The ProsenPeople

Adam Resurrected: The Movie

Friday, December 12, 2008 | Permalink
Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Yoram Kaniuk’s 1968 novel  Adam Resurrected  has made it to the big screen. The film, starring Jeff Goldblum as Adam Stein, follows the story of a charismatic patient at an asylum for Holocaust survivors in Israel in 1961. Check out Nextbook.org’s interview with Goldblum here.

5 Under 35

Friday, December 12, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

A few weeks ago, Jewish Book NETWORK author, Sana Krasikov (One More Year: Stories) was listed as one of the National Book Foundation’s 2008 “5 under 35.” The NBF explains that:

These five writers were each selected by a previous National Book Award Finalist or Winner as someone whose work is particularly promising and exciting and is among the best of a new generation of writers.

Check out the NBF interview with Krasikov (along with the other honorees) here.

Free Hors d’Oeuvres & Drinks + Anya Ulinich and Harry Bernstein

Friday, December 12, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

In the D.C. area? If so, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the awards reception honoring the winners of the Goldberg Prize for Emerging Fiction by Jewish Writers and Handelsman Prize for Jewish Nonfiction from the Foundation of Jewish Culture and Moment Magazine, Anya Ulinich (Petropolis) and Harry Bernstein (The Invisible Wall), respectively.

This free (and open to the public) reception will be held at:

Grand Hyatt
1000 H Street in Washington, D.C.
Room Independence I
Monday, December 22, 2008, beginning at 6:30 pm

More information is available here.

From the Fall 2008 issue of Jewish Book World. . . here’s reviewer Juli Berwald’s review of Harry Bernstein’s The Invisible Wall:

Reading The Invisible Wall is like having a grandfather spend several relaxed evenings entrancing you with the story of his childhood. This debut memoir, written by Harry Bernstein at the spry age of 93, is at once a deeply personal memoir, a historical document, and a love story. With wonderfully readable language, Bernstein brings to life the colorful characters who inhabited one street in a small English mill town just before and during World War I.

The title refers to an invisible, but no less tangible division between Jews who live on one side of the street and the non-Jews who live on the other. But if two people on opposite sides of a wall touch the wall, instead of acting as a separator, it is a connector.

And so it happens, that the people who live on either side of the separated street are in fact inextricably bound together. As the trials and devastation of world war make their way along the street, neighbors find profound connections they never knew they had. Bernstein takes the reader on a powerful journey through a book in which emphasis in the title shifts from Wall to Invisible.

In the Book Buying Mood?

Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

If so… check out Books Equals Gifts.

The site compiles links of this year’s top book lists and reasons why a book is the best gift for this holiday season (as if you need a reason to buy a book…).

A handy guide as Chanukkah approaches!

Taking Another Look at Iraq and Albania…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

I’m currently in the middle of Ariel Sabar’s memoir My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq and am fascinated by the history of the Jews and Muslims in Zakho, who lived alongside one another in mountainside villages for nearly 2,700 years. The two communities lived, more or less, peacefully alongside one another during that time, and the Kurdish Jews were subjected to almost none of the anti-Semitism that Jews in other regions of the world were forced to combat. As Sabar explains:

Seclusion bred fraternity. . . In important ways, they were Kurds first and Muslims, Christians, or Jews second. Muslims sent Jews bread and milk as gifts after Passover. . . They sent their Jewish neighbors hot tea during the Sabbath, when Jews were forbidden to light fires . . . And the Jews paid back the respect, forgoing cigarettes, for instance, during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims may not smoke.

Sabar crafts an intriguing portrayal of this exceptional community, blending his family’s personal history with the larger history of the region, interspersing stories and anecdotes of the people who have lived there.

(If you’re interested in more titles about Iraqi Jews, you may enjoy these new titles: Iraq’s Last Jews: Stories of Daily Life, Upheaval, and Escape from Modern Babylon (Tamar Morad, Dennis Shasha, Robert Shasha, eds.) and Memories of Eden: A Journey Through Jewish Baghdad (Violette Shamash))

And, conveniently another book that focuses on relationships between Muslims and Jews has found its way to my desk. This stunning book of photography, Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II, by Norman H. Gershman, tells the story of Albanian Muslims and Besa, a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanain culture and incorporated into the faith of Albanian Muslims. Besa dictates a moral behavior so absolute that nonadherence brings shame and dishonor to one’s family. Gershman has collected the stories of Muslims in Albania and Kosovo, who sheltered both Jews from their own cities, but also thousands of Jews fleeing other European countries. Each story is accompanied by Gershman’s gorgeous photographs, revealing a hidden period in history, and the compassion of ordinary people.

The stories in Besa will be the subject of a full-length documentary, God’s House, currently in production. To view the trailer, click here.

And… one of Gershman’s photos from the book (photo of Baba Haxhi Dede Reshat Bardhi):

Your 2011 Reading List

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Have you started your reading list for 2011 yet? If not, we have the first one for your list! 2008 Sami Rohr Prize winner Lucette Lagnado’s new memoir has just been announced: The Arrogant Years: A Young Girl’s Quest for Her Lost Youth. Her new title will juxtapose her own coming of age in New York with that of her mother in Cairo, revealing how the choices she made meant both a liberation from old world traditions and the loss of a comforting and familiar community. If you wanted to know more about her mother in The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, now is your chance! We’ll provide more information once the book is published…be patient..only 2 years to go…

Jewish Fiction Writers' Conference

Tuesday, December 09, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

The 92nd Street Y and the Jewish Book Council have teamed up to bring you the First Annual Jewish Fiction Writers’ Conference. If you write adult fiction for the Jewish market, this conference is for you! Meet with top professionals from the publishing world. Whether you are a new author or have already been published, this is your opportunity to network with the experts who can help you get your work into print. The conference will be held at the 92nd Street Y ( 1395 Lexington Avenue (NY, NY)) on Sunday, March 15th from 9am-5pm.

The fee to attend is $115 before February 16, $135 after February 16, and this includes kosher breakfast and lunch.

Programs will include:

Let’s Talk: Publicity Beyond Your Bubby’s Friends 
Shira Dicker (Shira Dicker Media International) and Cary Goldstein (Warner Twelve)

Publishing Your Jewish Short Stories
Erika Dreifus (The Practicing Writer: http://www.practicing-writer.com/)

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match 

David Forrer (Inkwell Management)

Today I Am An Author: The First Steps into Literary Adulthood
Jeffrey Hantover, Liel Leibovitz, and Darin Strauss

Yes, It’s the Best Book I’ve Read Since the Bible, But…
Lara Heinert (Basic Books) and Altie Karper (Schocken Books/Random House)

Why Is This Story Different Than All Other Stories?

Binnie Kirshenbaum (Columbia University Graduate School of Arts)

Which Came First, the Bagels or the Lox? The Basics of Publishing Marketing
Elisabeth Scharlatt (Algonquin Books)

For information or to register, please call 212-415-5544 or e-mail library@92Y.org


AJL Launches Podcast

Friday, December 05, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

For those looking to add to their Jewish literary podcast subscriptions, take a look at the new podcasts from the Association of Jewish Libraries. The podcasts will feature author talks, lectures on Jewish literature, panel discussions, and workshops.

“Jews are book lovers, and Jewish librarians even more so,” says Susan Dubin, President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. “The AJL Podcast gives us a way to share our enthusiasm with others, without geographical or scheduling restrictions. Now everyone can learn and enjoy!”

To access the podcasts, please click here.

Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think!

God is a Tree

Wednesday, December 03, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

Just came across a lovely new book of poems by Esther Cohen entitled God Is a Tree, and Other Middle-Age Prayers. The publisher is dead on when describing the book: “You can’t help but smile when you encounter her delightful images.” For your reading pleasure, poem “Nine”:

Today I’m finally
ready to write a prayer.
This is it.
I had a Bas Mitzvah
a long time ago.
I wrote a prayer then, too.
God Is a Tree was my title.
Louis Savitsky didn’t like it.
Afterwards he asked me
why I had the chutzpah
to think God was a tree.
His daughter became a Scientologist.
This is my prayer for you, God.
Tree or not.
It’s more a song,
more Ry Cooder than Martin Buber.
I like them both.
You too,
on good days,
when I can sit
under a tree,
just sit.

Amen

A great gift for the holidays, and it’s only $10! To find out more information about the book, please visit here.

And, if you like this book, you may enjoy another title that Esther worked on with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast called Don’t Mind Me, And Other Jewish Lies. A second little treat from Esther Cohen for the holiday season!

For more information about this title, please visit here.

Yehoshua in the NY Times

Monday, December 01, 2008 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

An interesting piece on A.B. Yehoshua’s new novel Friendly Fire: A Duet can be found here.