The Bookshelf: JWA’s 2018-2019 Book List
The Scroll’s Year in Review
By The Scroll for Tablet Magazine
Some 2018 reading you might have missed to catch up on in the year ahead
A few weeks ago we offered a neat, numbered list of the “Tablet Top 10: An entirely subjective list, presented in no particular order, of our 10 favorite articles from Tablet’s Arts & Culture and News & Politics sections in 2018.“
That was the formal affair; ‘entirely subjective’ yes, but, nevertheless, presented with all the prestige and institutional authority of the Tablet imprimatur. Today, in a rather more impulsive and personal manner, The Scroll offers some ad hoc recommendations of its own from outside the Tablet universe.
On the Future of the Holocaust Novel
By Bram Presser for Jewish Book Council
In the not-too-distant future, the Holocaust will have passed from living memory. There will be no survivors left to tell us of the horrors they endured, or the triumph of survival, or even the mundane minutiae that is so rarely acknowledged. What they will have left behind is, of course, extraordinary. In volume. In breadth. In depth. Countless words, many of them assembled into great works of literature, others into more modest efforts, written down so that their families might know. Thousands upon thousands of hours of audio and video testimony, pictures, diagrams, photos, ephemera of the most varied kinds. Soon, however, it will all begin to gather dust, to fade into history. It will become a setting, a context, just like every other historical catastrophe.
What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball
Review by Heidi Sax for Jewish Book Council
Talk about salacious! In her debut novel, What to Do About the Solomons, Bethany Ball leaves no stone unturned as she gradually divulges the inner psyches, darkest secrets, and most problematic idiosyncrasies of her kibbutznik characters. Lust, drugs, money, and other excesses are no strangers to the Solomon family. Lovers of classic Jewish literature and gossip rags unite: this one’s got something for everyone.
My Mother's Son: A Novel David Hirshberg
Review by Renita Last for Jewish Book Council
My Mother’s Son is a moving coming-of-age story spiced with dark family secrets, historical references, dirty politics, and poignant immigrants’ tales that beautifully evoke life in 1950s Boston.
Now a successful radio raconteur, Joel reminisces about his childhood and the years beyond. “When you’re a kid,” he laments, “they don’t always tell you the truth.” This is the account of how the thoughtful, clever, and open narrator finds and unfolds the truths that were woven into the lies, exaggerations, and family lore he’s been told.