Summer Reading

Neighborhood Watch

A sense of place pervades many of this summer’s new volumes.

Culture Editor
06/24/2015

‘The Odd Woman and the City” by Vivian Gornick (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is a memoir, a meditation on her urban, literary life. She unfolds her story with great candor, humor and a tough edge. “I prize my hardened heart,” she writes. A walker in the city, she finds herself preferring the West Side, where there’s “all that intelligence trapped inside all those smarts.”

Saint Mazie, The Old Woman and The City, Reunion.

There Go The Neighborhoods

The old Jewish quarter of Memphis and the rundown Bronx get new life, thanks to Steve Stern and Jerome Charyn.

Special To The Jewish Week
06/24/2015

Call him the Bard of Jewish Memphis. As in previous works, in his latest novel, “The Pinch: A History, A Novel,” author Steve Stern brings to life the formerly bustling, now blighted Memphis neighborhood called “The Pinch.” Also, once again, Stern’s fictional re-creation is characterized by a fanciful collage of kabbalistic magic, mystical longings, and Jewish folklore galore.

In “The Pinch,” Steve Stern, paints a fanciful tale of Memphis’ onetime Jewish ghetto.

The Bard Of The Boroughs

The evocative photographs of William Meyers.

06/23/2015

William Meyers has an eye for the poetic moment. His black-and-white photographs of New York City streetscapes are unfolding visual anecdotes.

A sign on the BQE chock full of boroughs.

Summer Reading 2015

Summer Reading: City Stories Neighborhood lit, from Memphis to the Bronx and beyond.

06/23/2015
Summer Reading 2015

A World Of Jewish Fiction

From the Lower East Side to Rome to Cairo, compelling characters in settings near and far.

06/25/2014

An Icy Ice Cream Queen: Rags to riches on the Lower East Side.

From the reeking slums of the Lower East Side to the rarefied air of Park Avenue and Palm Beach, Susan Jane Gilman’s “The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street” (Grand Central Publishing) is a journey across the 20th-century Jewish American experience. Not your typical beach treat, this page-turner of a book is a tart alternative to the usual sweet summer refreshment. 

Gilman’s Lillian Dunkle is a myth-debunking character.

Contemporary Israel, In The Literary Spotlight

From pre-intifada Jerusalem to ‘Srugim’ turf to Holon, getting a read on the modern Jewish state.

Special To The Jewish Week
06/25/2014

Archeology and Coexistence: A kabbalist and his motley crew of outcasts.

‘You are young. The needs are great. You can help.” If this reminds you of a saying from the sages, that is fitting since the speaker is indeed a sage, though a fictional one: Rebbe Yehudah, the holy man in whose courtyard author Ruchama King Feuerman sets her beguiling novel, “In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist.” (Originally published only as an e-book by New York Review Books last December, it is now also available in paperback.)

Aharon Appelfeld’s “Suddenly, Love” offer different perspectives on love in the Holy  Land.

Summer Reading June 2014

Contemporary Israel In The Literary Spotlight; Three Novels That Span The Globe.

06/25/2014
Summer Reading June 2014

Summer Reading June 2013

A Couple Of Greenhorns, Magical Realism Style, ‘What If The Messiah Is A Woman?’
06/18/2013
Summer Reading June 2013

Members Of The Tribe, Members Of The Team

Two new books — one about Hank Greenberg, one about Jews’ roles in the black leagues — explore the American Jewish baseball experience.
Staff Writer
06/21/2011

Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn’t Want to Be One. Mark Kurlansky, Jewish Lives, 164 pages, $25.

Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball. Rebecca Alpert, Oxford University Press, 236 pages, $27.95.

Studies of a Jewish baseball star and of early Jewish sports entrepreneurs offer new look at a slice of American Jewish history.

Lingering Moods And Voices

Evan Fallenberg’s poetic tale of life, love and art in Tel Aviv is full of history and passion.
Jewish Week Book Critic
06/21/2011

I’m often asked about what makes a particular book worthy of attention. It’s easy to point to books that illuminate new ideas or inspire different ways of thinking; novels that are unforgettable for their characters or style of storytelling; works with luminous prose; or memoirs of extraordinary or even quite ordinary lives, recounted with large doses of candor and bigheartedness.

Author Evan Fallenberg studied dance for two years to inhabit the life of his main character, Teo.
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