On Turpentine Lane
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman
Review by Nat Bernstein for Jewish Book Council
It’s been kind of a topsy-turvy week, so the image of a quaint suburban house ripped from the earth and spun like Dorothy Gale’s twister-borne home feels about right at the moment.
As bizarrely inviting as the picture is, it’s the details that make this book cover special: the flying SOLD sign, the sensible brown shoe flying off the foot one of the three figures rattling around inside the suspended house, the sheet of paper blown against the leg of another, the plaid lining of the open trench coat… The detail of the illustrations translates the care with which Elinor Lipman has crafted the Jewish family at the heart of her latest novel. On Turpentine Lane follows private school director of stewardship Faith Frankel as she struggles with an absent fiancée, a cloying mother, an unfaithful father with illusions of artistic grandeur, and an officemate whose friendship might be growing a little too close…
Our Kind of Traitor
By Amy Newman Smith for Jewish Review of Books
"I am not a fan of spy thrillers,” Uri Bar-Joseph said recently. “The only good spy novel author is John le Carré.” That gives readers fair warning not to expect exploding wristwatches and car chases from the Haifa University professor and former intelligence analyst’s latest book, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel. Even the subtitle might be a bit inflated, he said, since there’s no way of really knowing what the outcome of the Yom Kippur War would have been without the spy code-named The Angel. What Bar-Joseph does offer is a comprehensive account of how a well-placed Egyptian became Israel’s most valuable intelligence asset, and how disagreements between Israeli spymasters over the information he provided ultimately led to his death.
The 26 Books We’re Sure To Be Reading This Year
Talya Zax for The Forward
Winter is theoretically a fabulous time for curling up with a hot drink and a book, although that’s a peculiar sentence to write on a 60-degree day in New York. Still, the cold weather will inevitably return, and with it the need to read, read, read. Our favorite picks for the endeavor —in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — below.
By Andre Aciman
Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel “Call Me By Your Name” — imagistic, languid, perceptive — has long been admired for its depiction of queer sexuality; reviewing the book in The New Yorker, Cynthia Zarin pronounced Aciman “an acute grammarian of desire.” His new collection of linked stories promises to be a similarly deft examination of love and lust, tracking a man named Paul’s affairs throughout his lifetime.
Inaugural Book Club Award Winner and Finalists
Jewish Book Council
Every month, JBC Book Clubs offers weekly email subscribers a dedicated email with special book club features that will enhance a book club or add to your personal reading experience.
Whether your book club is formal or informal; social or educational; interested in reading only books of Jewish content, just a few Jewish books throughout the year, or good literature that happens to have Jewish themes, JBC has a book for you and the resources to take you to the next level.
Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis
Review by Philip K. Jason for Jewish Book Council
Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards - Book of the Year
Daniel Gordis’s new history of Israel should become a standard for years to come, perhaps even a classic. At 576 pages, Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn can indeed be considered concise, as so much more could be and has been written about each era and associated issues addressed in the book. Clear, forceful, frank, and often inspiring, this mighty tome of both academic and personal writing explores the ups, downs, and turning points in a history that begins with Theodore Herzl’s vision and ends with tomorrow’s challenges.