Some of you may remember that the library used to subscribe to Nextbook Reader, a large format magazine. (We still have all the issues out, on the second white shelf.) The paper magazine ceased to exists, but the people who were behind it created an online version called Tablet Magazine. It launched June 2009 and has been adding content daily. Even if you don’t agree with all of their choices for topics, their writing style or opinion, it is still very much worth to follow them, as they produce quality and quantity of interesting Jewish content.
The magazine’s “arts & Culture” section has a subsection dedicated to books. I could say that I read it “cover to cover”, but there are no covers in online magazines and being on ongoing publications there aren’t even single “issues or volumes”. Here is a selection just from their April articles. I omitted the names of the authors from these taglines on purpose, because I think they are interesting enough in themselves without having to resort to namedropping.
- In stories written in Poland and the U.S., the modernist master Isaac Bashevis Singer mined folk tales to convey the 20th century’s essential cruelty
- Thane Rosenbaum’s young-adult novel The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, takes on the Holocaust and Sept. 11 but can’t reconcile Jewish past and future.
- Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind remains as important as ever, and as misunderstood, 25 years after the 1980s culture wars. (See corresponding picture right.)
- In a new English translation of Second Person Singular, Israeli novelist Sayed Kashua gives voice to the Arab minority in the Jewish state.
Some (or many) of you’ve heard about Pinterest, a picture based social networking site that ”lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web” according to its self definition. The library didn’t join, but the librarian did. One of my “boards” (aka category of posted pictures) there is on the “World of Jewish Books.” I post there 5-10 pictures/links a week, mostly on new books that come to my attention. Nowadays I don’t have as much time to write or even read as I would like to, but this is a good way of keep some track of books (and anything book related) that interest me. Here are some of my latest entry from there:
- An introduction to the life and work of David Vogel, author of Viennese Romance, and how it relates to the creation of Modern Hebrew Literature – Tablet Magazine.
- Announcing a new publisher of Jewish Books, Mosaica Press, aiming “to uplift, explain and inspire – without negativity.” (See logo on the right)
- On Kar-Ben, a great publisher of Children books, opening its eBookstore, with over 170 of its Jewish interest eBooks available across age levels and topic.
- Sharing the news about The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition, a new book, edited by Peter Cole
- Linking to the crowdfunding efforts of Penny Wolin, a local artist, to raise money so she could publish her book on American Photographers of Jewish Ancestry.
This post was written last week but accidentally didn’t get posted.
The library and its librarian is back after the break due to the Passover festivities. Today was another fun day at the library.
I got a call earlier the week that today the religious school school’s 10-12 year old students will need books on Israel. Thus as soon as I got into the library I pulled 3+3 books for them. The first set of three included
- Arthur Tcholakian’s “Israel, land of promise” a 30 year old paperback full of excellent black and white photographs
- David Bamberger’s “Young Person’s History of Israel“, a great introduction to Israel in five parts: A land and a people, early Zionism, the road to independence, building a state, Israel today
- A Kid’s Catalog of Israel by Chaya M. Burstein is more in depth than the other two and the drawings are also funny and helpful.
The other three books I thought the children might enjoy are large format picture books:
While I was pulling these out a a teacher came in and asked my help to translate some Hebrew words to English for a game. The first two dictionaries I grabbed didn’t help, but with the third one it was a breeze.
Next I checked in the books that were left in the library’s inbox. I had mixed feeling about it. On the one hand it was good to see that people are using the library and returning books in an timely manner. On the other hand all of these books were Passover related and with one exception all for children. This signaled that the library use is event/holiday driven, we didn’t have a lot of other traffic recently. Furthermore it’s great that adults borrow books for their children, but what about themselves? We have treasures they would surely enjoy had they take the time to browse our collection or ask me for recommendations.