October 26, 2010 by Reader's Connection
From November 2nd through the 17th, the Jewish Community Center will host the 12th Annual Ann Katz Festival of Books. Visit their website for a more complete list of events and your chance to register for them. Here are some of the books whose authors will appear.
Larry’s Kidney : Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant and Save his Life by Daniel Asa Rose (Nov 3rd)
In addition to having one of the longest titles outside of academic publishing, this book is a side-splitting tour de force that whisks readers off to China on a quest to get a transplant for the author’s cousin Larry. Second-time memoirist Rose recounts their exploits with an insuperable wit that will appeal to readers who crave unrelenting humor. In a more serious vein, Larry’s challenging journey to China will resonate with readers who are rightfully concerned about the plight of American patients who may be relegated for years to an organ transplant waiting list. — Library Journal
You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story by Annabelle Gurwitch & Jeff Kahn (Nov 6th)
Married for 13 years, Gurwitch and Kahn look back with laughter at the highs, the lows, and their “different marital needs.” . . . Opening with Jeff’s pursuit of Annabelle, they write in a lighthearted fashion about dating, cats, living together, marriage, the honeymoon, and lots of sex: “In the beginning, there was sex and it was good. In the middle, it became something to schedule like a tennis lesson and flu shot.” A genuine crisis interrupted their comedic conflicts when their son was born with birth defects, a situation that affected their marriage: “We became each other’s psychological punching bags.” In the concluding chapter, they speculate on the future direction of their marriage, possibly “like the bonds of emperor penguins and Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.” Readers will hope they stay together to write more heartfelt, funny books like this one. — Publishers Weekly
As a Moscow correspondent for the L.A. Times and a reporter for the New York Times, Goldberg’s life was driven by career deadlines. Yet, like her friends Jones, a recently divorced writer, and Ferdinand, a single reporter for the Washington Post, Goldberg longed for a child. Having just ended a relationship, Goldberg decided to order eight vials of sperm from California Cryobank, a deceptively hopeful maneuver that pushed all three down the path toward motherhood. That they actually make it, and find long-term relationships along the way, makes for a happy journey, but the power of this three-pronged narrative is the trio’s candor regarding the compromises and complications that arise in the process of becoming mothers . . . This personal, carefully recounted tale will resonate with any career woman wondering if it’s too late to have it all. — Publishers Weekly
A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the
First Family to Your Family by Clara Silverstein (Nov 10th)
When Michelle Obama decided to turn a chunk of White House lawn into a vegetable patch, she was cheered by parents who want their kids to eat better and elders who recall victory gardens. This book chronicles the first year of the remarkable garden with its many dozens of vegetables and herbs, including descendants of seeds planted by Thomas Jefferson; its berries and the honey from the hives of First Family bees . . . You might think: Don’t try this at home unless you can command an army of helpers. But wait—you (and your kids) can join a co-op garden or plant a few of your favorite things in window boxes. Or, you can shop for the seasonally-fresh and eat well. Just follow the truly tempting recipes the author has adapted for family dinners. She offers two or three for each White House crop, with extras thrown in for Presidential desserts. — Publisher’s note
There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition by Rabbi Jill Jacobs (Nov 14th)
The author of this excellent examination of the Jewish response to contemporary issues of social justice earned her rabbinical ordination at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary, where she became aware of problems experienced by residents of neighboring Harlem. This and her subsequent position working for a trade union led her to explore the relationship between Jewish texts and matters of social policy. Today, she is rabbi-in-residence of the Jewish Fund for Justice. Combining the examination of Jewish texts with contemporary social concerns has resulted in a thoughtful book. Jacobs explores problems of poverty, workers, housing, health care and the environment, highlighting the contribution of Jewish teachings to answering these social questions. — Publisher’s Weekly
Crossing Mandelbaum Gate : Coming of Age between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 by Kai Bird (Nov 15th)
The interminable conflict between Arabs and Israelis, sadly, lends itself to visual images that reduce both sides to caricatures. One of the treasures of this superb memoir is Bird’s determination to put a human face on some of the participants in this conflict. His father, an American foreign-service officer, brought his family to Jerusalem in 1956, and young Kai frequently passed through Mandelbaum Gate, the dividing line between the Israeli- and Jordanian-controlled sectors. Over the next 22 years, he lived and traveled in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. He seamlessly melds personal history and the story of his family within the turmoil surrounding them, which included three major wars, the spate of airline hijackings, and the prominence of Black September. Although broadly sympathetic to Palestinian aspirations and suffering, Bird, whose wife is the child of Holocaust survivors, is also acutely sensitive to the fears and dilemmas faced by Israelis. — Booklist
Miss Manners’® Guide
to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding by Judith and Jacobina Martin (Nov 16th) I’m assuming that only Judith will be at the JCC.
Ten years ago, the wedding of Miss Manners’ son prompted a book in which the etiquette expert defended good sense and propriety against a wedding industry gone berserk. This might have been the last word in wedding etiquette, but the industry has now morphed into a far larger menace (the average American wedding costs $30,000). Plus, the kinds of questions lately posed by baffled brides, parents, attendants and guests indicated an urgent need for fresh instruction by a supreme authority. Thus, when Miss Manners’ daughter recently married, the time seemed right for the last last word . . . Miss Manners and daughter Jacobina offer a calm compromise between throwing a garish extravaganza in which guests are asked to contribute to the honeymoon by cash, check or PayPal (this really happens) and simply eloping. — BookPage
2011 Guide to Literary Agents Chuck Sambuchino, editor (Nov 17th)
Mr Sambuchino appears in conjunction with the Local Book Fair, which is presented by the Saturday Evening Post. Local authors will tell the stories behind their books, which will be available for sale and signing.