Sep 14 2012
In 1990, at 8 years old, I went away to sleepaway camp for the first time. My parents chose Camp Morasha in Pennsylvania, 3,000 miles away from my Seattle abode, partially because my father had attended years earlier, and partially because it was filled with my cousins. It also granted them an excuse to eat their way through New York’s kosher restaurants on their way to seeing us on Visiting Day, but this is a realization I only came to recently.
Is listening to stories a traditional sleepaway camp activity? At Morasha it certainly was. Every Shabbat morning, instead of a speech about that week’s Torah portion, we were told a story. It was always about the animals of the Magical Forest. We looked forward to hearing about Leah the Lion, Moishy the Monkey, Ze’ev the Wolf, and more. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 16 2012
Karl Taro Greenfeld is a half-Japanese, half-Jewish writer whose work has taken him around the world in many ways. He was managing editor of TIME Asia, editor of Sports Illustrated and is the author of two books about Asia. Triburbia is his first foray into fiction, and is a Dubliners-esque portrait of a city–New York and specifically TriBeCa–through its people and parents. In the well-written series of stories that somehow all coalesce into a novel, parents learn how to parent by doing and kids learn how to torment one another much as the adults involved torment themselves. Greenfeld took time to do a Q&A with Kveller’s Jordana Horn about the transition from journalism to fiction, nightmares of parenting, and books with pink covers.
Your book is an ensemble piece of sorts, focusing on various parents in TriBeCa. What made you–a journalist who’s written extensively on Asia–take on this particular subject? Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 13 2012
Do you read lots of books to your kids before bed? Are you always looking for new titles to add to the collection? And are you interested in instilling some Jewish religious values in your kids?
If so, consider adding one (or all) of these five books to your bedtime routine. Each one teaches the tykes a Jewish value* (even if its not immediately apparent). Lilah Tov!
* These values can all be traced back to the Torah or Jewish scripture. That said, these are human values, too, and each of these books can be understood that way, as well.
1. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
What it’s about: The witch has a broom and a cat and a tall hat and long red braids. On her travels, she meets a dog and a frog and a bird that all ask if they can join her on the broom. The witch happily invites them to hop on. The broom breaks, and then the crew is accosted by a dragon. But the animals band together and save the witch. In gratitude, she builds a souped-up broom with something for everyone. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 7 2012
As we gear up for our first Kveller book club discussion, here’s an interview with the author of The Little Bride, Anna Solomon. Be sure to check back here tomorrow around noon to discuss the book with Kveller’s contributing editors and other book clubbers! And then, on Thursday August 9, join us for a Twitter chat with Anna from 12-1 p.m. EST by following along with the hashtag #kvellerlit.
What was the initial inspiration for The Little Bride?
I was Googling myself! How lame is that, right? But there you go–it led me on a great adventure. I discovered an Anna Solomon Freudenthal, and a website called Stories Untold: Jewish Women Pioneers. Just the title fascinated me–I’d had no idea that there were Jewish pioneers in the American West. And when I came across one woman, Rachel Bella Calof, who’d been a mail-order bride to North Dakota, I knew I’d found a story I wanted to tell.
What kind of research did you have to do in order to write the book? Did you travel to South Dakota? Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 19 2012
I don’t like most mainstream porn. I don’t need to see every ingrown hair on an enthusiastically waxed vulva. Skin tags on testicles don’t do it for me. Close ups just aren’t sexy. They leave nothing to the imagination. It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching sex on the screen–in fact, there are scenes from Sexo y Lucia that are my go-to “entertainment” (ahem) when the kids are sleeping on Saturday afternoons. (And now you know.) It’s just that when the camera zooms in and I can practically screen the guy for testicular cancer or see the girl’s cervix, the whole thing becomes an anatomy lesson. So. Not. Sexy. (Unless Dr. House shows up. I’m just saying.)
Look. It cums down to this: I’m a big picture kind of girl who enjoys using her imagination. I like when we don’t see everything. In other words, pull the camera back a little and show me two–or three, or four or 10 or 100 or whatever–naked bodies writhing in ecstasy, and I’ll watch. Again and again.
And again. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 17 2012
Reading Jeffrey Kluger’s fascinating book, The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, I learned that “Schoolhouse Rock” may have lied to me.
Three may well not be a magic number.
In fact, when it comes to the ideal number of children per family, three might possibly be the very worst one. (Fun fact: I have three kids! I would go for four, but my husband has informed me that while I may have as many children as I see fit, he’s never changing another diaper again. I am to do with that information what I will.) Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 26 2012
Joel Stein is a weekly columnist for TIME Magazine. Upon finding out that he was expecting a son, he realized he did not possess any of the classic “manly traits,” so he spent some time going on “man adventures,” which are chronicled in his new book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity. Below, he talks about his 70s Jewish childhood, who is allowed to drive a Lamborghini, and the time he laughed when his wife cried.
You grew up in Edison, New Jersey. What was your childhood there like? And can we agree that a New Jersey childhood makes you inherently predisposed to be hilarious? Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 12 2012
My husband Jon has frequently commented that my cooking might taste better if I did not regularly read novels while I cook. I tell him that this is a charming detail about me that will elicit loving laughter when he mentions it during his eulogy at my funeral. He finds this annoying, for whatever reason. He then says something like, “A smoke alarm should not be what makes you put down the book,” or that normal people do not have books in the drawers under the stove. Well, I never said I was normal, hon.
Here are some recommendations for those few-and-far-between moments you might snatch for yourself this summer. This list is both newer books and older ones, paperbacks and hardcovers, fiction and non, spanning various levels of intellectual rigor–though you will note that a certain bondage fantasy has conspicuously been left off the list!
Please feel free to add suggestions (along with a little topical blurb) in the comments. A friend of mine mentioned she was going on a no-television-summer…and now that Mad Men and Game of Thrones are over, I may join her. Kveller book club, anyone?
1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn: This one is why my family’s dinner will be burnt tonight. I just bought it this morning and am riveted. It’s the story of a man whose beautiful wife, Amy, goes missing in a foul play scenario on their fifth anniversary. As the reader, you’re hooked as you go between the husband, Nick’s, retelling of what’s happening in the investigation, and journal entries from Amy. It’s not just a “whodunit,” though you’ll be dying to know, but it’s also an intelligent and piercing look inside the wildly weird and dysfunctional world of a marriage. Terrific.
Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 21 2012
Ugh, new trend alert!
Let’s just say that you heard it here first, but we fear there is a new trend in parenting literature that we’ll call the mockumanual (get it? like a fake parenting book?). It started of course with the wildly popular mock-children’s book, Go the F*!% to Sleep. That book rocketed its way to #1 on Amazon months before it was even released and then the author Adam Mansbach managed to sell the film rights! (That one should be as good as the film version of What to Expect when You’re Expecting!)
So really, it was only a matter of time before the copycats started to come out (Goodnight Ipad, anyone?). And now the trend has jumped from parodying literature, to parodying that thing that’s all too easy to mock–the parenting manual. How Not to Kill Your Baby: A Slightly Useless Guide hit bookstores yesterday. (And no need to point this out, but we did notice that both Adam Mansbach and Jacob Sager Weinstein are Jewish.)
Am I the only one who finds the whole thing sort of annoying? Or am I just pissed that Kveller didn’t write it first?
Mar 19 2012
Well friends, it’s that season. Time to start thinking about your seders, using up your bread products, and reading books to your kids about Passover. To that end, we’ve teamed up with Kar-Ben Publishing and have a Passover book contest for you.
The lucky winner will receive a basket of Sammy Spider Passover fun, including two books and a plush toy. (If you’re not familiar with the character of Sammy Spider, he is a lovable spider who gets introduced to all of the Jewish holidays through his friendship with the Shapiro family.)
So how do you enter? Just write in below with your favorite item on the Seder plate. The contest ends this Friday, March 23, at 5 pm, so enter now!