books

Children And Books

09/04/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

The new book “Jews and Words,” co-authored by Amos Oz and his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, quotes Jesus’ saying: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” The authors go on to say: “The directive sounds very Jewish, but the reasoning is quintessentially Christian: it rests on the assumption that the least learned are the purest human beings. It bonds innocence with ignorance.

Chabon’s Vinyl Vision

Blacks, Jews and tikkun olam in an old-school record shop in Oakland.

09/04/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

An achingly poignant vibe of sweet and soulful idealism makes itself heard throughout Michael Chabon’s latest novel, “Telegraph Avenue” (HarperCollins). While it’s set in Oakland, Calif., in 2004, the novel’s realistic backdrop belies the romanticized wistfulness that lies at the core of Chabon’s lively portrait of a community.

Chabon conjures a winning soundtrack from the eclectic bins of Brokeland Records.

One Searcher’s Highway To Heaven

Jewish ‘agnostic by default’ spends a year looking for God in many unfamiliar places.

08/14/2012
Staff Writer

Silver Spring, Md. — If, as President Kennedy famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” Eric Weiner’s journey of tens of thousands of miles began with a single question.

A “determined traveler,” Weiner journeyed around the world in his search for God.

Coming Home, Moving On

Joshua Henkin’s latest novel focuses on a family reunion in the Berkshires, filled with memories and surprises.

07/31/2012
Book Critic

The summer house in Lenox, Massachusetts where Joshua Henkin’s accomplished new novel is set has a tennis court out back, a garden, and, on its interior walls, street maps of Paris, Kathe Kollwitz etchings and faded portraits of great-grandparents. Family history also spills out of closets, with sports equipment of earlier eras, a never-worn wedding dress (the engagement was broken), outgrown sneakers and spare flip-flops.

Joshua Henkin’s “group book” centers around three days in the life of a Jewish family.  Matthew Polis

Upcoming Beinart Book Already Causing A Stir

02/28/2012
Editor And Publisher

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen calls it “important and timely for the future of Israel.” A Jerusalem Post writer says it is “banal” and “brooding,” and “merely parroting a well-known critique.” And the just-named next Jerusalem bureau chief for the Times is already in trouble among some in the Jewish community for praising it.

The Post-9/11 Novel and the Jews

 There's been a glut of 9/11 books published on the eve of this year's 10th anniversary.  But all the new-ness overshadows the rich bevy of writing that's been published over the past decade since the attacks.  Literary critics have been debating what effect, if any, Sept. 11 has had on fiction in particular in recent days, but one of the best essays I've read is this one by Adam Kirsch.

From Jewish Westchester To Radical Islam

Deborah Baker charts the complicated, often disturbing transformation of Margaret Marcus into Maryam Jameelah.

06/07/2011
Staff Writer

The strangeness of Maryam Jameelah’s path to fundamentalist Islam is a major reason why many of her Muslim readers find her so attractive.

 The Convert Book Cover

Getting Smart About Giving

Nonprofit advisers encourage foundations to think strategically about their philanthropy.

06/07/2011
Staff Writer

 On June 13, Joel Fleishman, a professor of law and public policy at Duke University and former president of the Atlantic Philanthropic Service Company, and Thomas Tierney, co-founder of The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit adviser to the nonprofit sector, will speak at the 92nd Street Y about their new book: “Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results” (Public Affairs: 2011). The Jewish Week spoke with Fleishman while he was in Israel working on a third report for the Avi Chai Foundation detailing the progress of its spend-down.

From Maimonides to venture philanthropy: Joel Fleishman, co-author of the new book “Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results.”

Bloom’s Day (Or Year)

At 80, and with three new books, the literary critic-as-provocateur is still picking fights over the Bible, Kabbalah and Shakespeare.

04/18/2011
Staff Writer

Harold Bloom, the eminent literary critic at Yale, will turn 81 this summer, and he does not plan to exit the stage quietly.

“Christianity? Christianity?” he said in a recent phone interview, when asked about his views on the Christian interpretation of Judaism. “The New Testament is a violently anti-Semitic reading of the Hebrew Bible.”

Bloom’s latest book is a defense of his career-making “The Anxiety of Influence.

The Trouble They’ve Seen

The arc of two new memoirs moves from heartbreak to a hard-won affirmation of life.

04/18/2011
Jewish Week Book Critic

Bad things happen to a lot of people. Some very good books have resulted.

“Life can survive in the constant shadow of illness,” Diane Ackerman writes in “One Hundred Names for Love.” Toshi Otsuki
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