LA Public Library Celebrates Yiddish Lit Worth Kvelling About

On Feb. 29, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) will kick off a series of book discussions that look at the immigrant experience through...

Listen to Bob Dylan’s epic Nobel Prize award lecture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TlcPRlau2Q Bob Dylan waited over six months after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature to give a lecture to the Nobel’s Swedish Academy — a...

Bob Dylan to accept his Nobel Prize in Stockholm

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan will accept his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm. The Swedish Academy will hand over the Nobel diploma and Nobel medal in a “small...

Book on 8-year-old Warsaw Ghetto boy wins Jewish literature medal

A critically acclaimed novel told in the voice of an 8-year-old boy in the Warsaw Ghetto is the winner of the 2016 Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature.

Prague’s longtime chief rabbi leaves colorful and controversial legacy

When the novel “Altschul’s Method” hit the shelves in Czech bookstores this March, it was hailed as a brilliant political and psychological thriller combining elements of science fiction, alternate history and Jewish mysticism.

After the fall

Perhaps no single Bible story is quite as familiar as the fateful encounter in the Garden of Eden between God, Adam and Eve, and that damned snake, an episode that entered Western theology as “the Fall.” It may appear to be a kind of biblical fairytale, but Ziony Zevit reveals the remarkable richness of meaning that can be extracted from the spare text in his new book, “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?” (Yale University Press, $30), a model of biblical scholarship that is also wholly accessible to the general reader.

Eight books to light your Chanukah season

The early arrival of Chanukah coincides with Jewish Book Month, which suggests a convenient shopping list for gift-giving. Here are eight books I am planning to give this year to the book lovers among my family, friends and colleagues. Some of these books already have been reviewed at greater length in these pages over the past year.

Joyce fans celebrate Bloomsday in Westwood

More than 100 James Joyce enthusiasts, performance artists and Irish descendants gathered at Westwood’s Hammer Museum on June 16 to celebrate Bloomsday. Taken from the name of Leopold Bloom, the assimilated Jewish protagonist in Joyce’s monumental book, “Ulysses,” the event celebrates the life of the Irish writer and relives the events of the day the tale is set: June 16, 1904.

Eclectic Fare Reflects L.A.’s Vibrant Lit Scene

Author tours are not what the used to be, and bookstore closings are reducing the number of venues where you can meet writers face to face. But the offerings for this fall season turn out to be remarkably rich, diverse and likely to prove memorable — an encouraging sign of the sheer vigor of the literary scene in Southern California.

Moroccan murder mystery weaves web of deception

From the opening passage of “The Honored Dead: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World” by Joseph Braude (Spiegel & Grau: $26), we suddenly find ourselves in an atmospheric scene right out of “Casablanca” — an empty alleyway in the storied Moroccan city, a morning mist, a warehouse where the deep silence is suddenly broken by a squad of soldiers and detectives, and the sight of a mutilated corpse.

‘Jerusalem’ — ancient symbol, modern struggles

Blood has been spilled yet again in the streets of Jerusalem in recent days, and so there is a certain urgency that inevitably attaches itself to “Jerusalem, Jerusalem:

Jewish Children’s Book Awards: Winning literature tackles complex issues

After taking a look at the latest award winning literature for Jewish youth, one could easily conclude that the time has come to put aside K’Tonton and All of a Kind Family, and get real. Many of the winners and honor books recently awarded either the prestigious Sydney Taylor Book Award (by the Association of Jewish Libraries) or the National Jewish Book Award (from the Jewish Book Council) tackle subjects unheard of in Jewish children’s literature when author Sydney Taylor was alive.

Religion’s power in the face of death

Contemporary Bible scholars tend to look at religion as the object of study rather than the source of inspiration, or so we might conclude from their writings. But something quite different can happen when they are confronted with the kind of life experiences for which religion has always served as a balm.

Poetic Master of Biblical Translation Receives Award

Robert Alter is the 2009 recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award, a lifetime achievement award named after my late father and given each year by the Los Angeles Times. It will be my honor to hand the award to Alter, a role I have been asked to perform on a few memorable occasions over the years. But never before have I discharged my duties with a greater sense of pleasure, admiration and enthusiasm. Alter is, as I once wrote in a review of his work in the L.A. Times, “one of the living masters of biblical criticism and translation.”

“Breakdowns” & The “Maus” that roared (or Art Spiegelman through the looking glass)

Art Spiegelman, the cartoonist whose graphic memoir, "Maus," won a Pulitzer Prize, was in town recently to promote a reissue of "Breakdowns," a collection...

Calendar Girls picks, clicks and kicks for February 16 – 22

Calendar Girls picks, clicks and kicks for February 16 - 22

A different attic’s holocaust secrets

Joseph Hollander left the untold story of his life packed up in a suitcase, waiting to be found.


News briefs.

Home and Jerusalem

The two greatest Jewish inventions of the 20th century are, to my mind at least, Hollywood and Israel. Jews founded Hollywood to help the world escape reality; they founded Israel to help Jews escape the world.

Guide to Torah fleshes out flat characters in stories

Etshalom\'s book cannot replace a study partner; no single book can do that. I\'m sure that Etshalom would agree with me on this point, but his book is not meant to do that. Etshalom\'s book is meant as a sort of introductory field guide to Torah.

Posters by Czech Students Bring Back Lost ‘Neighbors’

The Czech nation, in its many incarnations, has figured prominently in Jewish lore and literature. It has spawned the Golem and Franz Kafka, to say nothing of the recent Maurice Sendak and Tony Kushner collaboration, \"Brundibar,\" a play that was staged by the Berkeley and Yale repertory theaters and that took its story of children who vanquish a monstrous adult, a stand-in for Hitler or fascism in general, from an opera written in the Terezin ghetto at the time of the Holocaust.

Eluding Death Gives Life to Roth Novel

Eluding death is the central issue of life for Philip Roth\'s nameless leading character in his newest novel, \"Everyman\" (Houghton Mifflin). A thrice-married and divorced retired advertising executive, Roth\'s lonely everyman wants to keep on with the messy business of his life -- \"he didn\'t want the end to come a minute earlier than it had to\" -- even as friends get sick and die around him, and his own body\'s failings persist. \"Old age,\" Roth writes, \"isn\'t a battle, it\'s a massacre.\"

The ‘Chosen’ Ones Across the Street

It has long been a cliché that Los Angeles does not respect the culture of the book. It is true that this town famously eviscerated Faulkner and Fitzgerald, that Hollywood suits to this day treat screenwriters the way Henry VIII treated his wives. Yet, it is also true that Los Angeles has spawned unique brands of literature, such as the hard-boiled detective story.

7 Days in The Arts

Hollywood Fight Club\'s current production \"A Lively ... and Deathly Evening With Woody Allen\" brings to the stage three written works by the Neurotic One. Woody Allen\'s \"God,\" \"Death Knocks\" and \"Mr. Big\" all deal with existential dilemmas as only Allen can. Jewish school spirit can be found in abundance on the USC campus this weekend. The Jewish Student Film Festival has coordinated a weekend of Jewish activities, which culminates in today\'s film fest. Friday evening, attend Shabbat services at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion followed by Shabbat dinner at USC Hillel; Saturday, attend \"Jewzika: A Night of Jewish Musicians\" featuring Dov Kogen and the Hidden, SoCalled and the Moshav Band.

Nathan Takes a Bite Out of Boring Fare

\"I never think of food as something that\'s stationary,\" Nathan said on a recent book tour stop in Los Angeles. \"Things change, neighborhoods change, food changes, we get new ingredients, people get ideas. And when you come to a country you adapt what you knew to that country.\"

Beware of Formerly Observant Writers

In Shalom Auslander\'s recent collection of short stories, \"Beware of God,\" God appears as many, many things, except for the Almighty, All-Knowing, Omniscient powerful Being He has traditionally been for the last however many-thousand years (depending on which religion you ask).

7 Days in The Arts

7 days in the Arts

7 Days in the Arts

7 days in the Arts, around Los Angeles.

7 Days in the Arts

7 days in the Arts, around Los Angeles.

7 Days in Arts

7 days in the Arts, around Los Angeles.

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