way, Jewish Fiction.net can help bring Jews together in spite of the differences between us. We all have a common language as Jews, and Jewish literature belongs to all of us. So Jewish Fiction.net is a place where all Jewish voices can be heard.”
  • Superb Tablet essay by a young woman currently on a Birthright trip in Israel, regarding her experiences with anti-Semitism (yes, here in the United States! in the 21st century!).
  • In case you missed it, Linda K. Wertheimer has curated an especially strong Jewish Book Carnival this month.
  • Attention, graduate students! Administered by the Philip Roth Society, “[t]he Siegel/McDaniel Award recognizes high-quality work from graduate students written on any aspect of Philip Roth’s writing in the past year (ending June 1). We recommend that faculty urge strong students to submit papers and we welcome submissions from members and non-members alike.” There’s no entry fee indicated, and the deadline is September 1, 2012. “The winner of the Siegel/McDaniel Award receives: 1) a $250 cash award; 2) a complimentary one-year membership (or renewal) in the Philip Roth Society, including a year’s subscription to Philip Roth Studies; and 3) an opportunity to work with the editor of Philip Roth Studies to publish an expanded version of the essay in the journal.”
  • Shabbat shalom!