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JBC Bookshelf: First Edition

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Each year we receive hundreds of Jewish interest books. Many make it into our magazine, Jewish Book World, many make it onto our blog and website, and a whole lot more are submitted to the National Jewish Book Awards. While we do our best to remain timely and share the latest news on all things Jewish literary, unfortunately it sometimes takes a bit longer to get the word out about certain books than we’d like. In order to slightly ease the delay for some of these titles, I’ll be posting a brief listing of a few of the books that have come across my desk every several weeks. You will most likely see more about the these titles in the coming months, so just think of this as a little heads up.

The New Year begins with these books…

Vidal: The Autobiography (April 2011, Trafalgar Square Publishing)
Yep. He’s Jewish.

Kaddish and Other Poems: 1958-1960 , Allen Ginsberg with a new afterword by Bill Morgan (December 2010, City Lights Publishers)
50th Anniversary Edition. A part of City Lights Pocket Poets series.

The Free World: A Novel, David Bezmozgis (April 2011, FSG)
David Bezmozgis’ long awaited first novel!

Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible’s Intriguing Firsts, Meir Shalev (March 2011, Crown)
Meir Shalev explores “firsts” from the Bible: First Love, First Dream, First Laugh, First Loving Woman…

What We Brought Back: Jewish Life After Birthright- Reflections by Alumni of Taglit-Birthright Israel Trips, edited by Wayne Hoffman (December 2010, Toby Press)
Published by Toby Press in cooperation with Birthright Israel NEXT and Nextbook



Elisa Albert on Siblings

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

2009 Sami Rohr Prize Finalist Elisa Albert (How This Night Is Different and The Book of Dahlia) has a new book out on siblings: Freud’s Blind Spot: 23 Original Essays on Cherished, Estranged, Lost, Hurtful, Hopeful, Complicated Siblings.

The New Yorker‘s Book Bench wrote it up in December:

The personal essays included in “Freud’s Blind Spot” prove what we already suspect—siblings do matter, and often have a decisive impact on the lives we lead. The book’s theme allows for endless variation… Continue Reading

And, browse inside here.

Countdown to Blue Nude

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Permalink

Our Twitter Book Club with Elizabeth Rosner, author of Blue Nude, is only a week and a day away. We hope you’ve had the chance to get your hands on the book and will be ready to tweet with us lunchtime next Wednesday!

In the meantime, check out Elizabeth’s recent blog post for“Books That Saved Me”

Witz is a Superhero…

Monday, January 03, 2011 | Permalink

Posted by Miri Pomerantz Dauber

Not only has Josh Cohen’s new book Witz  received great reviews and been included on 2010 best fiction lists, it can even save your life! Electric Literature conducted an experiment to determine the safest book around…and Witz is it. Watch Witz show off its superpower.

Birth of A Family Business

Monday, January 03, 2011 | Permalink

Michael Wex is the author of Born to Kvetch, and the new novel The Frumkiss Family Business. He will be blogging all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning’s Author Blog.

A couple of years ago, Diane Martin, an editor at Knopf Canada, told me a story about an acquaintance of hers, a Jewish man living with a gentile woman who had become so fascinated with her partner’s cultural background that she had taken the plunge and converted to Judaism a couple of weeks earlier.

While the man had no ideological objections to a decision that could do nothing but make his parents, if not happy, at least happier than they had been about his relationship, he was concerned with a far more fundamental problem. According to Diane, he took his wallet from his pocket––he was a writer and Diane was his editor––flipped the photo holder open and showed Diane a picture of a California blonde in a bikini. “She doesn’t look hot to me anymore.”

Whatever this couple’s relationship had been, it owed too much to the woman’s forbidden quality, her psychic role as bacon and eggs in briefs and a bra, to survive her passage into kashrus. The man was alienated by the idea of a woman who wasn’t an alien and the couple split up not long afterwards.

“Nu, Michael,” asked Diane, who’d discovered the Yiddish word only a short time before, “think you could do a novel about something like that? About a non-Jew who finds out that they’re Jewish and how that affects their marriage to a Jew?”
“Of course,” I said.

I lied. But not completely. I could have written that book, but I didn’t. I turned Diane’s idea inside out. An attempt to look at the nature of intermarriage became an examination of what it means to be Jewish in circumstances where Judaism has more to do with feeling than with religious observance or belief; what it means to be Jewish in a society like ours, where such phrases as “Jewish atheist” or “Jewish Buddhist” are no longer seen as contradictions in terms.

As I did more and more work on the book, though, I noticed strange things happening to me. The more I wrote, the less consistent my opinion of the photo that I keep on my desk: the then-future Mrs. Wex in sash and bikini during her reign as Miss Camp Sheynvelt.

Come back all week to read Michael Wex’s blog posts. His new novel, The Frumkiss Family Business, is now available.

The Genesis of a Cartoon

Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Permalink
Earlier this week Ken Krimstein wrote about becoming a Jewish cartoonistpromoting his book, and Jewish gag cartoonists. He is the author of Kvetch As Kvetch Can: Jewish Cartoons. He has been blogging all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning‘s author blogging series

Ken Krimstein‘s new book, Kvetch As Kvetch Can: Jewish Cartoons, is now available.

In Minneapolis? Lucky you. You get to see Ken Krimstein LIVE at the 2011 Jewish Humor Festival at the Sabes JCC on January 16th! He’ll be performing the ‘show’ version of Kvetch As Kvetch Can: Jewish Cartoons. Buy your tickets here.

Dolly City

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

I know I’m a little behind on this one, but as I’m just *finally* reading Orly Castel-Bloom’s Dolly City  now, I felt the need to share Tablet’s review of the title from October, where they call it “the most important Israeli novel of the last four decades.” Continue reading here. I Can’t. Put it. Down.

Jewcy Top 10 Fiction of 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Jewcy’s Top 10 Fiction of 2010…here.

Great Cover of the Day: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The paperback edition of Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction will be available February 1, 2011 (see below for cover). Read Rebecca’s guests posts for the JBC/MJL Author Blog here and stay tuned for her article on The Brothers Ashkenazi in the spring issue of Jewish Book World.

Book Trailer for Water for Elephants

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

In case you haven’t heard, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants has been adapted for the big screen. View the trailer below: