Summer Reading

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.

Summer Reading In The City

From Brighton Beach magic shows to Upper West Side shoe store murders to Morocco and Ukraine, books by local Jewish authors travel the city and the world.

Jewish Week Book Critic
06/21/2011

‘I am Vaclav the Magnificent,” the young magician introduces his performance, explaining that he comes from a “land of enchanted knowledge passed down from the ages” and is reappearing “here, in America, in New York, in Brooklyn (which is a Borough), near Coney Island, which is a famous place of magic in the great land of opportunity (which is, of course, America), where anyone can become anything, where a hobo today is tomorrow a businessman in a three-pieces suit and a businessman yesterday is later this afternoon a hobo.”

Goodie One Shoes Cover.

Summer Reading June 2011

Voices that linger after the pages are turned and a look back at the American Jewish baseball experience.

06/21/2011
Summer Reading June 2011

From Boxing To The Bedouins

A roundup of new nonfiction titles.

Jewish Week Book Critic
06/16/2010

 This season offers some remarkable new nonfiction titles, on some unexpected, previously unexplored topics. Readers can imagine — and try to understand — other lives, other times.

Binnie Klein’s memoir, “Blows to the Head"

A Deep Freeze

Thoughtful new novel introduces a cryogenically preserved
chasidic sage to modern-day suburban Memphis.

Special To The Jewish Week
06/16/2010

 What better way to chill out at the beach this summer than with “The Frozen Rabbi” (Algonquin)? Novelist Steve Stern’s entrancingly zany fable interlaces the mystery and mysticism of Old World Yiddish folklore with the New Age spiritual yearnings of today, and all through the magic of a story well told.

The Ice Reb cometh: Steve Stern’s magical realism mixes Sholom Aleichem with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
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