Kol Hasifriah /Voice of the Library
By Rachel Haus
September 15, 2016
How I love books! Let me tell you about some of our library's latest acquisitions that look really interesting.
First, there's The Yid: A Novel
by Paul Goldberg - a provocative title if I've ever heard one - all about Stalinist anti-semitic purges and a zany Shakespearian plot to "assassinate the king." The minute I read it, I'll tell you all about it.
There's also a biography of Joel Grey called Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir
that speaks to anyone's love of Broadway musicals, and a fabulous book by Seth Siegel called Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World
, which should be required reading in Flint.
I did have time to read one book, a biography of Stan Lee, who created (or co-created) Spiderman, The Hulk, The Avengers and so on – and it's in comic book format, called Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir!
Is it for kids? Is it for adults? Does it matter? No, because it's just plain fascinating delving into Stan Lieber's - I mean Stan Lee's - early years, the genesis of each superhero, the comic book biz, and all those superhero movies. The artwork is bold and fun and the text is meaningful and witty. Check it out and you'll not only learn a lot, but have a good time along the way.
By the way, I do want to discuss one author – Jillian Cantor.
A few years ago she wrote Margot: a Novel,
which posited a world in which Anne Frank's sister Margot survived the death camps and came to live in the U.S. These alternate histories have become quite a thing in the last few years, a sub-genre that started as a trickle and is now almost a flood. A good example in our own library is Philip Roth's The Plot Against America
, in which not FDR but Charles A. Lindburgh (Nazi sympathizer) wins the 1940 election and the difference that makes for America and its Jews. These "histories" are forced into a delicate balancing act between the real and altered and Margot
does so with such tenderness, grace and perceptiveness that I got a new understanding of Anne Frank's less famous sister.
Cantor's new book, The Hours Count: A Novel
, is not an alternate history, but a good old-fashioned historical novel, focusing on the friend and neighbor of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - convicted and executed for Soviet espionage - and her life dealing with the knowledge that her neighbors were not what they seemed. I'm really looking forward to this novel; if you read it first, tell me about it!