Books

Jewish fighters in the forest

December 30, 2008

Fifteen years ago, Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood Holocaust blockbuster was so successful that not only was the book it was based on re-published, its original title Schindler’s Ark was changed to that of the film: Schindler’s List. Whatever the name, those who discovered Thomas Keneally’s Booker Prize-winning book only after seeing the film were rewarded with a great read.

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Murder most Freudian

By Jenni Frazer, December 30, 2008

I think of my books as Trojan horses,” says Frank Tallis. “They are detective novels, and they are meant to be entertainment — but I like to drop some nuggets in which ought to leave the reader feeling enriched.”

Indeed, so enriching are Tallis’s books that reading them is almost like taking a university refresher course — on turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna. The four titles he has so far produced, forming the crime series, The Liebermann Papers, relate the adventures of Max Liebermann, a young Jewish psychologist, and his pastry-loving detective friend.

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Review: Wishful Drinking

By Alan Montague, December 23, 2008

By Carrie Fisher
Simon & Schuster, £12.99

It was George Lucas who ruined Carrie Fisher’s life. At least, that’s what she says. He did it 31 years ago, when Fisher was only 19, by casting her in a film he was directing. The film was Star Wars and the part was Princess Leia.

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When the parents are kids

December 23, 2008

Sunday Times film critic Cosmo Landesman’s parents are at once distinctly Jewish and militantly unorthodox. The biblical commandment against sex with other folks’ spouses seems to have been disobeyed by both Fran and Jay Landesman almost as a matter of principle, with unsettling consequences for their children, of whom Cosmo is the older (writes Michael Horovitz).

In the parts of Starstruck (Macmillan, £14.99) relating to his family, Cosmo, its author, exacts a near-merciless revenge, as though impelled by the highest critical imperatives to dishonour his father and mother.

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Review: The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes

By Daniella Peled, December 23, 2008

By Avraham Burg
Palgrave Macmillan £15.99

Avraham Burg was once at the very heart of the Zionist project. He is a former Knesset Speaker and a former head of the Jewish Agency. His late father, Josef, was a cabinet minister and chairman of the National Religious Party.
So when the Hebrew version of this excoriating attack on modern Zionism and the Israeli establishment was published, it created outrage.

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Dose of wisdom for teenybopper dreamers

By Angela Kiverstein, December 18, 2008

My Sister’s A Pop Star
I’m So Not A Pop Star

By Kimberly Greene
Usborne, £5.99 each

Sparkly and pastel-covered, Kimberly Greene’s two books about pony-mad Samantha’s experiences as sister to teen pop-star Danni are enormously appealing to nine-to-12-year-olds. But these books have added value — and we’re not talking a tacky plastic bracelet on the cover.

Living in LA and teaching child actors in a film studio, Greene became uneasy at her pupils’ attitude — “I’m gonna be famous, I don’t need to put in the work.”

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Review: Necropolis

By Angela Kiverstein, December 18, 2008

By Anthony Horowitz
Walker Books, £12.99

Spookily-clad in its dark-green, skull-embossed cover, with green dye tinting the sides of the pages like an evil moss, Anthony
Horowitz’s Necropolis is exquisitely deathly. And the contents, of course, do not disappoint.

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Why this writer is not afraid of girls any more

By Anthony Horowitz, December 18, 2008

For 30 years, I’ve been nervous about girls... girls as heroes in books, that is. I’m supposed, after all, to be a writer for boys. Alex Rider, the Diamond brothers, Matt Freeman... these have been my soldiers of fortune, inhabiting a world of guns, explosions, sophisticated gadgets and fast cars, all of which might be considered effectively male. How would a girl fit into all this? Would boy readers accept her? And if she cooked or cried, would I be exposed to charges of sexism? Could I even find my way into the psyche of a 14-year-old schoolgirl?

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Literary giants headline at February book festival

By Gerald Jacobs, December 16, 2008

Jewish Book Week 2009 will begin and end with generous helpings of the cream of Israeli literature, in the shape of Amos Oz, who will open the festival on February 21, and AB Yehoshua, who will close it on March 1.

Oz will be interviewed by Guardian and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland; Yehoshua by BBC foreign correspondent Lyse Doucet. In between, JBW's most lavish feast yet is expected to attract record numbers.

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The literary year in our own words

December 11, 2008

January 4

It is worth reflecting that the country that gave us President Ahmadinejad has also produced a popular TV drama based on the true story of Iranian diplomats in Paris during the Nazi occupation who forged passports to help French Jews flee. It is a fair bet that this programme, in which the Holocaust is a fact, would not have been made elsewhere in the Muslim Middle East.

Ali Ansari on The Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US, by Trita Parsi

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