One year ago, the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil launched the 8 Nights of Sto­ries series on The Pros­en­Peo­ple. For each of the eight nights of Chanukah, the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil set out to help our read­ers find more sto­ries — to read to chil­dren, to share with young adults, and to read on your own after the kids are in bed. For Chanukah 5775, we’re delight­ed to part­ner with the writ­ers of Hevria, a new col­lab­o­ra­tive of Jew­ish self-iden­ti­fied cre­ators, as guest con­trib­u­tors over the next eight nights.

For the penul­ti­mate install­ment, Hevria con­trib­u­tors David Karpel, Saul Sudin, and Eric Kaplan write about the sto­ries they think most worth sharing:

David Karpel

The Cir­cle by Dave Eggers is a great nov­el that imag­ines an inter­net com­pa­ny that uses the lat­est, most advanced tech­nol­o­gy and a phi­los­o­phy of democ­ra­tiz­ing every­thing, espe­cial­ly pri­va­cy (Pri­va­cy is Theft), toward Com­ple­tion — every bit of infor­ma­tion fil­tered through that one com­pa­ny. Much of the tech­nol­o­gy in the nov­el already exists; the rest is whol­ly pos­si­ble. The main char­ac­ter, Mae, works for the com­pa­ny and becomes a will­ing par­tic­i­pant. Her slow and sub­tle moral break­down is depict­ed with pris­tine details. Near the con­clud­ing scenes, com­ple­tion is near­ly com­plete. And she’s still with them on it. Until the very end, you won’t know if she’ll break, revolt, or com­plete­ly align her­self with the nefar­i­ous intents of the Circle.

Saul Sudin

The Pro­fes­sor and the Mad­man by Simon Win­ches­ter: Pro­fes­sor James Mur­ray, edi­tor of The Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary, took a train in 1896 to meet Dr. W.C. Minor, the most pro­lif­ic of all inde­pen­dent con­trib­u­tors to the dictionary’s cre­ation. The OED was an ambi­tious under­tak­ing to cod­i­fy the known Eng­lish lan­guage, brought to fruition of some of the great­est intel­lec­tu­als of their time. Upon his arrival, Prof. Mur­ray found that the grand man­sion he’d entered was Broad­moor Crim­i­nal Lunatic Asy­lum, and the good doc­tor was in fact an inmate. What fol­lows is a page turn­ing tale of Mur­der, Insan­i­ty and the Mak­ing of The Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary” where high art and low art col­lide in the style of the pop­u­lar Pen­ny Dread­fuls; only more shock­ing by the virtue that this entire tale is true.

Eric Kaplan

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddi­son is a sto­ry about a war between witch­es and demons on the plan­et Mer­cury. It’s also the nov­el that gave J.R.R. Tolkien the idea of a sec­ondary cre­ation” — a free-stand­ing fan­ta­sy world. It is free of the Chris­t­ian alle­go­ry that bends Tolkien and C.S. Lewis whom Eddi­son also influ­enced. It has a cool man­ti­core. It is writ­ten in a gnarly pseu­do-Jacobean prose that will teach you new words: e.g. gram­marie”.

View the full Eight Nights of Sto­ries series, in part­ner­ship this year with Hevria!

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