In mid-2016, Dani Shapiro discovered that the man she thought was her father was, in fact, not her father. Up until that point, she believed she descended from her father's prominent Orthodox family.…She grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community, attending yeshiva, speaking Hebrew. Yet, in one DNA test, who she thought she was completely shifted. Don't worry — we're not spoiling anything. While this is the big, inciting moment of Inheritance, Shaprio's fifth memoir, so much of her incredible story focuses on the aftermath. Kveller had the… >> Read More
Sophia Shalmiyev left the Soviet Union at age 11 with her father, an Azerbaijani Jew. Her parents had been estranged since her father had a judge deem her alcoholic mother "unfit" to parent. Once…they moved to the U.S. in 1990, she never saw her mother again. Shalmiyev's recently published book, Mother Winter, chronicles her childhood and her move to America, her subsequent return to Russia to search for her mother, and her own journey into motherhood. Shalmiyev, 40, began working on Mother Winter about four years ago, just after… >> Read More
In her hit Netflix series Tidying Up, organizing guru Marie Kondo jokingly implied people should only keep 30 books in their home. The backlash from literary lovers was swift, and I totally relate:…I think there are more than 30 books in my car right now. As so many of us know, books aren't like the shoes you once wore that are too small after you gave birth. They're not an outdated lampshade or the broken chair in the corner. They're not the cat carrier that can't be… >> Read More
In 2016, author Dani Shaprio wrote an essay ahead of the publication of her fourth memoir, "When You Write a Memoir, Readers Think They Know You Better Than They Do."
"People who have read my work…feel as if they know me," she writes. "And while certainly there is a powerful intimacy inherent in the experience of reading memoir, readers who meet me seem a bit embarrassed by this intimacy, as if, rather than having read my books, they have seen me naked without my consent. They seem to think of… >> Read More
As someone just starting to raise a Jewish kid, I'm super aware that I want to give my child a full picture of the diverse spectrum of Jewish life. I don't want him to think that Jews are supposed to…look or be a certain way. And, of course, I want him to know that being a Jew also means looking beyond yourself and fighting for a more just world. As someone who grew up with a house full of books — and who wants to instill a love for reading to her children —… >> Read More