Monday, July 15, 2024

Jewish Book Carnival!

Welcome to the July Jewish Book Carnival, where we gather links from folks in the Jewish book world- librarians, authors, booksellers, and more, to create community and share our work and writing.

The carnival was started by Heidi Rabinowitz and myself to build community among bloggers and blogs who feature Jewish books. It runs every month on the 15th (or close to the 15th when it falls on Shabbat).

Author Talia Carner's appeal to the leadership of the Authors' Guild highlights a major issue of concern to all Jewish writers. 

Adam Gidwitz and Steve Sheinkin are guests on the July episode of The Book of Life Podcast, talking about their recent Holocaust books, Max in the House of Spies (middle grade historical fantasy) and Impossible Escape (young adult nonfiction). You can hear the episode, find a transcript, and see the show notes at the link here, and of course you can hear it wherever you normally listen to podcasts by subscribing to The Book of Life.

The Sydney Taylor Shmooze reviews Jewish children's and YA books that may be eligible for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Here's a review of a picture book biography about a Jewish sports hero - but not a male baseball player, for a change! It's about young ping-pong champion Estee Ackerman and it's called Ping-Pong Shabbat by Ann Diament Koffsky.

Each week on her My Machberet blog, Erika Dreifus curates a selection of Jewish Literary Links. Here's one recent post, which includes info on new outlets for Jewish creativity, the Jewish Book Council's call for proposals for its upcoming conference, and more.

In this episode of What If? Why Not? How?, Sally Wiener Grotta talks with Yerra Sugarman about the history, emotions, and craft that make up her poignant poetry.

Eve is only looking for some shelter from the rain, but what she finds will change her work, her heart, and her life. In a small cave in the Scottish highlands, Eve finds a journal written in as a series of letters from a woman named Shira to her lover Benjamin. Eve realized that the letters contain secrets about the family of her new love Mac. What secrets are revealed and can Eve and Mac’s love survive? Join me for a conversation with Lynne Golodner about her latest book, Cave of Secrets. [](

This month at Life Is Like a Library, the bibliotherapy prescription is poetry:

Monday, June 3, 2024

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday, and I'm treating myself to a re-read of  Diana Wynne Jones' children's classic Howl's Moving Castle. It's the basis for my favorite comfort-watch movie and I know the book is very different from the movie but that's what I love about both, the way that Hiyao Miyazaki used this weird and wonderful book as the jumping-off point for his own weird and wonderful art. I'll put on some of Joe Hisaishi's magical soundtrack, make some tea and settle in. What about you?

Monday, May 27, 2024

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Shze-Hui Tjoa's memoir The Story Game is my current read. It's a mysterious, searing memoir told in a format I've never seen before, alternating between first-person narration of anecdotes whose connection only becomes clear as we go on, and a conversation between the narrator and a younger child. 

I received it for review and promotion from the publisher, Tin House Books, whose books I always love. They really do publish the crème-de-la-crème of both fiction and nonfiction. They also run some pretty great writing workshops. 

They sent me this nice gift wrapped package with two promotional postcards. So fun!

Anyway definitely check out The Story Game. I am probably going to be done reading it in another couple of days and then you'll see a review in my Substack, which I encourage you to subscribe to.

Monday, May 6, 2024

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I'm reading J.L. Carr's lovely A Month in the Country, about an art restorer and WW1 vet spending a summer in the English countryside restoring a painting in a village church. It's low-key and delightful and very short- only 135 pages in the New York Review Books Classics edition. I heard about it from YouTuber Tristan and the Classics, which I recommend you check out for great reading ideas.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Niantic Book Barn Angela Thirkell Shopping Spree


I got a chance to visit the Niantic Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut, recently. The Book Barn is unique among the bookstores I've visited as being broken up into several stores throughout the town of Niantic. The main store is composed of a house that has several categories of nonfiction, and vast outdoor barns and stalls for fiction- mystery, general fiction, romance, etc. There are several other stores around town that are Book Barn stores that have science fiction, other categories of nonfiction, and even an antique store.

I spent most of my time, and all of my money, in the general fiction section.

I collect Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels; sometimes, I even read them. There are about 21 books in the series and I got a stack of Thirkells years ago at the Montague Book Mill. I was hoping to luck out here on this visit. I was not disappointed. I got all of the Thirkells pictured above, very nearly completing my Barsetshire collection. I think I only need two more now.

Very exciting!

When I'm done with Wheel of Time I'm going to make Barsetshire my next destination.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Jewish Book Carnival


Welcome to the April Jewish Book Carnival, where we gather links from folks in the Jewish book world- librarians, authors, booksellers, and more, to create community and share our work and writing.

The carnival was started by Heidi Rabinowitz and myself to build community among bloggers and blogs who feature Jewish books. It runs every month on the 15th (or close to the 15th when it falls on Shabbat).

Author Talia Carner shared her PBS TV interview about THE BOY WITH THE STAR TATTOO, which was recently published by William Morrow & Company.
Bluma Lange shared her Substack post Hirsch Lekert: One Jew Is Enough:History, Myth, Religion and the Personal, from her ongoing Substack on Yiddish literature. Check it out and be sure to subscribe for free.
On her blog Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, Deborah interviewed Beth Kander about her children's picture book DO NOT EAT THIS BOOK!

A Jewish Grandmother considers Gilgul I: Rededication very suitable especially now that Israel has been at war for its very survival. Gilgul I: Re-dedication is full of magic and mysticism, just perfect for today.
On Jewish Books for Kids and More, Barbara Bietz interviews Frank Baker about his graphic novel, illustrated by Tim Ogline, WE SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST: THE BLUMA AND FELIX GOLDBERG STORY (Imagine and Wonder, 2022).
On The Book of Life Podcast, Heidi Rabinowitz interviews April Powers, VP of DEI at Project Shema, the organization for which The Artists Against Antisemitism raised  over $100k. April dissects antisemitism and talks about how the book world can fight back. She also explains the 2021 SCBWI antisemitism statement incident.

On The Sydney Taylor Shmooze mock award blog, Elizabeth Suneby reviews A Feather, a Pebble, a Shell by Miri-Leshem Pelly, a picture book about the natural landscape of Israel, described as "a breath of fresh air."

The Association of Jewish Libraries recently published its Spring 2024 Holiday Highlights list of the best children's books about Jewish holidays, published during this spring season.

Life is Like a Library reviews Tikva Frymer-Kensky's posthumously published Wisdom from the Witch of Endor: Four Rules for Living:
On her My Machberet blog, Erika Dreifus routinely compiles news of Jewish literary interest. Here's one recent post.


Monday, April 8, 2024

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


I'm debating doing this here or over on my Substack but I feel like taking this up again right now. I was thinking about a written reading journal when I remembered I have an actual blog I could use. So here we are.

I have an advance copy of Joan Leegant's new collection Displaced Persons, which she sent me for review. It comes out in June and I'm starting it tonight.
I'm roughly 1/3 of the way through Sarah Waters' wonderful Fingersmith, a Victorian-era crime drama set in and around London.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Books Against Humanity Annual Meme

My annual book meme: It's Cards Against Humanity only with titles of books you read in the past year. It’s fun.

Describe yourself: A Girl’s Story
How do you feel? Draft No. 4
Describe where you currently live: Jersey Breaks
If you could go anywhere…? The Eye of the World
Favorite form of transportation: The Dragon Reborn
Your best friend is: Born to Kvetch
You and your friends are: The Night Flowers
What's the weather like? The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Your favorite time of day is: Before My Actual Heart Breaks
What is life for you? The Great Hunt
You fear: Cars on Fire
Best advice: You Could Make This Place Beautiful 
Thought for the day: The Dead Are Gods
How you would like to die: If All the Seas Were Ink

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Year-End Statistical Roundup for 2023

How many books read in 2023?
58 books in 2023. I wish the number were higher but that's OK. 

How many fiction and non fiction?
33 fiction and 25 nonfiction. Three of the nonfiction titles were audiobooks.

Male/Female author ratio?
23 men to 30 women.

17 authors were people of color. 10 (or 10 that I know of) were Jewish and 3  (that I know of) were queer.

Favorite book of 2023?
Before My Actual Heart Breaks, by Tish Delaney

Oldest book read? Lady Audley's Secret, published in 1862.

Death Valley, by Melissa Broder, which came out in October, 2023.

Longest and shortest book titles?
Shortest title: Artforum, by Cesar Aira
Longest title: One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World, by Michael Frank

Longest and shortest books?
Longest: The Shadow Rising, by Robert Jordan
Shortest: probably Artforum

How many books from the library?
None! I'm a buyer, not a borrower.

Any translated books?
Yes, I read books translated from Spanish, Japanese, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German, and two with portions translated from Yiddish.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Japan, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Israel, Korea, Russia, England, Bangladesh, Brazil. And the fictional world of "Randland," the unofficial fan name for the main continent on which The Wheel of Time series is set.

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?
Robert Jordan, with four books

Any re-reads?

Pushkin Hills, by Sergei Dovlatov

Favorite character of the year?
Egwene from the Wheel of Time series; Lady Audley of Lady Audley's Secret.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?
All of the Robert Jordan books- The Eye of the WorldThe Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising, recommended by my husband, a true Wheel of Time warrior.
The Art of Memoir, was recommended by several writing teachers.
The Artist's Way, was recommended by someone else I know.

Which author was new to you in 2023 that you now want to read the entire works of?
Robert Jordan

Which books are you annoyed you didn't read?
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk and the rest of my TBR.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?
Normal People, by Sally Rooney

Bookish Events in Marie's Life
Started writing again
Got some things published
Took a lot of writing workshops
Enjoyed the Wheel of Time TV show and one read-along podcast, Through the Glass Columns.

Reading Resolutions
More reading about writing
More Wheel of Time- at least one chapter per day
More short stories- keep a collection on the nightstand and read at least one or two stories or essays per week alongside my regular fiction and nonfiction choices.
Continue to work on more diversity in my reading choices
Read the books I want to read first!

Monday, November 13, 2023

It's Monday and I Just Started Reading...


The Shadow Rising! The fourth book in the Wheel of Time series!!!!

So far so good but I'm only one chapter in. That awful Lady Suroth is back. She's the worst!! And who is Ordieth? I have a theory. RAFO. Read and Find Out!