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June 29, 2006 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-06-29

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Arts & Entertainment

ON THE COVER

Dive Into from page 39

town in Kansas after a stop in
London. This tragicomedy is only
the second novel for the octoge-
narian author, whose critically
acclaimed The Dorp was pub-
lished in 1969.

The Cubs and the Kabbalist,
by Byron Sherwin (West Oak
Press; $24.95): With his wife in
a deep depression over the pen-
nant chances of the Chicago Cubs,
Rabbi Jay Loeb performs a kab-
balistic ritual removing the curse
on Wrigley Field. All kinds of mis-
chief ensue. The author, a rabbi, is
a professor and director of doc-
toral studies at Spertus Institute
of Jewish Studies in Chicago.

The Faithful Spy, by Alex
Berenson (Random House;
$24.95): CIA agent John Wells, a
double agent who infiltrates al
Qaeda, finds information that
may be able to stop the most
devastating terrorist attack in
history. The author, a New York
Times reporter, covered the War
on Terror during two tours in Iraq.

Family and Other Accidents,
by Shari Goldhagen (Doubleday;
$23.95): After the death of their
parents, Jack Reed returns to
Cleveland to care for his much
younger brother and to work in
his father's law firm. This novel
follows the loving but contentious
relationship between the two
brothers over the course of more
than 20 years.

Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry
Blondes, by T. Cooper (Dutton;
$24.95): In the tradition of Dave
Eggars and Jonathan Safran Foer,
Cooper writes about the decidedly
eccentric Lipshitz family, from
Russian pogrom to the Texas pan-
handle. Among other mishegas,
the narrator's mother, Esther, is
convinced that Charles Lindbergh
is really her long-lost son Reuven,
who disappeared as a child on the
boat from Russia.

A Taxonomy of Barnacles,
by Galt Niederhoffer (St. Martin's
Press; $24.95): In this detailed
first novel, full of puns and other
linguistic devices, a wealthy
Jewish eccentric with six daugh-
ters forces them to compete
for his fortune. In real life, the
author is one of six daughters of a
wealthy Jewish eccentric.
Everyman, by Philip Roth

42

June 29 • 2006

(Houghton Mifflin; $24): Roth's
27th book centers on an aging
commercial artist who takes stock
of his life as he confronts his fail-
ing health. Love of family and the
New Jersey shore add a sentimen-
tal streak to this short novel.

The Book Thief by Markus
Zusak (Knopf Books for Young
Readers; $16.95): Set in Nazi
Germany, where young Liesel
Meminger loses her brother, then
her parents, this book is narrated
by Death himself. Reading every-
thing she can get her hands on,
and writing her own book, ulti-
mately saves Liesel's life. Marketed
as a young adult book, it was orig-
inally published as an adult novel
in the author's native Australia.

Lilah: A Novel, by Marek Halter
(Crown Publishing Group; $24):
This historical novel follows the
adventures of Lilah, the sister
of the prophet Ezra, who is torn
between her love of the Persian
warrior Antiones and her devo-
tion to the Hebrew nation. It's the
third book in Halter's Canaan
Trilogy, which began with his-
torical novels about Sarah and
Zipporah.

NNNNN, by Carl Reiner (Simon
& Schuster; $21): Nat Noland is a
modestly successful novelist who
finds out surprising facts about
his past — and discovers two
brothers he never knew he had —
when he seeks psychiatric help.
Written by comedy legend Carl
Reiner, this multilayered book is a
Rubik's Cube filled with humor.

Nonfiction

The First and Final
Nightmare: A Son's Memoir,
by Howard Reich (Public Affairs
Books; $22.95): More than
50 years after surviving the
Holocaust, Reich's mother begins
hoarding food and water and
eventually flees her Skokie home,
convinced that someone is try-
ing to kill her. Reich describes his
powerlessness in the face of his
mother's agonizing descent into
madness.

Not Buying It: My Year
Without Shopping, by Judith
Levine (Simon & Schuster; $25):
Faced with $8,000 in credit card
bills, the author, a freelance writer,
attempts to turn her back on

the consumer culture, except for
items she deems necessities. How
her year of living frugally turns
out is the theme of this humorous
memoir.

In Search of Memory: the
Emergence of a New Science
of Mind, by Eric R. Kandel (W.W.
Norton; $27.95): Nobel Prize-win-
ner Kandel explores his own life,
from childhood in Nazi-occupied
Vienna to his search for the bio-
logical basis of memory. Kandel
also reviews the landmarks of
modern biology and peeks into
the future of neurobiology.

Public Editor #1, by Daniel
Okrent (Public Affairs Books;
$22): The collected columns
of the first ombudsman of the
New York Times include essays
on subjects as diverse as the
Republican Party and the syntax
of newspaper corrections. Okrent
wrote the Times' Public Editor
column from its inception in
December 2003 to May 2005.

David and Solomon, by
Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher
Silberman (Simon & Schuster;
$26): The authors of the ground-
breaking The Bible Unearthed
continue their demystification of
biblical tales. Using archeological
findings and original texts, this
book shows how and why the
truth about Israel's great kings
combined with myth and tall
tales to make David and Solomon
models of hope and national des-
tiny for all peoples.

Meetings with Remarkable
People, by Rabbi David Zeller
(Jewish Lights Publishing;
$21.99): Rabbi Zeller's memoir
centers on the valuable life-les-
sons he learned from Ram Dass,
Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig, Carlos
Castaneda and others. The author
is a co-founder of the Network
for Conscious Judaism; Shevet:
Center for Jewish Spirituality
and Meditation and other groups
devoted to spirituality and
transpersonal psychology.

Harry Haft: Survivor of
Auschwitz, Challenger of
Rocky Marciano, by Alan Scott
Haft (Syracuse University Press;
$24.95): After surviving the brutal
boxing matches organized by the
Nazis for their sadistic amuse-
ment, Harry Haft arrived in the
United States in 1948, becoming a
top professional boxer. This mem-
oir by his oldest son comes from
taped interviews with his father
and others.

The Left Hand of God:
Taking Back Our Country
from the Religious
Right, by Michael Lerner
(HarperSanFrancisco; $24.95):
The editor of Tikkun magazine,
Rabbi Lerner examines what
makes the Religious Right attrac-
tive and gives his recipe for a spir-
itual agenda that will help make
liberal ideas attractive again.

The Din in the Head, by
Cynthia Ozick (Houghton Mifflin;
$24): The award-winning novel-
ist-essayist examines the lives
and works of literary figures
from Helen Keller to Isaac Babel,
including an examination of her
own early works. The 20 disparate
essays end with an imaginary
interview with Henry James.

The Bomb in the Basement:
How Israel Went Nuclear
and What It Means for the
World, by Michael Karpin
(Simon & Schuster; $26): Unlike
Iran and Iraq, Israel has become
a nuclear power while keeping
its atomic program a-secret. This
book, written by an Israeli jour-
nalist, is the story of scientists,
politicians, spies and major inter-
national figures, and an educated
guess as to the next step in the
Middle East's nuclear capabilities.

Sweet and Low, by Rich Cohen
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $25):
The tale of the invention of the
first artificial sweetener is also
the timeless story of a poor
Jewish family from Brooklyn who
become rich but not happy. The
author of Tough Jews and The
Avengers, Cohen is the grandson
of the man who made a fortune
selling saccharine in tiny packets.
The Soul of the Story:

Seven Fires: The Urban
Infernos That Reshaped
America, by Peter Charles Hoffer
(Public Affair Books; $27.50):
The 1967 Detroit uprising is one
of the pivotal events analyzed in
this book, which begins with the
Boston Fire of 1760 and ends with
the destruction of the Twin Towers
on 9-11. The author describes the
events leading up to the fires and
the key figures involved, while

showing how disasters can teach
valuable lessons.

Modigliani: A Life, by
Jeffrey Meyers (Harcourt Trade
Publishers; $27): A commercial
and critical failure in his lifetime,
artist Amedeo Modigliani cut a
dramatic figure through the Paris
art world before his untimely
death in 1920. This biography
illuminates the artist's Jewish-
Italian background, his fiery
relationships, his intellectual
influences and the significance of
his work.

Off-White: A Memoir, by
Laurie Gunst (Soho Press; $25):
The author, the youngest child
in a wealthy Jewish family in
Richmond, Va., was raised by
Rhoda Lloyd, a loving and intel-
ligent African-American family
servant. As an adult, she investi-
gates both Rhoda's family and her
own ancestors' checkered past.

America's Songs: The
Stories Behind the Songs of
Broadway, Hollywood and
Tin Pan Alley, by Philip Furia
and Michael Lasser (Routledge;
$29.95): This book is a leisurely
stroll, in chronological order,
through songs written between
1910 and 1977, many with words,
music or both by Jewish musi-
cians and writers. The authors
include interesting anecdotes
about each song, its creators and
performers.

My Father Is a Book:
A Memoir of Bernard
Malamud, by Janna Malamud
Smith (Houghton Mifflin; $24):
Take a peek at the home life of
one of America's greatest authors
in this sensitive memoir by
his daughter. Smith describes
Malamud as a devoted and loving
father, while analyzing his back-
ground and experiences in the
light of his writings.

Friendship: An Expose, by
Joseph Epstein: The veteran social
critic, and author of Snobbery,
investigates the complexities
and complications of American
friendship in contemporary life
— how it is experienced, what
obligations and pressures it cre-
ates and what unique and irre-
placeable satisfactions we take
from having friends. II

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