Author Archive

Judaism in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” and “Ask for a Convertible”

How does one raise a child to be culturally Jewish, to speak Hebrew and find meaning in the familial and ritualistic aspects of the holidays, without going to synagogue, fasting, or talking about Hashem? How can we explain to our son that he can be American but also Israeli?

What it Means to Be

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In her skin-piercing style, Sharon Olds demonstrates that legitimacy doesn’t always come from support and encouragement. Proof of existence, of value, can sometimes come from the darkest places.

The Body in Distress

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Our bodies can be instruments, weapons, sources of joy and pleasure and intense turmoil. Two books by Jess Arndt and Ron Dahan explore this, demonstrating all that our bodies can do and signify.

Child Sexuality and the Never Filmed Scene in Stephen King’s It

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There is a part of King’s iconic novel that has been left out of both of its film chapters (as well as previous adaptations). And while I understand and agree with the filmmakers’ decision to leave it out, I admit I would be awed by anyone who attempted to

Power and Obsession in Devotion

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The scale of privilege constantly shifts in Madeline Stevens’ debut novel, fostering a lethal combination of gratitude, jealousy, and resentment within its protagonist.

The Uncannily Foreign World of Westside

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Reading W.M. Akers’ debut novel is a magnificent experience, but it is uncomfortable, to say the least—the world it depicts, a 1921 version of Manhattan, is not so unfamiliar after all. As fantasy novels often do, the book offers a disturbing allegory for our times.

David Grossman’s Ode to a Lost Child

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From the moment children are conceived, we become acutely aware of the fact that they could also die.

Tracing Ancestry in The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

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Throughout his life, the kitchen was the place where truth always found Michael Twitty. It was where he first came out to his mother. Where he first felt kinship toward Jewish tradition. And where he decided to delve as deeply as possible into the culinary history of his ancestors.

The Body in Pain

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Karen Havelin’s debut novel keeps readers teetering on the edge of an abyss that cannot quite be named—the notion of living an existence of ongoing pain, the isolation of a disintegrating body—only to pull them back to a sunny meadow of hope, beauty, and temporary relief.

Reading The Human Stain

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Philip Roth’s book is an in-depth, punch-in-the-gut study of the notion of judgment and blame-laying.