Indignation Day is Coming!

September 16 is Indignation Day!

Via the Jewish Book Council “Recommended Reading Newsletter”:

“To celebrate the publication of Philip Roth’s new novel, INDIGNATION, Roth will be doing a live video broadcast out to 50 bookstores across the country on Tuesday, Sept. 16th (aka “Indignation Day”), 8 pm EST. The stores chosen to participate will have a quantity of signed copies on hand.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publisher Rebecca Saletan will introduce the program, and then Philip Roth will be interviewed by the author Ben Taylor. If you are planning on attending, please submit questions in advance for consideration. Instructions can be found at the link below.

Please click the link below to find a participating bookstore in your area:”

From My Bookshelf: The Temple Bombing, by Melissa Fay Greene

Last year I spent a few days in Atlanta, and at one point I passed the beautiful Temple on Peachtree Street. I hadn’t yet read Melissa Fay Greene’s 1996 book, The Temple Bombing, but I’d heard about it (it was a National Book Award Finalist), and I knew the basic story it told: the Temple, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, was bombed in 1958. Thankfully, no one had been hurt.

Now I’m reading Greene’s book, and while I haven’t yet finished it, I’m very glad that I’ve finally gotten to it. The book not only chronicles the bombing, but offers a rich history of Atlanta Jewry; a detailed portrait of Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, the Temple’s leader in 1958; and a reminder of just how difficult the struggles for integration and civil rights in the South really were.

At about 500 pages (with footnotes), it’s a challenging read. But very much worth the effort.

Tamar Yellin in New York City

(Happy to spread the word about this for the folks at the Jewish Book Council):

On Monday, August 4th at 7PM Tamar Yellin, Winner of the Jewish Book Council’s Inaugural 2007 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, will be reading from and discussing The Genizah at the House of Shepher at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd and Broadway (2289 Broadway).

From the Rohr Prize Judges:

“Yellin combines formidable Jewish scholarship with soaring lyricism. And, if scholarship and lyricism aren’t enough, she also displays a wonderfully quirky sense of humor. This is a writer who can do it all, bring history lovingly into the present and conjure an art of beauty and light out of the ardors of scholarship.”
—Rebecca Goldstein, author of The Mind-Body Problem

“Beautifully textured, as if it were made of Jewish threads woven through the English language. Its theme of dislocation and wandering
is the central story of Jewish history.”
—Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature, Harvard University

Genizah at the House of Shepher follows Shulamit Shepher’s return to Jerusalem after an extended absence. She quickly becomes embroiled in a family feud over possession of the so-called Shepher Codex, a mysterious and valuable Torah manuscript discovered in her grandparents’ attic genizah, a depository for old or damaged sacred documents. In unraveling the origins of the codex, Shulamit uncovers not only her ancestors’ history but must reconsider her own past, her present and ultimately, her choices for the future. The tale of the family Shepher, their aspirations, feuds and love affairs, is a haunting one of exile and belonging, displacement and the struggle for identity.

Please join St. Martins Press and the Jewish Book Council in celebrating Tamar Yellin and The Genizah at the House of Shepher on August 4th.

Latest Issue of Lilith

Finally had the chance to read through the latest issue of Lilith magazine. My favorite piece in this issue has to be “Anzia Yezierska and Me,” by Patricia Averbach. As a teenager, Averbach was hired to be Yezierska’s “literary assistant.” An unusual experience, to be sure, and one that Averbach’s family was frankly not all that happy about: “‘What kind of real writer needs a high school kid as a literary assistant?’ my mother asked. She was cooking dinner and didn’t look up. ‘Maybe she wrote some books, it doesn’t matter. I don’t want you locked up with some old lady. If she’s looking for company, let her hire a nurse.'” The essay isn’t (yet?) online, but hopefully at some point it will be.