Two Sides Of Beauty

In her new memoir, Patricia Volk navigates between two charismatic women — her mother and Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
07/15/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

As she watched her mother apply her make-up, Patricia Volk saw several views of her at once, through the three-way mirror. Audrey Morgen Volk, wearing a green velvet robe that matched the green drapes in her room, methodically applied layers of cream and powder and mascara. Patty knew that her mother was beautiful — this was noted frequently by the doormen of their Upper West Side building, cab drivers, the butcher, camp counselors and relatives — but only she knew that the make-up was “a portrait of her face on top of her face,” and that the face underneath was sheer beauty too.

Family and fashion: “Schiap gave me an alternative way to be,” Volk writes.  Stephen Deutsch

‘Hidden Encyclical’ No Longer Hidden

The unpublished Vatican document that lambasted Nazis’ anti-Semitism, and the U.S. priest who played a key role in writing it.
06/10/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Bethesda, Md. — Did Pope Pius XII, the leader of the Catholic Church during World War II and the subsequent decade, suppress a landmark Vatican document that his predecessor, Pius XI, had commissioned, a document that would have unambiguously criticized racism and anti-Semitism? And did that document — an encyclical, in Vatican parlance — actually exist?

Peter Eisner describes the attempt of Pius XI to issue a document condemning racism and anti-Semitism.Courtesy of William Morrow

Bookmarks- new information about authors and publishers

A Promotional Feature:

The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic

Edited by Mary L. Zamore

Special Book Excerpt, Letty Cotton Pgrebin


How To Be A Friend To A Friend Who's Sick

Author, Letty Cotton Pogrebin

How History Shapes A Family

Alexander Stille excavates his parents’ past in ‘The Force of Things: A Marriage in War and Peace.’
04/29/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

When Alexander Stille’s mother died in 1993, she left few papers behind — just some letters, photographs and remnants of the lists she maintained to organize her life. Everything was in its proper place; her bills were paid and her will was signed.

As Stille did research for “The Force of Things,” he came to see his relatives as figures from historical archives.

Jodi Picoult Takes On The Holocaust

The bestselling novelist wades into new territory with ‘The Storyteller.’
04/03/2013 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Early on in Jodi Picoult’s new novel “The Storyteller” (Atria), Josef Weber comments that Sage Singer doesn’t say much in their grief support group, but when she does speak up, she’s a poet. She answers firmly that she’s no poet, but a baker.

After a score of novels, Jodi Picoult tackles the Shoah. “The Holocaust isn’t just a Jewish issue,” she says.

Yehoshua Takes On The Artist

His richly plotted ‘The Retrospective’ hinges on ideas about artistic integrity and moral commitment.
03/04/2013 - 19:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Givatayim, Israel –‘The Retrospective” is a work of art inspired by another work of art, a novel with roots in a painting.

“The Retrospective”

Eat, Pray, Love In Crown Heights

Rebecca Dana’s ‘Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde’ documents an ambitious young writer’s search for meaning.
01/28/2013 - 19:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Some girls imagine their wedding day when they’re growing up, with clear vision of the dress, the cake, the man they’ll marry.

Rebecca Dana’s fall from the glittery world of Manhattan celebrity journalism. Terry Gruber

Fleshing Out A Story

Jami Attenberg on the inspiration behind ‘The Middlesteins.’
01/07/2013 - 19:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Edie Middlestein loves fast-food sandwiches, potato chips with onion dip, and Chinese dumplings stuffed with spicy seafood. She likes devil’s-food cookies too, and once, late at night, while everyone at home was sleeping, ate two boxes of them to see what would happen. She didn’t feel a thing.

Attenberg’s book, about a character “who hits rock bottom physically, delves into themes of Jews and food. michael sharkey

Tribally Speaking

St. John’s professor and poet Stephen Paul Miller is trying to make the case for a distinct Jewish-American poetry.
12/25/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Is there a Jewish-American poetry?

Trick question. According to Stephen Paul Miller, all poetry is  Jewish.

The reason? Two words: “Walt Whitman.”

“Jewish poetry,” writes Miller, is also “hot poetry.” Michael Datikash
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