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Jewish

Jewish History is Revisited in Martha Hall Kelly’s ‘Lilac Girls’

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If you missed the release of Lilac Girls, now is the time to buy the paperback. It is historical fiction based on true and harrowing events during World War II. For me, the Holocaust has always been mostly about how the Jews were prosecuted; a devastating time in our history across the world. But of course the Jewish people were not the only ones who were affected. Author Martha Hall Kelly gets up close and personal with Kasia, a young Polish girl with Jewish ancestry who is completing secret missions for the underground anti-war efforts and is captured by the Gestapo with her sister and her mother. One of these unforgettable characters is Herta, an out of work, German doctor…

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Hollywood Hypocrites: Industry Vet Herb Freed on Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s Casting Couch Era

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I came to Los Angeles from New York to direct movies in 1972. I had entered the film business seven years earlier, after resigning my post as rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Lake Mahopac, N.Y. I began to study film at New York University privately and my first assignments were to produce and direct television commercials. I labored in that vineyard for more than five years. Among my clients were U.S. Steel, Pepsi-Cola and others, but I was button-holed as the director who excelled in beauty commercials. I made TV spots for Cover Girl, Breck, Clairol and Revlon. Why? I have no idea.   In 1970 I moved up to movies. My first feature film, A.W.O.L., was shot in Sweden out…

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Author Steven Gaines Tickles the Funny Bone and Tells His Truth

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Steven Gaines is the bestselling author of Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons, The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of The Beatles, and many others. As a journalist Gaines has written for many publications, most notably Vanity Fair, New York Times and New York Magazine where he served as contributing editor for 12 years. A native New Yorker and graduate of NYU Film School, Gaines’s background in film is what helps him to be such a graphic storyteller to where readers are witnesses to the movie in his mind he then so eloquently puts on paper. In his memoir, One Of These Things First, Gaines looks back at childhood in 1960s Brooklyn with a humor…

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‘Windy City Blues’ Explores Racial Tension and Music in 1950s Chicago

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windy city blues review

Read on for a review of Renée Rosen’s Windy City Blues by Modern Girls author Jennifer S. Brown. The world Renée Rosen creates in Windy City Blues sounds not just with the rhythms of the music of Chicago in mid-20th century, but with the beats of racial tension, of women’s struggles for independence, and of the difficulties of immigrants trying to succeed in a new country. The novel spans the years from 1947 to 1969 and is rooted in the real doings of the legendary blues recording studio, Chess Records. The story alternates between the perspectives of historical figure Leonard Chess and fictional characters Leeba Groski and Red Dupree. Leeba is a young Jewish Polish immigrant who takes a job in…

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A modern heroine rises from Jewish folklore in The Angel of Losses

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It’s funny how books speak to you. As a professional journalist and former editorial illustrator, I know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the gorgeous Chagallesque fantasy on the cover of The Angel of Losses: A Novel by Stephanie Feldman (Harper-Collins, July 29) drew me right in. Happily, the book matches it’s dreamy, lyrical cover as it follows doctoral student Marjorie Burke’s passionate and even obsessive journey behind the sweetened surface of her beloved grandfather’s fairy tales. Marjorie is still grieving about losing her grandfather Eli and the growing distance between her and her sister Holly, who has become an entirely new person since her marriage to the strangely intense and ultra-Orthodox Nathan. She tries to…

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Susan Jane Gilman serves up ice cream with a side of fiction for National Ice Cream Month

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Here in the US, we are experiencing an ice cream renaissance. July, which is national ice cream month, is the perfect time to rediscover this childhood favorite. Thanks to the artisanal ice cream craze sweeping the country, lovers of the cold and delicious treat can choose from a range of eclectic flavors that go way beyond chocolate and vanilla. While you’ll have to decide for yourself which variety to order at your local ice cream shop, we at BookTrib can at least tell you what to read while you’re enjoying that favorite cone. In her debut novel, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street (Grand Central Publishing, June), Susan Jane Gilman serves up our favorite dessert with a side of…

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