Nov 21 2014
Journalist and Kveller contributor Sarah Wildman is the author of the recently released “Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind” (Riverhead Books, 2014). Over the six years it took Wildman to research and then write the book, she also became the mother of two girls, aged 5 ¾ and 17 months. She chatted with me about the motivations and challenges of chasing down this extraordinary love story on both sides of the Atlantic.
How would you characterize your relationship with your grandfather as a child?
My grandfather was larger than life, the patriarch in every way we think of that word. He was incredibly warm, incredibly charismatic, and he made everyone feel that he or she was the only person in the room. He used to kiss my hand, like a Viennese gentleman. I was in awe of him, a bit.
How did you happen to find out about his paramour, Valy, and what drew you to learn more about her? Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 17 2014
Adam Mansbach is an author of contemporary literary fiction, including the books “Rage is Back” and “The End of the Jews.” However, he’s undoubtedly best known as the author of the New York Times best-selling classic of subversive parenting, “Go the F**k to Sleep.” In that book, Mansbach articulated the deep, almost primal frustration of a parent whose kid just won’t go the…well, you get it. The book was an immediate sensation. His new book, “You Have to F*cking Eat,” taps into that same seemingly bottomless reservoir of parental annoyance, also to humorous effect.
Mansbach took time last week to chat with Kveller contributing editor Jordana Horn about Lenny Bruce, radical honesty and when it’s OK to unleash parental F-bombs.
When you’re not writing these books, would you call yourself a “potty mouth” in real life? Is your internal narrator a Lenny Bruce-esque salty sailor?
Internally, I’m very much a Lenny Bruce/Richard Pryor mash-up. I come from the school of thought that, when properly deployed, profanity can be the most eloquent form of language we have. I grew up around people who cursed with skill and took pleasure in it. When I’m talking to myself, I sound like this in my head all the time. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 31 2014
“What are you reading?”
My 3-year-old had suddenly materialized next to the chair in my room. I was so immersed in my book that I hadn’t even heard her come in.
“A book,” I said, smiling.
“I love books,” she said. “What’s your book about?”
“It’s about love,” I said, telling her the slimmest sliver of the truth.
The truth is the book was “Paper Love,” by my friend and fellow Kveller writer Sarah Wildman. I highly recommend it–but the book is far from a typical love story. It is the true, well-researched story of Sarah’s exploration into her deceased grandfather’s romantic history, and the correspondence from the lover he left behind in Holocaust-era Europe, while he went on to America. He lived through the war. And she did not. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 30 2014
The author and her not-husband.
Well, for one thing, I don’t know him.
But, from now on, whenever anyone asks me yet again why I married my African-American husband instead of a fellow Soviet-born Jew, I will hand them Shteyngart’s recently released memoir, “Little Failure.” For in it, he has done a pitch-perfect job of putting on display everything I absolutely, positively cannot stand in a man.
To whit, the following are things that, in the history of humanity, have only ever happened to Gary Shteyngart, and then solely for the purpose of vexing him:
1. Russia is cold
3. Attending Jewish Day School on financial aid Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 29 2014
What can we say about our contributing editor Carla Naumburg? She can write about her Jewish identity just as eloquently as she can write about poop (and that is a seriously high compliment).
So when word came out that she was working on a parenting book, we knew this was going to be the real deal. Just released from Parallax Press, “Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters” is a must-read for anyone feeling overwhelmed with this whole parenting thing (yes, that would be you). Framed around the concept of mindful parenting, Carla uses anecdotes from her own chaotic life to show that it is possible to take a breath, slow down, and connect with your children in more meaningful ways.
We are very excited to give away a copy of Carla’s book to three lucky winners. To enter, fill out the form below by next Wednesday, November 5th. Good luck, and congratulations, Carla! Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 23 2014
Parenting a preschooler can sometimes feel immense and impossible. The sheer fact that my kid might have lifelong memories of something I did or said haunts me at night. I’ve already trudged through the muddy waters of newborn and toddler stuff and came out (barely) on the other side with some sense of confidence and strategy. But with my firstborn, I wake up each day to unknowns and I’m often up at night Googling how to best connect with him.
I have found that if I’ve talked with my son about something, it helps tremendously if the concept is reinforced by some sort of media. For example, we’ve been talking a lot about wasting water. Money and worth, in general, are very hard concepts for small children to wrap their brains around. I initially tried with “water costs money” and that approach was a giant intangible fail. So now, when the water is running while he is watching his tongue dance in the mirror, I tell him that we don’t want to waste water because it is a precious resource and it might go away someday. Just like the trees in “The Lorax.” He seemed to get that. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 30 2014
No effort is more futile or maddening than trying to persuade a picky eater that food is necessary to survive.
The best-selling author of the refreshingly blunt children’s book titled “Go the F**k to Sleep” understands that pain more than you know. Adam Masbach is back with a long-awaited sequel, “You Have to F**king Eat,” published by indie publishing house, Akashic Books.
Despite the naughty language, in 2011, Mansbach’s debut topped The New York Times bestseller list, selling 1.5 million copies worldwide. When inimitable Samuel L. Jackson did a dramatic narration of the book for Audible, “Go the F**k to Sleep” quickly became a viral sensation. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 15 2014
Ione Skye solidified her role as teen idol when she played Diane Court in “Say Anything…” alongside John Cusack in 1989. Since then, Ione’s kept herself busy with acting, including a guest stint on “Arrested Development,” as well as becoming a mother of two. She recently added “author” to her list of many titles with the release of her children’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation,” an adorable picture book that introduces kids to the wonderful world of Yiddish. We chatted with Ione about her own Yiddish-speaking grandparents, her family’s unique mix of tradition, and of course, boom boxes.
We’re also giving away three copies of Ione’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation,” to three lucky readers. To enter the giveaway, scroll down to the bottom of this post.
1. We immediately fell in love with the story, the characters, and the language in your children’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation.” What was your inspiration? Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 11 2014
“Mah Jongg is an old lady game.”
I tried to block out those words as I carried the small red suitcase of tiles to my first lesson. I had fully assumed I wouldn’t like it, but honestly, once I understood the whole “crack bam dot” business, it was a blast. Challenging, fast moving and competitive, all of the qualities I like best in a game.
“So I like Mah Jongg,” I told myself, “doesn’t mean I’m old.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 31 2014
Do we, as Jewish mothers, love our children “too much”?
Arguably, the fact that I react to that statement by saying, “There’s no such thing as too much!” says all you need to know. Of course, I also feel that way about fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.
The question is inherently posed by “The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much By Our Moms,” edited by Rachel Ament. It’s a quick-read book of essays that vary widely in quality, but are all about the experience of being a daughter to a Jewish mother. Read the rest of this entry →