Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Weekly Book Recommendations from the Jewish Book Council
Updates from The ProsenPeople and
The Lawgiver: A Novel
Simon & Schuster, 2012. 240 pp. US$25.99
For more than fifty years, Herman Wouk has dreamed of
writing a novel about the life of Moses. Finally, at age ninety-seven, he
has found a way to tell the tale in The Lawgiver, a novel about a
group of people trying to make a movie about Moses in the present day. The
story emerges from letters, memos, e-mails, journals, news articles,
recorded talk, Skype transcripts, and text messages.
At the center of The Lawgiver is Margo Solovei, a
brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father's
strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian
multibillionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script
meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job,
including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer
with whom she still has unfinished business.
Howard Fast: Life and Literature in
the Left Lane
University Press, 2012. 528 pp. US$40.00
Howard Fast's life, from a rough-and-tumble
Jewish New York street kid to the rich and famous author of close to 100 books,
rivals the Horatio Alger myth. Author of bestsellers such as Citizen
Tom Paine, Freedom Road, My Glorious Brothers, and Spartacus,
Fast joined the American Communist Party in 1943 and remained a loyal
member until 1957, despite being imprisoned for contempt of Congress.
Gerald Sorin illuminates the connections
among Fast's Jewishness, his writings, and his left-wing politics and
explains Fast's attraction to the Party and the reasons he stayed in it as
long as he did. Recounting the story of his private and public life with
its adventure and risk, love and pain, struggle, failure, and success,
Sorin also addresses questions such as the relationship between modern
Jewish identity and radical movements, the consequences of political
myopia, and the complex interaction of art, popular culture, and politics
in 20th-century America.