Step Right Up to the Jewish Book Carnival

By Erika Dreifus on November 16, 2014

Jewish Book Carnival

Welcome to the November 2014 stop for the Jewish Book Carnival! The Carnival is a project of one of our favorite organizations: the Association of Jewish Libraries. In its simplest terms, the Carnival is “a monthly event where bloggers who blog about Jewish books can meet, read and comment on each others’ posts.”

But “bloggers” can be defined broadly. If you run a podcast series, or you edit a publication that regularly posts book reviews/interviews online, you are warmly invited to participate, too. And you’ll notice all kinds of content in our contributors’ offerings this month.

The Fig Tree Books blog is especially pleased to be hosting the Carnival at the start of Jewish Book Month, which is always the month preceding Hanukkah. So without further ado, we present the November Carnival!

  • The newest episode of The Book of Life podcast, hosted by librarian Heidi Estrin, features two live interviews from the Seminar on Jewish Story 2014, held in New York City in May. Authors Helaine Becker (Gottica) and Yael Zoldan (Shimmy Shambone Will Not Take a Bath) speak about the Jewish and universal aspects of their writing for children.
  • Anna Levine reports that on Jodie Books, “Eight Authors Eight Days” will highlight the authors of children’s Hanukkah books and “Hanukkah Books from Israel” introduces books in Hebrew (with English explanations).
  • Over on Jewish Books for Kids, Barbara Bietz interviews Rachel Weingarten, author of  Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year (Fall River Press). Barbara writes: “Though not a children’s book, Ancient Prayer is appropriate for all ages and would make a beautiful Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift.”
  • How are weekly parsha books like popcorn? You can’t stop at only one! Especially if, as with this new series for kids, the books take an innovative new approach that’s sure to appeal to many families. Read Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod’s review of the Every Picture Tells a Story series at Adventures in MamaLand. (Additionally, MacLeod explains why she wrote a Jewish book about Christmas.)
  • Bagels, Books & Schmooze reviews Matti Friedman’s acclaimed The Aleppo Codex.
  • Batya Medad was surprised that she liked this book about a Jewish werewolf. Curious? Then read her review.
  • TLV.1 radio host Marcela Sulak introduces us to Assaf Gavron’s newly translated novel The Hilltop in her podcast “Israel in Translation.” The novel tackles Israel’s most internally divisive issue: the expansion of West Bank settlements. (We also get to hear Gavron sing with his band “The Mouth and Foot.”)
  • On The Best Chapter, Diana Bletter interviews Janice Steinberg, author of The Tin Horse, (Random House) an inter-generational story of two Jewish sisters and the immigrant experience in early twentieth-century Los Angeles.
  • Life Is Like a Library reviews the recent biography of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, zt”l.
  • Behrman House notes the history-making inauguration of Rabbi Deborah Waxman as head of the Reconstructionist movement.
  • A Damaged Mirror explores a new venue for Jewish book club discussions by offering a case study in using Facebook Events.
  • Fresh Ideas from HBI (the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) profiles Marcia Falk, whose The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season offers both Hebrew and English blessings for meals, prayers for services, and other poems and meditations for personal reflection.
  • We’re thrilled to welcome to the Carnival Deborah Kalb, a freelance writer and editor who interviews a wide range of authors—fiction, nonfiction, children’s—including writers on Jewish themes, on Book Q & As with Deborah Kalb. Take a look at the recent interview with radio host Martin Goldsmith, who writes in Alex’s Wake about his journey to find out more about his grandfather and uncle, passengers on the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis in 1939.
  • My Machberet presents a delayed acquaintance with Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant.
  • Last, but by no means least, we at Fig Tree Books would like to draw your attention to the very first installment in our freelance review project: Carl Rollyson on Susan Sontag’s Death Kit.