For Robert Anthony Siegel,April is indeed the cruelest month.Siegel\'s first novel came out in April -- that was kind. But so did novels by Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. That was very,very cruel.\n\nAs book reviewers wrote fevered mini-tomes, dissecting the latest works by the greats, and publishing-house publicity budgets emptied to push Saints Norm, Saul and Phil, Siegel\'s exceptionally funny and entertaining novel, \"All the Money In the World,\" received zero attention.
Sure, the children\'s shelves at bookstores are crowded with schlocky merchandising tie-ins and humorless \"P.C.\" stories that groan under the weight of their own environmental and multi-culti lessons. But look a bit more carefully; you\'ll find the kinds of books that create those magical moments between adults and children.
I love cookbooks, but on lazy summer days, I usually read fiction -- few cookbooks are engaging enough to replace a good novel. And when I go into the kitchen at all, it\'s usually just to stand in front of the open freezer. But when I do find a cookbook that captures me, cooking with it is just a plus.
You can write a decent Jewish cookbook by collecting the recipes of decent Jewish cooks, or you can write a truly fine Jewish cookbook by compiling the recipes of fine cooks who happen to be Jewish. Make sense? It will when you consider two of the newest entries to the Jewish cooking market.
For the next few weeks, you will be hearing about girls and sex. \"Oprah,\" \"Leeza,\" \"Charlie Rose,\" The New York Times, even The Jewish Journal -- media great and small will focus airwaves and inches on a topic that, while hardly new, rarely gets serious, sustained attention.
Josh Henkin will read from his new book, \"Swimming Across the Hudson,\" Mon., May 12, 7 p.m. at Dutton\'s on San Vivente. Josh Henkin\'s paternal grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi who lived in the United States for 50 years without ever learning to speak English. Still, the author was able to forge a strong connection with the old man, the kind of bond that transcended language and linked Henkin to a people and a past.\n
Remember that great scene in \"Inherit the Wind,\" when Clarence Darrow asks William Jennings Bryan if a book that details rape, incest, slaughter, nudity and sodomy should be banned? The fundamentalist Bryan answers, \"Of course!\" and Darrow, with a flourish, whips out a copy of the Bible and declares, \"Then you must ban this book!\"
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