Books

An Amazing Murmur of the Heart

By Stephen Frosh, June 12, 2014

By Cecil Helman
Hammersmith Books, £12.99

Cecil Helman, who died in 2009, was a South African-born, Jewish, London GP and anthropologist, recognised for his textbook, Culture, Health and Illness, and particularly for his autobiographical volume, Suburban Shaman, published in 2006.

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Uncivil War: the israel conflict in th e Jewish community

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2014

By Keith Kahn-Harris
David Paul, £10

Between 2009 and 2011, the sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris hosted more than a dozen dinner parties at his London home that were more than just social occasions; they were intended as an experiment in dialogue.

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Review: The Pat Boone Fan Club

By Clive Sinclair, June 6, 2014

By Sue William Silverman
University of Nebraska Press, £11.99

Ms Silverman is a fan of 1950s pop star Pat Boone, and a lover of words (we learn how she French-kisses an early amour "ventriloquist", "twisting the letters around my tongue"). What she doesn't like could fill a book: more than one, in fact.

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Ayelet Waldman: a mother's tale

By Sipora Levy, May 23, 2014

Ayelet Waldman seems to have it all. Not only has she had two successful careers — first as a defence lawyer and now as an acclaimed writer — but she has also enjoyed a long and happy marriage to the Pulitzer prizewinning novelist Michael Chabon, with whom she has four beautiful children.

Yet, in Bad Mother, she sets out to describe her imperfections.

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A better mother than a writer?

By David Herman, May 23, 2014

Love and Treasure author Ayelet Waldman has written seven mystery novels, The Mommy-Track Mysteries, and three other works of fiction but is probably best known for Bad Mother, which set off a lively controversy when first published in the US in 2009.

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Maths made interesting, even for the number-phobic

By Simon Round, May 23, 2014

What is your favourite number? Statistically, it is likely to be 7, according to research by Alex Bellos, the author of this follow-up to his popular book on maths, Alex in Numberland.

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Bernard Kops - not just an East End chronicler

By Jeremy Solomons, May 16, 2014

Bernard Kops, who is now 87, is best known as a vivid chronicler of the Jewish East End. But, in Bernard Kops: Fantasist, London Jew, Apocalyptic Humorist (Rowman & Littlefield, £39.95) William Baker and Jeanette Roberts Shumaker offer a view of the vast range of a fearless, fascinating writer.

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Andrew Sanger: love and loathing in London

By Amanda Craig, May 16, 2014

Andrew Sanger’s second novel, set in North London, is about the confluence of three strangers who change each other’s lives.

Bernard Kassin is an observant Jew and family man who has taken it upon himself to be vigilant for his community, acting on behalf of the elderly and frightened and against planning appeals and corrupt officials.

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Alice Hoffman's freak show

By Madeleine Kingsley, May 16, 2014

Lyrical and luminous, The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman’s love story of, and for, bygone New York. Anyone who’s read her Masada novel, The Dovekeepers, already knows that Hoffman is no plain prose author, more a mistress of dreamscape and illusion.

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Loving lament for a bully

By Madeleine Kingsley, May 9, 2014

It is hard to imagine the musical tyrant known as Mr K lasting long as a teacher today. Any 21st-century Mr K, with stomping foot and furiously flailing baton, would surely be disciplined for reducing his first violins to tears and forcibly paring their fingernails with his pocket clippers.

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