Literary Guides

Fall Literary Guide 2011

The Book on Israel A new read on the Jewish state, from Oz and Shalev to a biography of Jerusalem and a take on the country’s internal conflicts.
11/21/2011 - 19:00
LITERARY GUIDE Fall 2011

Gained In Translations

A translator (and fiction writer) on the tricky task of turning Israeli novels into English.
Special To The Jewish Week
11/21/2011 - 19:00

Amuch-discussed fact in the publishing world is the following statistic: only about 3 percent of all books published annually in the U.S. are works translated from another language. The stats for literary fiction and poetry are even more dismal, at 0.7 percent. So if you are an excellent writer writing in Danish or Polish or Chinese, a writer with good reviews, even a faithful following of readers, your work may never see the light of day in English.

Coming Apart At The Seams?

Gershom Gorenberg looks at the internal conflicts that threaten to ‘unmake’ Israel.
Special To The Jewish Week
11/21/2011 - 19:00

‘The other Arab-Israeli conflict,” a locution famously visited upon us by Middle East analyst Steven Spiegel, is well applied to “The Unmaking of Israel” (HarperCollins), Gershom Gorenberg’s cogent and incisive new book. Indeed, Gorenberg’s very first chapter — on the well-remembered but little-understood Altalena Affair — tells us all we need to know about the internal conflicts in the Yishuv (the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine) and in the new state.

Veteran Israeli writer Gershom Gorenberg.

‘Prime’ Biographies

The life and times of David Ben-Gurion and Ariel Sharon, two prime ministers who define Israel.
Staff Writer
11/21/2011 - 19:00

In Jewish publishing, the Year of the Prime Minister continues. On the heels of Yehuda Avner’s exhaustive 2010 “The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership” (Toby Press), an insider’s look at the lives and careers of four world-stage Israelis, come two more profiles of Israeli prime ministers by authors who knew them well — in one case, a son; in the other, a longtime adviser and confidante.

Two new books recount the live of former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and David Ben-Gurion.

The Wizardry Of Amos Oz

In his latest meticulously crafted novel, Israel’s most famous living writer evokes a profound existential unease.
Staff Writer
11/21/2011 - 19:00

In Amos Oz’s new novel, or more accurately novel-in-short-stories, the sense of dread, of profound existential unease, is unmistakable. No character in Oz’s fictional Israeli village, Tel Ilan, where all the stories in “Scenes from Village Life” are set, is happy. No one is even remotely content with his lot.

Clean Sweep

Meir Shalev remembers his grandmother, a pioneer Martha Stewart, and that very American vacuum cleaner.
Jewish Week Book Critic
11/21/2011 - 19:00

In some circles, Meir Shalev’s grandparents would be considered Zionist royalty: They were among the founders and first settlers of Israel’s earliest agricultural cooperative, or moshav, Nahalal, established in 1921. They lived simply and honorably and worked hard, sometimes in poverty, tending the land and their chickens.

The award-winning Israeli writer was born in 1948 on Nahalal. While he grew up mostly in Jerusalem, he visited the moshav regularly. His mother always reminded him of his pedigree, that he too was a son of Nahalal.

My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner

A Montefiore Takes On Jerusalem

With a family pedigree and a sharp political eye, Simon Sebag Montefiore tries to get at the ‘truth’ of the complex city.
Special To The Jewish Week
11/21/2011 - 19:00

When Simon Sebag Montefiore was writing his new history, “Jerusalem: The Biography” (Knopf) he knew his objectivity would inevitably be questioned. After all, the author was not only Jewish, but, well, a Montefiore, one of England’s most respected Jewish families, and one with deep personal ties to the city.

Montefiore Jerusalem

Top Jewish Chefs, Back In The Kitchen

The latest fare — from teen food to leek terrine — courtesy of Susie Fishbein, Jamie Geller and Joan Nathan.
Editorial Assistant
11/15/2010 - 19:00

Whether they want to prepare haute cuisine or instant kugel or or vegan cholent, kosher cooks looking for recipes and inspiration today have plenty of new books to pick from — thanks to several top Jewish chefs.

Kosher cooks have a plethora of options for new cookbooks, from established names like Joan Nathan.

Short Takes

From illustrator Al Jaffee to the Cairo Genizah to a portrait of ‘Young Tel Aviv.’
Jewish Week Book Critic
11/15/2010 - 19:00

Even if you haven’t picked up a Mad magazine in decades, you’re likely to remember the fold-ins, the signature feature that has appeared in almost every issue since 1964, created by Al Jaffee. Mary-Lou Weissman, a friend for more than 30 years, presents Al Jaffee’s Mad Life (It Books), with 70 original illustrations by Jaffee. Now 89, he is the magazine’s oldest and most prolific contributor, still creating fold-ins.

Inside An ‘Epic Struggle’

Gal Beckerman’s book provides much-needed coherence to the history of the Soviet Jewry movement.
Special To The JewishWeek
11/15/2010 - 19:00

The campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry — the “Soviet Jewry Movement,” as it became known — has been the topic of any number of books over the past decade and more. The story of how the “struggle” on behalf of the Jews of the Soviet Union became a “movement” parallels that of the other great “movement” of the 20th century, civil rights.

Gal Beckerman tells how the Soviet Jewry movement grew into a major foreign policy success.
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