Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy once released a song called, These Boots are Made for Walking. Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger’s book, Jews and Words, could have been sub-titled, These Books are Made for Talking.
It was perhaps inevitable that the reigning queen of moral-dilemma fiction would one day turn her attention to the Holocaust.
In her career so far — 20 novels and counting — American writer Jodi Picoult has delved into witchcraft, gun crime, suicide pacts and teenage cancer, not to mention the Amish and Native American communities.
Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions
By Stephen Frosh
Have you ever seen a ghost? Or felt that an event in your past needed laying to rest? Or had a strong premonition something was going to happen before it actually did? Or caught sight of your reflection in a shop window and for a moment failed to recognise yourself?
Deliberations on our individuality, our place in the world — whether or not our attitudes towards social, political and religious responsibilities offer acceptable meanings to life — have been major themes in literature since Antiquity.
The Triumph of Israel’s Radical Right
By Ami Pedahzur
Oxford University Press, £18.99
In 1969, 32 per cent of the Israeli electorate voted for the centre right and its allies. Forty years later, this had increased to more than 52 per cent, securing the premiership for Netanyahu. Israeli academic Ami Pedahzur tells the story of this remarkable transition.
How Should a Person Be?
By Sheila Heti
Harvill Secker, £16.99
This book crashed like a kind of meteorite into the literary landscape when it was published last year in the US. It was hailed as a major literary work of extraordinary originality — and has now been longlisted in the UK for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (successor to the Orange).
Boston-born Derek B Miller is a senior fellow with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, with a slew of security-based academic degrees behind him. It is an unlikely background for the writer of one of the best novels of the year, the majestic Norwegian by Night, starring the magnetic, 82-year-old hero, Sheldon Horowitz.
Becky’s mum has died and her dad is thinking of marrying a horrible woman who smells of herring and cooks leathery cholent. No Buts, Becky by José Patterson (Matador, £6.99) is set in Rothschild Buildings, Brick Lane, in 1908, complete with shabbes goy, shadchan, bagel woman and oy-veying bubbe.
Five years ago, Shlomo Sand published one of the most contentious Jewish books of recent times. In The Invention of the Jewish People, which appeared in English translation in 2009, the Tel Aviv University history professor debunked the idea of Jewish peoplehood.