Simon’s Bookish Bits #10

Did you know that today the 27th of February 2010 is the very first day of Jewish Book Week? Well if you did or didn’t know I only found out thanks to the rather retro library that I went to earlier in the week (they have a wonderful information centre on all things bookish too if I haven’t sold this library enough). Anyway I got a lovely brochure on an event happening in London starting today, sorry for the late warning, and going on until next Sunday.

I hope that any of you who have heard of it before will forgive me when I say that I thought this was the first year it started as I had never heard of it ever before. Having now done some research into the whole event it actually was initially started back in 1948 and yet I hadn’t heard of it until now and so am spreading the word to all of you. Hoorah! I will definitely be going to some of the upcoming events, will you? If you want more information than me just waffling on then go to

This book week also made me think quite a bit and I am actually not sure how many Jewish books I have actually read whether they be by a Jewish author or with a Jewish theme. I thought I must have read a few yet it seems I haven’t read many. The only one that I could instantly think of and was indeed on the blog is ‘When We Were Bad’ by Charlotte Mendelson. I still have another of hers to read actually, maybe this is the week. I was thinking that what I might do is make take a slow and steady read of ‘The Diary of Young Girl’ by Anne Frank which I actually cannot believe I haven’t read. I though going through this slowly might be the way to go with the subject matter. What Jewish based books would you recommend? I would love your thoughts I may just have more in my TBR I hadn’t a clue about.

Oh and an additional note the lovely Simon T of Stuck in a Book did a lovely post on all this, which I wasn’t aware of when I scheduled this, and Simon T links into the next part of my Bookish Bits. I think I have mentioned that there is a UK Book Bloggers meeting going on in May, on Saturday the 8th as a matter of fact and you need to email Simon if you want to attend and get any further details. I will be there and am really, really looking forward to the whole day, including a book swap, and hope to see some of you there!!!

Now before I dash off for a day with Novel Insights looking at books but not buying them yet discussing them to death over coffee, I have another question for you which came to me when a book that I have been very excited about dropped through my letter box (I will be doing a bigger book incoming round up next week)…

Yes, big hoorah, the new Stella Duffy novel ‘Theodora’ has been sent to me rather in advance as its not actually out until June though naturally I will be reading it almost immediately. I wondered if seeing advance reviews, as in way, way in advance; actually make you want to buy/read/borrow a book. Or do you forget the book as it’s far off in the future? Would you rather read a review of a book just as it comes out? Let me know as it interests me, oh and Jewish books too. Thanks in advance!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Simon's Bookish Bits

29 responses to “Simon’s Bookish Bits #10

  1. I’m glad I could act as a segue between bookish bits! And always nice to be called lovely 😉 doesn’t happen enough, I reckon…

  2. I usually forget book reviews if they are posted too early but I know there’s someone out there (I can’t remember who because it hasn’t happened for a while) that will re-run the review when the book releases as a reminder. I think that (or a mention in your Bits) would work just fine!

  3. Luce

    ooh jealous of the Stella DUffy. Try Naomi Alderman: Disobedience for a Jewish themed book. All of Charlotte Mendelssohn’s books are good too.


  4. gaskella

    If you can’t wait to read it – go for it I say, but I agree with Kristen – a linkback in your bookish bits once published would be great.

    Have a nice weekend. I’m devoted to compiling questions for a quiznight next weekend which I always tend to put off until they have to be written – keeps it topical!

  5. I wasn’t aware of Jewish Book Week until I moved to London and discovered it last year. As for Jewish writers: Neil Gaiman; Stephen Fry; Muriel Spark (before she converted to Catholicism); Hannah Arendt; Franz Kafka; Marghanita Laski (and a number of other Persephone writers); Jonathan Safran Foer and his wife Nicole Krauss; Paul Auster and I think his wife Siri Hustvedt; Saul Bellow; Philip Roth; Judy Blume…

    I don’t mind about reading reviews in advance; of course if it’s a book that I really want to read then the wait isn’t so great but I’ll add it to my wish-list. You could always read it and write your review but not post it until closer to the time. It’s not something I have really thought about much.

  6. I am just finishing up with Marcus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief, which I am loving! I am not sure if the author is Jewish, but the novel takes place during the 1940s, during the rise of Nazi Germany.
    In This Dark House is a memoir by Louise Kehoe. It won the National Jewish Book Award and it’s excellent.

    Of course, you’ll have to read The Diary of Anne Frank. It’s heartbreakingly good.

    • The Book Theif is utterly brillliant, I loved it (is love the right word?) from start to finish. I have never heard of In This Dark House before, it sounds like a very interesting book.

  7. Simon, thanks for alerting me to Jewish Book Week! I have Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Everything is Illuminated on the nightstand and so will be reading it this week instead of next week.

    • A pleasure Claire! I popped by for one event yesterday and it was a great event. I read Everything is Illuminated for a book group a few years ago and I thought it was a marvellous book.

  8. I picked up a brochure about Jewish Book Week today.

    In terms of Jewish writers, you must read Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen”. I read it at school but it’s one of those books that really stays with you, and made me very fascinated about the whole Jewish thing.

    As Claire mentions above, Paul Auster is Jewish, as is Primo Levi and Saul Bellow.

    There’s actually a brilliant list of Jewish American writers on wiki, although it’s not strictly authors but script writers, TV writers etc.

    • I havent heard of The Chosen or the author which by the sounds of it seems like an oversight from me really.

      That link is also very, very helpful, thanks very much Kim!

  9. Eva

    I just finished a novel by an Israeli author translated from Hebrew! (I’m almost positive it was my first Israeli fiction.) It was incredibly well-written, and very, very thought provoking. I”ll be reviewing it soon, but it was called Dearest Anne by Judith Katzir.

    Other than that, Michael Chabon is the only one that’s popping into my mind!

    • Ooooh the book I am reading now is translated from Hebrew. I havent heard of the one you mention above but I will definately keep my eyes peeled for it at the library, thanks Eva

  10. Eva

    Oh! I just thought of another wonderful Jewish book: A Time of Angels by Patricia Schonstein. It’s a fable set in Italy & South Africa, and Lucifer is one of the characters!

  11. I don’t mind reading reviews months in advance, although, if I really like it, I’ll be impatient to get it 🙂 As others have suggested, a short reminder and a link back to your review closer to date of release would serve as a good reminder.

  12. Pingback: The Victorian Chaise-Longue – Marghanita Laski « Savidge Reads

  13. I haven’t read The Diary of a Young Girl either *hangs head in shame* I have seen the stage adaptation though, which was amazing.
    I prefer to read a review in advance of a book release however not too in advance, may be a week ahead. Enough time to get a copy but not long enough to have forgotten 🙂

    • I do feel shocked with myself for not reading The Diary of a Young Girl as I think its a book that everyone should read (I think I can say that without having read it) and as yet I have not. I have opened it yet but dont think its a book you can read in bits and bobs.

  14. I rather like reading reviews in advance of publication, so that I know what to look forward to. As I never get books as they are published (I’m so slow), it doesn’t affect me as much. Regarding Jewish Book Week, I hadn’t heard of it either (even though I’ve been in London for so long and live near Golders Green!)

  15. I’m going to the UK book blogger meeting in May! I just mailed Simon (thank to your post) and there is room for me to go! I’m so excited (and a bit nervous as I am new to blogging so don’t know anyone). It should be fun though – what can go wrong with meeting like-minded book-lovers??

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