The ProsenPeople

Excerpt from Yael Hedaya’s Eden

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The fall issue of Zeek is now available! The newest issue features fiction from Yael Goldstein Love. Also, check out an excerpt from Yael Hedaya’s latest novel, Eden, on Zeek’s website.

Slingshot Day 2010, plus Liana Finck’s take on the Bintel Brief

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Yesterday, Miri Pomerantz Dauber and I represented the JBC at Slingshot Day 2010. We met lots of interesting people and have lots of ideas for the coming year, which we’re looking forward to implementing. In the meantime, I wanted to share some information I received from one of the the great, innovative organizations in this year’s Guide. Talking to Meredith Leich over at the Six Points Fellowship, I learned about one of this year’s fellows, Liana Finck. Liana is currently writing and illustrating a graphic novel based on the “Bintel Brief,” The Yiddish Forward’s advice column.

According to the Six Points site:

Liana will construct a website where she can post her research as she builds her characters, while also allowing viewers to participate by creating fictional branches of the characters’ lives. In addition to her website, Liana will share the project with the public in monthly zines that mimic newspaper format for distribution around the city and in shows at Lower East Side landmarks, before publishing it as a graphic novel.

We love it and can’t wait to see the installments and final project! Click here to read more about Liana and to view some of her sample pages (under work).

2010 Jewish Book Month Brochures

Friday, October 15, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Thanks to Lisa Silverman, Jewish Book World‘s Children’s editor, for passing along the these great brochures for Jewish Book Month:

The Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California has come out with their Jewish Book Month brochures—one is for adults and one is for children. They are professional bibliographies of the best books of 2010. (There are a few 2009 books on them) They are a great resource and they are easily downloaded and printed out. Feel free to give them away to anyone who wants one, or use them as lists for your book fair stores.

JBM_Adult_Bibliography_2010

JBM_Children_Bibliography_2010

October Jewish Book Carnival

Friday, October 15, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

We’re thrilled to host this month’s Jewish Book Carnival, a wonderful way to raise awareness about Jewish literature and build strength in the Jewish-book-blogosphere. Special thanks, as always, to Heidi Estrin and Marie Cloutier for building the community. For more information about the Jewish Book Carnival, and to view past Carnivals, please visit HQ here.

Also, please join the the Jewish Book Carnival GoodReads page to participate in conversations all month long!

Check out this month’s links below:

Libertary: The Sacrifice of Isaac: Why They Got it Wrong

Libertary is a free reading site (paperback copies are also available). The author of their submission, Henry, is blogging from Jerusalem

The Whole Megillah: Review of Queen of Secrets

Erika Dreifus: Jewish Authors Conference Recap

The Book of Life: Book Expo 2010: Jewish Presses and an Interview with Jonathan Papernick

The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors Laurel Snyder and Heidi Estrin in Conversation

Ilana-Davita: Review of And They Shall Be My People

Jew Wishes: Reviews of War on the Margins and Code Name Zegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945

Rhapsody in Books: Review of The World to Come

Kar-Ben: The Purpose of Picture Books

The Fourth Musketeer: Review of Black Radishes

Boston Bibliophile: Review of The Invisible Bridge

Sylvia Rouss: Blogging on Children’s Books

The Versatile Writer: Reading The Birchbark House to a Jewish Boy

Bagels, Books, and Schmooze: Have A Little Faith: Pefect for High Holidays

Yaldah Publishing: Mitzvah the Mutt wins Moonbeam Bronze Medal!

Ann D. Koffsky: He-er-er’s Noah

The Question

Friday, October 15, 2010 | Permalink

In his last posts, Gregory Levey wrote about late-night Middle East radio commentary and amazon recommendations with his book. He is the author of the recently published How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment and he has been blogging for the JBC/MJL author blogging series.

In the various radio, print, and TV appearances I’ve been doing to promote my new book, I often get the same question: Did you end up making peace in the Middle East?

My book is called How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less: Without Leaving Your Apartment, so this is a natural enough question, but I still find it a bit forward. After all, why would I give away the ending to my book?

If people want to know whether or not I actually made peace in the Middle East from the comfort of my apartment, they are simply going to have to read the book all the way to the end to find out.

And if you think that I’m going to give away the ending in this blog post, then you are sorely mistaken. I can tell you that in my attempt to make Middle East peace, I spoke to people from all over the political spectrum, from friends of Prime Minister Netanyahu to a former advisor to Yasser Arafat. I spoke to spies, lobbyists, politicians, and thousands of Jewish grandmothers. I also did combat training with a rightwing Jewish paramilitary group, investigated a supposed “online suicide bombing,” went under cover as an Evangelical Christian, and ended up at a real-life castle owned by a cape-wearing billionaire who thinks he is a superhero called “Peaceman.” I can tell you all that, but I can’t tell you if I ended up making peace in the Middle East.

It’s called “suspense,” people.

Gregory Levey’s second book, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, has just been released.

National Book Award Finalists Announced

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

    

A fine day. Nicole Krauss has been listed as a 2010 National Book Award Finalist for Great House.

Click here for more on the National Book Award Finalists.

Read the Jewish Book World review below (by Hara Person):

Great House, Nicole Krauss’ new novel, is a triumph. Smartly executed and beautifully crafted, this multi-layered novel moves back and forth through the chaos of modern Jewish history. Krauss touches on the Holocaust, the Yom Kippur War, Chile under Pinochet, and travels from New York to Jerusalem to London to Budapest as she weaves a story focused on a desk. This seemingly mundane physical object becomes the mysterious center of the tale. This desk, whose provenance is murky, is a witness to history. Much writing goes on at this desk, as many of the main characters are writers, but all the characters, whether writers or not, are memory keepers in different ways, though not always willingly. Memory and history, especially Jewish history, are difficult burdens, often painful but sometimes also desired responsibilities. The title itself is an allusion to Jewish history, from a Biblical reference that was used as the name of Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s school, established as a way to transform and maintain Judaism in the wake of the destruction of the Temple. Krauss pays homage to the idea that it was the early rabbis like Ben Zakkai who creatively turned Jerusalem into an idea, a transportable memory. The writers in Great House are part of that centuries-old Jewish tradition of holding onto the memories and ideas of lost lives and civilizations, an endeavor that reaches back to those early rabbis. Krauss imagines a Messianic time in which every infinite fragment of Jewish memory is put back together, creating a complete, perfect memory. Until that time, however, the people in Great House strive to hold onto memories, find ways to preserve memories, and struggle to live with the weight of memories.

Hara E. Person was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a writer and an editor.

Howard Jacobson Wins Booker Prize!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

A big congratulations from the JBC to Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question) on winning this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Read more about the win on Tablet, The New York Times, and in The Guardian.

More on The Finkler Question:

Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they’ve never quite lost touch with each other – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.

Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor’s grand, central London apartment.

It’s a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends’ losses.

And it’s that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.

Baxter and Me

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Permalink

In his last post, Gregory Levey wrote about late-night Middle East radio commentary. He is the author of the recently published How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment and he has been blogging for the JBC/MJL Visiting Scribe.

For some reason I don’t really understand, if you go to the Amazon.com page for the book I’ve just published, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, Amazon often makes a strange recommendation. If you are interested in my book, Amazon believes, you might also be interested in a children’s book called Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.

Now, I’ve never read Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher, which is written by Laurel Snyder. I guess it could theoretically be related to my own book, which is about my attempt to make Middle East peace from the comfort of my own apartment, mostly so that I wouldn’t have to hear about the fatiguing Arab-Israeli conflict anymore – but, judging by its title, it doesn’t sound likely.

In any case, I am honored to be in the company of Baxter and his strange, masochistic wish. Even so, it makes me wonder what rationale Amazon has for connecting these two books. Do a lot of people buy both of them? Do we have a similar demographic of readers? Or is there something fundamentally similar about Baxter’s quest and my own?

Gregory Levey’s second book, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, has just been released.

The Middle East in the Middle of the Night

Monday, October 11, 2010 | Permalink

Gregory Levey‘s newest book, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, is now available. He will be blogging all week for the JBC/MJL Author Blog.

It was just after four in the morning, and I was on the phone discussing the Middle East conflict with a man I assumed was a truck driver. I was more than a little groggy, and so I wasn’t totally following our conversation, even when I was the one talking.

Oh, and one more detail. There were thousands of people listening to us, because we were on the radio.

This happened just a few days ago, and I’m still not fully sure what I said, because I was half-asleep. I may have mentioned something about the threat of violence along the Israel-Korea border, or expressed anxiety about not having studied for the ninth grade math test I imagined I was about to take.

This is sometimes the reality of book promotion when you’re a no-name author aboard the sinking ship of publishing. You’ll do anything to sell a few more books, even if it means waking up in the middle of the night to talk about the Middle East, fielding calls from the type of people who not only listen to the radio at that awful hour, but also feel the need to phone in.

My new book is called How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, so I guess I sort of brought this on myself. And who knows? Maybe that trucker who was driving down that lonesome highway with my inane banter his only company came up with a workable solution to the Middle East conflict.

I don’t know, because I was barely conscious. But if you were listening and
we made any progress, please fill me in.

Gregory Levey’s Facebook group has over 750,000 fans. His second book, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment, has just been released.

Daniel Gordis on “The Other Existential Threat”

Friday, October 08, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

2009 National Jewish Book Award winner Daniel Gordis (Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End) graces the cover of Commentary this month. His article, “The Other Existential Threat” deals with deals with Iran’s bomb, Israel’s soul and the future of the Jews. The piece is open for the public to read (thank Commentary!) and can be found here.