Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter
Jewish literature is deep into a renaissance. Jewish books and Jewish authors are no longer ethnic tokens on a larger bookshelf, but are establishing themselves in their own right, from the critical success of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union to the already-canonical Everything Is Illuminated. Contemporary Jewish authors are telling new and mindblowing stories, earning praise from critics and readers — both among Jewish and general audiences — and breaking down the walls of what constitutes a “Jewish book.”
MyJewishLearning and the Jewish Book Council would like to introduce you to some of these authors.
Every other week, we’ll be bringing you voices from the new Jewish literary scene. They’ll be as diverse as the term itself: fiction and nonfiction, deathly funny and deathly serious, politics and music, poetry and pirates. Some writers will share personal stories about writing their books. Others will share B‑sides and DVD-style extras. Still others might blog about their lives, or current events, or the awesome stage-dive they took at the concert last night.
The only things that our guest bloggers have in common are that they all take the idea of Judaism in their own direction, and they all spark the dynamite of our imaginations.
We hope you’ll agree with us.
We’re honored to start the series off with David Plotz, a journalist and the editor of Slate magazine. Recently, he set himself upon a not insurmountable task: to read, from first to last page, the entire Bible. His quest is chronicled in a new book – called, appropriately enough, Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible. It’s part memoir, part textual exegesis, and – like the original Jewish literary criticism of biblical and talmudic commentaries – partly its own original vault of wisdom.
So come back all week, and check out Mr. Plotz’s blogs. Let him know what you think in the comments section…or just come back tomorrow.
Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Naomi is the executive director of Jewish Book Council. She graduated from Emory University with degrees in English and Art History and, in addition, studied at University College London. Prior to her role as executive director, Naomi served as the founding editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, she has overseen JBC’s digital initiatives, and also developed the JBC’s Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.