Rhymes and reasons for reading

By Michael Horovitz, August 6, 2009

The socio-political changes of the past half-century have been both catalysed and reflected by ever-increasing quantities of poets and poetries on multifarious stages and pages. And many of the most audacious and influential of these diverse poetic voices have been Jewish ones, notably that of Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997). Two new selections of Ginsberg’s poetry have just appeared: Allen Ginsberg: Poems, selected by Mark Ford (Faber & Faber, £5.99), and Allen Ginsberg: Howl, Kaddish & Other Poems (Penguin Modern Classics, £7.99).


Sketches of a master

By Philip Vann, July 30, 2009

The Art and Life of Josef herman
By Monica Bohm-Duchen
Lund Humphries, £35

Josef Herman Remembered
Nini Herman (Ed)
Quartet, £15


Rich cream from Jersey

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 30, 2009

It is said that evil prevails when good men do nothing. For good men, also read good women, for in Libby Cone’s novel of wartime Jersey, War on the Margins (Duckworth, £12.99), it’s the covert petticoat brigade who most rile the occupying Nazis.


Review: Ten Days That Changed The Nation

By Julia Neuberger, July 30, 2009

By Stephen Pollard
Simon & Schuster, £10.99

Reading Ten days that Changed the Nation by the editor of this august journal reminded me of when he and I were panellists on Radio 4’s Any Questions a couple of summers ago. Just as I argued then, I read this book saying: “But you’ve forgotten…” “It’s more complex than you suggest…” “Life is rarely so black and white”. This is a hard-hitting polemic, questioning the liberal status quo as Pollard sees it, and cries out to be challenged, which is a stimulating and enjoyable experience.


Why chick lit is actually chicken-soup lit

By Brigit Grant, July 23, 2009

Candace Bushnell is not Jewish. If she were, the plotlines of Sex and The City would have been very different. For one thing Carrie Bradshaw would have had a mother who hated Mr Big on sight. There would also have been arguments about Carrie’s size-zero figure (“eat something already, there’s nothing of you”) and the absence of sensible shoes in her wardrobe.


How to die laughing

By Sophie Lewis, July 16, 2009

Build The Cranes
By Jeremy Dyson
Little, Brown, £12.99

Kneller’s Happy Campers
By Etgar Keret
Chatto & Windus, £6.99


Snogs and a sticky snack

By Angela Kiverstein, July 16, 2009

'When you are visiting the cake shop of agony, they don’t mind what you wear in there. Most of their customers are in their jimjams. With big swollen eyes. And covered in dribble.” And so it is for love-struck Georgia Nicolson, in Are these my Basoomas I See Before Me?

(HarperCollins, £10.99) the final part of Louise Rennison’s saga of luurve, jammy dodgers and romantically-challenged kittycats.
Will teenage Georgia hang on to Italian boyfriend Massimo, or is she destined for one of the other males who has pursued her over the past nine volumes?


Review: Now You See Him

By David Herman, July 16, 2009

Eli Gottlieb,
Serpent’s Tail, £7.99

The life of Nick Framingham, ostensible protagonist of Eli Gottlieb’s second novel, Now You see Him, is in free-fall. His best friend, Rob Castor, the golden boy who seemed to have it all, has killed his girlfriend and then killed himself; Nick’s marriage is in trouble and he’s in a dead-end job. He’s a bit young to be having a mid-life crisis but all the classic signs are there.


Review: Journey Into The Past

By David Herman, July 9, 2009

By Stefan Zweig (trans: Anthea Bell)
Pushkin Press £7.99

One of the most exciting developments in Jewish literature in recent times has been the rediscovery of some of the great mid-20th century central European writers, including Joseph Roth, Bruno Schulz and Stefan Zweig*.


Menaced by Mussolini

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 9, 2009

Last Train from Liguria, by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic, £12.99) is a paean for Riviera lives derailed by Mussolini, a story of long-held secrets and a governess’s heroic effort to save two half-Jewish children from the fate of most Italians registered “e” for ebreo.