From My Bookshelf: A Wedding in Great Neck, by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Today marks the release date for A Wedding in Great Neck, the latest novel by Yona Zeldis McDonough. My Machberet wishes Yona a hearty Mazel Tov!

Some of you may recognize Yona for her role as fiction editor for Lilith magazine. I can still remember picking up the phone in my kitchen 10 years ago when Yona called to let me know that she and the magazine wanted to publish my short story (which the magazine retitled “Polar Region”). Yona is responsible for affirming and advancing the work of so many fiction writers, especially those of us on the emerging end of things. We owe her a lot.

Which is one reason why I was so happy to be offered a complimentary advance reading copy of A Wedding in Great Neck, and why I’m equally pleased to give it a public shout-out here. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I read this hefty book in all of two days. It’s a family story–reminiscent of tales spun by Jonathan Tropper and Joshua Henkin–that takes place in a brief span (in this case, a single wedding day). There are lots of Jewish characters, some of whom you’ll likely respond to more positively than others. (Personally, I wanted to shake teenaged Justine more than once, especially each time she began spouting off against Israel.)

Here’s wishing Yona and her new book much success as they meet the world together.

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: The Natan Award is an exciting new prize for a nonfiction book-in-progress. This award “brings Natan’s values of infusing Jewish life with creativity and meaning into the intellectual arena by supporting and promoting a breakthrough book on Jewish themes intended for mainstream audiences.” No entry fee. Applications due December 3.
  • The latest issue of Jewish Book World is now online, in its entirety.
  • Poet Gerald Stern is profiled in The Forward.
  • The Yiddish Book Center has announced a new Translation Fellowship Program for those with at least an intermediate-level proficiency in Yiddish. “Beginning in the winter of 2012, the Center will select five Translation Fellows who will receive yearlong mentorship and training to complete book-length projects in Yiddish translation. As an incentive to produce works of the highest caliber, each Fellow will receive a grant of $5,000.” There is no application fee. Application deadline is November 15, 2012.
  • Finally, I am delighted that my home congregation has added live-streamed services to its offerings. Now I can much more easily share something that’s so important to me with all of you. For example: our senior rabbi’s most recent Rosh Hashanah sermon, archived for everyone to absorb. Let’s just say that there was a lot I agreed with in what he said about Israel this year.
  • 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.

  • Let’s begin: It took me a few days to catch up and read it, but Tablet magazine has published its first original work of short fiction, a story by Aimee Bender titled “The Doctor and the Rabbi.” Read it, and then see what Zackary Sholem Berger has to say about it.
  • You may remember that Sigmund Freud left Vienna in 1938. His sisters weren’t so lucky. The Forward reviews a novel that imagines the story of one of them.
  • Praise from Mark Athitakis for The Book of Mischief, “a magisterial collection of 17 short stories by Steve Stern that encompasses his three-decade career.”
  • This week brought us the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted for the first time by the Bagels, Books, and Schmooze blog (and including a giveaway).
  • Finally, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be participating in the JCC Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival in Rochester this fall. My event is scheduled for November 11, but I encourage you to take a look at all of the festival offerings this 20th anniversary season.
  • 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: You still have a few days to enter a giveaway and (maybe) win a copy of Yuvi Zalkow’s A Brilliant Novel in the Works.
  • Next: This week saw the publication of Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid. Check out the thoughtful review up on the Jewish Book Council website. (And if you’re wondering why Boianjiu, an Israeli, wrote her debut book in English, here’s your answer.)
  • This week also brought us “Return to Fulda,” a beautiful essay by Kenneth R. Weinstein.
  • Exciting news about a new international Jewish artist retreat. And on a related note: Mazel Tov to the new LABA Artist Fellows.
  • In case you missed it: On my other blog, there’s an announcement about my first book review for the Jewish Review of Books.
  • New Yorkers: Mark your calendars for December 6, when the CUNY Graduate Center will host “Contemporary Jewish-American Writing: What Has Changed?” – an event featuring Edith Pearlman, Mikhal Dekel, Nancy K. Miller, and Judith Shulevitz
  • Shabbat shalom (and l’shanah tovah).

    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: This week brought the release of an English translation of a newly discovered poem, “Hora to an Exiled Girl,” by Hannah Senesh.
  • Next up: Michael Chabon’s latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, will be released next week. Reviewer Diane Cole describes it as a “lively portrait of a community where blacks and whites, Jews and Christians, politicians of every party, all manage to overcome their own latent (and sometimes blatant) prejudices to settle conflicts, both personal and public, and live peacefully together.”
  • And if you’re looking for some more fall books on Jewish themes, this preview should help you find a few.
  • As The New York Times notes, Philip Roth has a new biographer.
  • A college student whose grandmother survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest reflects on “generational memory” of the Holocaust and her writing. (I can’t help thinking that, as is being reported, not everyone in the third generation may be “traumatized” by their grandparents’ histories. But there sure are increasing numbers of us writing about it these days.)
  • And if you missed it on my other blog, a couple of days ago I shared some thoughts about (and examples of) “Bat Mitzvah poetry”–plus a family photo.
  • 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 week: The Jewish Book Council has announced the schedule and opened registration for the next Jewish Children’s Book & Illustrators Conference, taking place in NYC on November 18.
  • Next: I’m not sure how I missed my friend Andrew Furman’s review of Shalom Auslander’s Hope: A Tragedy, but, as the saying goes, better late than never. (The review’s basic message is summarized by the subtitle: “Bad things happen when Jews move to the country, in fiction, anyway.”)
  • Shoshanna Olidort offers a thoughtful take for the Los Angeles Review of Books on Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
  • My own latest published review looks at Jeffrey Lewis’s Berlin Cantata.
  • And in case you missed it, over on my other blog, I’ve shared excerpts from a (rejected) panel proposal titled “From Generation to Generation: 2G and 3G Approaches to Writing About the Holocaust.”
  • Shabbat shalom.