My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past six years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2017.

Reviewing my reading for 2017 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)

But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that.

Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first). I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library [or otherwise borrowed]), G (gift). (more…)

From My Bookshelf: LOVE NAILED TO THE DOORPOST by Richard Chess

Richard ChessIn addition to being a gifted poet, Richard Chess is a kind and generous teacher whom I was lucky to encounter back when I was an MFA student. Some months ago, the happy news reached me that a new collection of his work was forthcoming. Love Nailed to the Doorpost, which was released earlier this spring, is Chess’s fourth collection to be published by the University of Tampa Press, after Tekiah (1996), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Third Temple (2006).

A number of the pages in this new volume were familiar to me, because they appeared originally as posts in the Image/Patheos “Good Letters” blog series, and I’ve been following Rick’s contributions there for a long time. At first, I was a bit surprised to find these pieces in the book. I hadn’t necessarily perceived the pieces to be poems when I’d first read and admired them as blog posts. (more…)