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June 21, 2012 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-06-21

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research, Ariely looks anew at ethical
(and unethical) behavior, report-
ing on dishonest companies, insider
trading, cheating in matters large
and small, infidelity and more. A
professor at Duke University, he also
addresses the question of whether
religion improves the practice of
honesty.

Kick Back from page 37

his years as a journalist, the comforts
of literature and the value of solitude,
reminding us that grief is not apart
from life but encompasses it.

Third Base for Life: A Memoir of
Fathers, Sons and Baseball (Vantage
Point) by Joshua L. Berkowitz is the
true story of how the first-time author,
a physician, led his son and a team of
"Jewish Bad News Bears" from a small
Jewish day school in Newton, Mass.,
who band together to challenge the
top 10-year-old talent in the country at
Cooperstown Dream Park; as his play-
ers learn to stand up to their fears, he
learns about his own ability to take the
hard road and face some of life's most
crucial and difficult situations.

Having achieved enlightenment in The
Year of Living Biblically and sharpened
his mind in The Know-It-All, author
A.J. Jacobs tackles self-improvement
in Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's
Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
(Simon and Schuster) as he explores
every aspect of the body — from
biceps to the brain, from testosterone
to toenails — to get into shape; over
the course of two years, he subjects
himself to a grueling but entertaining
regimen of exercise, diets and experi-
ments that yield surprising results.

Harvey Pekar (American Splendor),
one of America's best-known comic-
book writers, died two years ago, just
as he was completing Not the Israel
My Parents Promised Me (Hill and
Wang) with artist JT Waldman. The
graphic memoir includes autobio-
graphical anecdotes and follows Pekar
and Waldman through Cleveland as
they discuss Pekar's changing rela-
tionship with Israel. His take on the
history of the Jewish people and Israel
is sure to be controversial. Waldman's
art combines American Splendor-
like illustrations and motifs inspired
by everything from mythology and
Islamic art to illuminated manuscripts
and Chagall.

38 June 21 • 2012

Road to Valor: A True Story of
World War II Italy, The Nazis,
and the Cyclist Who Inspired a
Nation (Crown) by Alli and Andres
McConnon presents the untold story
of Gino Bartali, an Italian sports leg-
end and war hero. Known as the "Lion
of Tuscany," Bartali won the Tour de
France twice (1938 and 1948) and still
holds the record for the longest time
span between victories. Little has been
written until now about his efforts to
save more than 800 Jews during the
Holocaust. The book is based on 10
years of research in France, Italy and
Israel. Bartali was born in a poor town
in Tuscany and worked and saved to
buy his own first bicycle. A devout
Catholic, he worked for the Italian
resistance, hiding documents in the
frame of his bicycle, and sheltering a
Jewish family in an apartment through
his cycling winnings. The authors are
siblings.

The Fish That Ate The Whale: The
Life and Times of America's Banana
King (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by
Rich Cohen is a biography of Samuel
Zemurray, son of a Jewish farmer
from Russia. Zemurray, once the most
powerful banana importer in America
(he led the United Fruit Company for
about 25 years), started his larger-
than-life career with a pile of overripe
bananas and went on to grow billions
of bananas in the jungles of Central
America. Cohen, the author of Tough
Jews and Sweet Life, sees Zemurray's
life as a parable of the American
dream. The book is now being made
into a major motion picture.

The (Honest) Truth About
Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone
— Especially Ourselves (Harper)
by Dan Ariely is the latest book that
challenges preconceptions by the
bestselling behavioral economist and
author of Predictable Irrational and
The Upside of Irrationality. Using
lively examples drawn from his own

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in
a World That Can't Stop Talking
(Crown) by Susan Cain (whose
grandfather was a pulpit rabbi for 62
years) argues that the constitution-
ally introverted (about one-third
of the population) — "who prefer
listening to talking, reading to regal-
ing, solitude to hanging out with the
gang" — have an inward-focused
temperament uniquely conducive to
creativity, innovation, cooperation,
even leadership; she gives examples
of successful introverts (like Steven
Speilberg) and asserts that risk-lov-
ing extroverts out-shouting cautious
introverts in the financial industry
helped cause the global crisis. She
also helps parents with tips for rais-
ing quiet kids.

Going Solo: The Extraordinary
Rise and Surprising Appeal of
Living Alone (Penguin Press) by Eric
Klinenberg, a professor of sociology
at New York University who grew up
in a Jewish family in Chicago, explores
the dramatic rise of solo living ("the
greatest demographic changes in the
U.S. since the baby boom") and exam-
ines its seismic impact on our culture,
business and politics; contrary to con-
ventional stigmas attached to living
alone — that it is isolating and lonely
— he found that those who live alone
were very socially active and civi-
cally engaged and enjoy better mental
health than unmarried people who
live with others.

Rachelle Bregstein's Women from
the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes
and How They Define Us (Harper)
is a romp through the 20th-century
history of footwear, highlighting pop
culture's most cherished and iconic
pairs, as well as a social history of
women as seen through the lens of
shoes and the actors, designers and
"It Girls" who wore them. "Every
woman should have a sexy pump, a
comfortable wedge and a great flat,"
says Bregstein, who owns 75 pairs.

Imagine: How Creativity Works
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) from
Jonah Lehrer, author of How We
Decide, looks at how we can use the
latest science to unleash our imagina-
tions — and make our cities, compa-

nies and culture more creative; it also
looks at creativity as experienced in
the real world — Bob Dylan's writing
methods, Ruth Handler's idea for the
Barbie doll — and gives tips for real-
izing your creative potential (channel
your inner 7-year-old).

In Swim: Why We Love the Water
(PublicAffairs), broadcast journalist
Lynn Sherr celebrates every aspect
of this ancient activity that has cap-
tivated swimmers from Julius Caesar
to Mark Spitz to Michael Phelps,
including the Jewish mandate to
teach your child to swim, which can
be interpreted in two ways: to prevent
drowning but also, metaphorically,
how to master something by yourself
to get through life.

Religion reporter Matti Friedman,
author of The Aleppo Codex: A
True Story of Obsession, Faith and
the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible
(Algonquin), spent four years and
traveled across three continents seek-
ing the truth about how the Aleppo
Codex — written 1,100 years ago,
considered the most accurate text of
the Hebrew Bible and housed in a
dark grotto in Aleppo, Syria — was
smuggled into the newly founded
State of Israel and how its most
important pages disappeared.

Certainly not a beach read but for
those interested in global issues,
Stuart E. Eizenstat's The Future
of the Jews: How Global Forces
are Impacting the Jewish People,
Israel, and Its Relationship with
the United States (Rowman &
Littlefield) surveys the major geo-
political, economic and security chal-
lenges facing the world in general
and the Jewish world and the United
States in particular. Eizenstat has
held senior U.S. government posi-
tions in three presidential admin-
istrations and is a recipient of the
Courage and Conscience Award from
the government of Israel.

In Legacy: A Genetic History of the
Jewish People (Oxford), medical
geneticist Dr. Harry Ostrer, orga-
nizer of the Jewish HapMap Project
established in 2007 to sequence the
genomes of the Jewish people and
define their origins, migrations and
relatedness, shows that Jews from the
same and different diaspora groups
are linked by genetic threads, some
containing disease genes and others
of unknown attributes, that provide a
biological basis for Judaism. E

Sandee Brawarsky contributed to this

article.

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