Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Three quick things.

1. It’s not anywhere in my official bio, but I happen to be a third-generation purveyor of occasional verse!

My mother’s Aunt Mimi was famous for enlivening family celebrations with her customized odes, and that’s a tradition that her daughter Patti and my mother have sustained. Now I have taken up this mantle as well.

All of which is to say that the most significant writing project I’ve worked on this week is a poem that I drafted in honor of my niece’s 16th birthday. It’s a rhyming recollection of the day she was born.

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12 Jewish Books on My Radar for Fall 2019

Something that I quickly came to love about French culture was its emphasis on the literary rentrée, the post-summer “return” of focus on an outpouring of newly published books. In that spirit, this post highlights a number of Jewish books that are already on my radar for the fall season. Brief notes on each after the jump.

Covers of the 12 books decribed here.
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My Letter to the Editors of the Shelf Awareness Newsletter

Excerpt from yesterday's Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter, as referenced in the accompanying blog post.[Update, 8:00 AM, July 12: Shelf Awareness has included a clarification in today’s newsletter and added one to the archived version of the original interview. I’m grateful.]

As noted below, I’m an avid reader of the Shelf Awareness newsletters. I was especially intrigued as I began reading this Q&A in the “Pro” issue that I received yesterday morning. (The “Pro” newsletter “provides booksellers and librarians the information they need to sell and lend books. It appears every business day and is read by people throughout the book industry.”) And the featured novel still intrigues me—I’ve placed it on my tbr list, especially as I prepare to teach a course this fall on 21st-Jewish literature (the course will feature a unit on “Newer Immigrant Voices,” including voices that originate in the former Soviet Union).

But I was troubled by something in the author’s very first published response to a Shelf Awareness question. Below is the text the letter (well, the email) that I sent to Shelf Awareness right away. That was 24 hours ago.

I don’t yet see any corrections or clarifications online. Nothing was mentioned in today’s newsletter. But I said what I needed to say. And I’m sharing it. (more…)