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review 2018-05-25 19:43
Women of Our Time: Golda Meir
Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader - David A. Adler

When I was a child we had a cat which my mom christened Golda My Ear (he was a yellow tabby) which was a clever play on words that went completely over my head. Therefore, when I came across a book while shelving entitled Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader it felt like fate was telling me to take it home and read it. (It's so short that I finished it on my first train home.) David A. Adler decided to write about Golda for the "Women of Our Time" biography series which covers a wide array of spectacularly talented, intelligent, and strong women. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of who Golda Meir was which is pretty shocking seeing as how she was Israel's Prime Minister. She grew up in Russia but her family moved to Milwaukee when she was a young girl in the hopes that they could improve their quality of life with the opportunities that America promised were available to all within its borders. Much like her sister, Golda was homesick and longed to be a part of the larger Jewish nation and to build it in Israel. That determination never left her and she made it a reality after she married and moved to Palestine to be an active participant in the political party that wanted to build the Jewish nation. It covers not only her childhood and her move to Palestine but also her political career as Prime Minister and her meetings with Nixon (as well as her secret missions to the enemy's camps). Lest you picture her as a pacifist, she was not against using weapons to protect her people against the encroaching Arabs, Egyptians, and Syrians which threatened daily to drive them out of the space they had carved for themselves. Overall rating from me is 8/10 because I wanted a little more depth to the narrative.

 

As this is written with a younger audience in mind the chapters are very short and not exactly chock full of details. If you want the bare facts (or want to teach them to your child) then this is a great resource. I think this book and the rest of the books in the series would be a great resource in a classroom or home library as the women discussed come from different parts of the world and worked in various fields/capacities. It can never hurt to teach children about powerful women who paved the way!

 

Source: Penguin Random House

 

What's Up Next: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

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text 2018-04-06 02:15
This is not a book I should've read
Secular Jewish Culture - Yaakov Malkin,Yaakov Malkin,Felice Pazner Malkin,Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

I don't know where the person who offered me this book found me, nor why they thought I'd like the book. Nor do I even remember what it was about this book that I thought sounded like it could be my cup of tea -- but man, were we both wrong.

 

Which is not to say that this is a bad book, or an uninteresting book. But this is not the kind of thing I usually read or blog about -- the typical secular Jewish writing around here is Jennifer Weiner or Hagit R. Oron. And the academically-oriented reading I usually do is definitely not the secular variety.

 

This is essentially a manifesto and apologetic for the study of Secular Jewish Culture as an academic discipline. The various authors definitively state what it is that Secular Jews believe, think, and cherish -- which is far less diverse than say, CNN on-air talent, or members of my household. White largely set positively, on the whole much of this book defines Secular Jewish Culture by what it isn't, and given that most people have a hard time separating the ethnicity from some form of the religion, that makes sense. But it doesn't make for good reading.

 

Granted, it's obvious from the outset that I'm not going to approach the Hebrew Scriptures from the same perspective as these authors, so it's not surprising that I'd characterize almost all of their reactions to those scriptures as misreading the text -- I can handle that, really. But some of the misreadings are so bad, and seemingly deliberately so, that I was frequently angered as I read them.

 

I had a long list of things I wanted to talk about, but I really can't muster the interest -- and I can't imagine anyone reading this post will be able to, either -- so I'll just wrap things up.. It was generally a slog to read -- but I can't fault it for that, it's not supposed to be a page-turner. It definitely set out to accomplish a few tasks, and on the whole, it succeeded. Except for making me want to read anything else from any of these authors. Did I like it? No. Is it a good book? Maybe? Probably? Are there many people that will think this book is a treasure? Yup, but I'm not one of them.

 

I honestly think this book deserves more stars than this, it's a good book. But, I didn't like it and this is my blog, so . . .

 

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for this post and my honest opinion, I appreciate the opportunity.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/04/05/secular-jewish-culture-by-yaakov-malkin-shmuel-sermoneta-gertel
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review 2016-08-02 16:06
The man known as the "greatest novelist of the 20th century"
Proust: The Search - Benjamin Taylor

Deanna Tiao from Yale University Press reached out to me for a review of the following book.

 

Benjamin Taylor's Proust: The Search is a part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press. This biographical account details Proust's journey as a writer and his penultimate work In Search of Lost Time. I have to admit that until I read this book the only thing I knew about Proust was that he was a wordy writer and Steve Carell's character from Little Miss Sunshine was obsessed with him. He was most certainly a flawed man who had to contend with poor health, prejudices against his sexuality, and preoccupation with his chosen craft. The majority of his time was either spent wooing young men or feverishly writing. It seems he was quite feverish in his wooing as well although all of his romances were of short duration. He was passionate, intelligent, and ambitious. While this book is a part of the Jewish Lives series, Proust was not in fact religious. His mother was Jewish and because of that he would often speak up for the Jewish people but as often as not he would stay mute when others would decry the faith...except in reference to Alfred Dreyfus. During the course of the Dreyfus Affair, as it later came to be called, Proust was very interested in the proceedings and outspoken in his beliefs that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. Up until this point, he had been mainly concerned with other writer's and their works but after this he began to reflect on human nature and the changes that occur over time. I've decided to give In Search of Lost Time a shot and I've added it to my TRL. Taylor has certainly hyped it up and only time will tell if it lives up to it. (haha joke about time haha) Fans of biographies will most certainly enjoy this and if you've never really given Proust much thought then a read of this book might just change your mind. 8/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-10-03 04:49
I have compulsion issues OR Another Phryne Fisher mystery
Raisins and Almonds - Kerry Greenwood

Because I just couldn't help myself I grabbed another Phryne Fisher mystery, Raisins and Almonds. (I realized after starting it that I definitely went out of order as I missed a lot of backstory so I do encourage you if you're reading the series to continue with Flying Too High after Cocaine Blues.) This time Phryne has taken a new lover by the name of Simon Abrahams and his father hires her to absolve a woman of murder. The entire affair is mixed up with the Jewish culture of Australia (and the rest of the world actually). Greenwood even included a Yiddish dictionary at the back of the book as it was used liberally throughout the story. I have to be honest here...I didn't find this one as entertaining as the first of the series. The characters weren't nearly as vivid and the mystery itself was pretty dull. However, learning about the Jewish culture was very interesting so I'm going to let it pass with a solid C.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2013-06-21 00:00
Jews and Words (Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization)
Jews and Words - Amos Oz,Fania Oz-Salzberger According to Jewish tradition, creation begins with words, as God speaks the universe into being in the first chapter of Genesis. In their book Jews and Words, novelist and essayist Amos Oz and his daughter, historian Fania Oz-Salzburger, assert that it is words that form the true chain linking Jews through the ages and around the world – a “textline” rather than a bloodline.

In four chapters composed of loosely linked musings about continuity of tradition, women (in which the Orthodox rejection of women’s voices – literal and metaphorical - is decisively refuted), the Jewish relationship with time, and the pull of community versus individuality, the storyteller and the scholar range far and wide through Jewish history and culture. They take the reader from the Bible through the shtetl to modern Israeli life, with glimpses along the way of God studying Talmud (commentary on the laws of the red heifer, if you must know), a Jewish grandmother kvetching at the Almighty on the beach, and Eliezer ben-Yehuda, father of modern Hebrew, speaking it to his children. Throughout, they share their intoxication with language and their Jewish heritage as well as their love and respect for one another, even when they disagree, as father and daughter occasionally must.
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