Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. I’m back from a month-long hiatus and my mind is consumed with thoughts on literature and reading. Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day and I thought it was appropriate to list some of my favorite Jewish authors. Some you may have heard of while some will be new to you. These twelve authors are not only must-reads but their life experiences are incorporated in their writing. Here they are:
Barbara Amiel is an author and columnist presently living in Toronto. Read her columns here as her books are out of print. https://www.macleans.ca/author/barbaraamiel/
Saul Bellow Collected Stories by Saul Bellow
A collection of treasured stories by the unchallenged master of American fiction
Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow has deservedly been celebrated as one of America’s greatest writers. For more than sixty years he stretched our minds, our imaginations, and our hearts with his exhilarating perceptions of life. Here, collected in one volume and chosen by the author himself, are favorites such as “What Kind of Day Did You Have?”, “Leaving the Yellow House,” and a previously uncollected piece, “By the St. Lawrence.” With his larger-than-life characters, irony, wisdom, and unique humor, Bellow presents a sharp, rich, and funny world that is infinitely surprising. With a preface by Janice Bellow and an introduction by James Wood, this is a collection to treasure for longtime Saul Bellow fans and an excellent introduction for new readers.
Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
Told through one of the most on-pulse genre voices of our generation--New York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow--Radicalized is a timely novel comprised of four science fiction novellas connected by social, technological, and economic visions of today and what America could be in the near, near future.
Unauthorized Bread is a tale of immigration, the toxicity of economic and technological stratification, and the young and downtrodden fighting against all odds to survive and prosper.
In Model Minority, a Superman-like figure attempts to rectifiy the corruption of the police forces he long erroneously thought protected the defenseless...only to find his efforts adversely affecting their victims.
Radicalized is a story of a darkweb-enforced violent uprising against insurance companies told from the perspective of a man desperate to secure funding for an experimental drug that could cure his wife's terminal cancer.
The fourth story, Masque of the Red Death, harkens back to Doctorow's Walkaway, taking on issues of survivalism versus community.
Literary Essays and Reviews: Collected Works of A.M. Klein
The passionately held views of A.M. Klein are focused in these essays on literature and the arts. Ranging from the formally theoretical to the intensely personal, they reflect the enthusiasm and the conviction characteristic of all Klein's writing.
Among the subjects that come under the critic's unblinking eye are various genres of Jewish literature, illuminating not only on their own terms but also for what they reveal about Klein's Jewish poems. There are also essays on Canadian, American, English, and European literature as general subjects, and others on specific works and individual writers, including the acclaimed articles on James Joyce.
Throughout this collection is heard a critical voice sharpened with erudition and enriched with emotion. The essays are framed with an introduction, which presents a thematic analysis, and a biographical chronology, which places the essays in the context of Klein's life and work as teacher, poet, novelist, and critic.
The Imposter Bride: A Novel by Nancy Richler
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
A young, enigmatic woman—Lily Azerov—arrives in post-war Montreal expecting to meet her betrothed, Sol Kramer. When Sol sees Lily at the train station, however, he turns her down. His brother, Nathan, sees Lily and instantly decides to marry her.
But Lily is not who she claims to be, and her attempt to live a quiet life as Nathan Kramer’s wife shatters when she disappears, leaving her baby daughter with only a diary, an uncut diamond and a need to discover the truth.
Who is Lily and what happened to the young woman whose identity she stole? Why did she leave and where did she go? It is up to the daughter Lily abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or truly know.
Night (Night Trilogy) by Elie Wiesel
A New Translation From The French By Marion Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch
Harry Collins is an ad-executive in a future Chicago on an Earth whose population has exploded beyond imagining. Crazed by the pressures of overcrowding, he seeks escape with a suicidal leap from a skyscraper. Stopped, he is hustled off for psychiatric treatment in a odd encampment where he meets an falls in love with an accommodating nurse named Sue. But who is the strange Dr. Leffingwell, performing experiments on the premises? Harry's horrific discoveries in the secret lab cause him to flee into the outside world -- flee into the forces that would help change and shape this tortured world. But then, years later, when his assassin's rifle is trained on Dr. Leffingwell himself, he is halted by the mutant product of that fateful lab. His own son. Here is an exciting work of science fiction by an acknowledged master of suspense and horror, Robert Bloch.
Summer Sisters: A Novel by Judy Blume
In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changes forever when Caitlin Somers chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomes Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.”
Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin begs Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—because she wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart.
Under Occupation: A Novel by Alan Furst
From the master of espionage and intrigue, this novel about heroic resistance fighters in 1942 occupied Paris is based on true events of Polish prisoners in Nazi Germany, who smuggled valuable intelligence to Paris and the resistance.
Occupied Paris in 1942, a dark, treacherous city now ruled by the German security services, where French resistance networks are working secretly to defeat Hitler. Just before he dies, a man being chased by the Gestapo hands off to Paul Ricard a strange looking drawing. It looks like a part for a military weapon; Ricard realizes it must be an important document smuggled out of Germany to aid the resistance. As Ricard is drawn deeper and deeper into the French resistance network, his increasingly dangerous assignments lead him to travel to Germany, and along the underground safe houses of the resistance--and to meet the mysterious and beautiful Leila, a professional spy.
Alan Furst has been called "one of the best contemporary writers" by David McCullough, and "the most talented espionage novelist of our generation" by Vince Flynn.
Living My Life by Emma Goldman
Radical thinker and writer Emma Goldman presents her life story and memories in Living My Life, first published in 1931. From her arrival in New York as a 20-year-old seamstress, when she immediately launched into a life of activism and public agitation, she recalls her childhood in Lithuania, her immigration to the U.S. as a teenager, and her wild adventures as an independent and intelligent woman. An important and influential figure in such far-flung geopolitical events as the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War, Goldman is one of the most storied people of the 20th century. And her story, in her own inimitable words, is one of the great biographies, and one of the great personal histories of a turbulent era. Anarchist and feminist EMMA GOLDMAN (1869-1940) is one of the towering figures in global radicalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Lithuania, she emigrated to the United States as a teenager, was deported in 1919 for her criticism of the U.S. military draft in World War I, and died in Toronto after a globetrotting life. An early advocate of birth control, women's rights, and workers' unions, she was an important and influential figure in such far-flung geopolitical events as the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War. Among her many books are My Disillusionment in Russia (1925) and Living My Life (1931).
The Book of Mischief: New and Selected Stories by Steve Stern
"In the 25 years since [Stern] published his first book, younger Jewish writers have run with a similar shtick . . . But Stern was there first." —The Toronto Globe and Mail
The Book of Mischief triumphantly showcases twenty-five years of outstanding work by one of our true masters of the short story. Steve Stern's stories take us from the unlikely old Jewish quarter of the Pinch in Memphis to a turn-of-thecentury immigrant community in New York; from the market towns of Eastern Europe to a down-at-the-heels Catskills resort. Along the way we meet a motley assortment of characters: Mendy Dreyfus, whose bungee jump goes uncannily awry; Elijah the prophet turned voyeur; and the misfit Zelik Rifkin, who discovers the tree of dreams. Perhaps it's no surprise that Kafka's cockroach also makes an appearance in these pages, animated as they are by instances of bewildering transformation. The earthbound take flight, the meek turn incendiary, the powerless find unwonted fame. Weaving his particular brand of mischief from the wondrous and the macabre, Stern transforms us all through the power of his brilliant imagination.
The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer (English and Yiddish Edition) by Isaac Bashevis Singer
The forty-seven stories in this collection, selected by Singer himself out of nearly one hundred and fifty, range from the publication of his now-classic first collection, Gimpel the Fool, in 1957, until 1981. They include supernatural tales, slices of life from Warsaw and the shtetls of Eastern Europe, and stories of the Jews displaced from that world to the New World, from the East Side of New York to California and Miami.
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MRS N, Book Addict