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I admit that I’m a bit bookish. I emit an undignified squeal of delight whenever I get a nice review copy, even though there are so many books in my apartment that one could build a pretty decent fort out of them. For example, I was eager to read One More Year, the subject of today’s hilarious featured article by Vicki Boykis. Sometimes you can get a reviewer to share enough of her own experience that reviewing the book is just the beginning for something deeper. I can’t always figure out a way to get books reviewed that brings out the themes of our website as well as that, and I occasionally try to make up for it by offering mini-reviews here. For example, Nextbook sent me Douglas Century’s biography of Jewish boxer Barney Ross and I was blown away by how vividly it evoked the world of early 20th century immigrant Jews. It was a nearly cinematic book. I also found Rebecca Goldstein’s Betraying Spinoza to be nearly perfect, somehow the ideal combination of personal reflection and intellectual explanation, making something very difficult accessible. She places Spinoza in his Jewish historical context, but is able to explain why doing so absolutely contradicts everything in his thought.
We don’t usually offer reviews of books that are self-published, but since I’m not a crafty person, not particularly good at coming up with arts projects for my art-project-loving kid, I was very impressed with the promotional website for Celebrating With Jewish Crafts. The book is a little expensive, but I can see that some of our readers could use it. We’ve had requests for holiday crafts in the past, and this website shows some classics, like honey-comb wax wrapped Havdalah candles, and some that were new ideas to me, like a Rosh Hashanah honey dish made with homemade play-dough. This isn’t a review, just a heads-up.
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