I have a piece in Real Simple about my insouciant, devil-may-care inability to finish projects I start, a trait that delights all those around me. A life coach, a psychiatrist and a personal assistant try to help. Plus:
J’adore Paris-based jewelry designer (and Holocaust survivor) Léa Stein’s work. Madeleine Albright does too. Read about her in Tablet Magazine.
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Ta da! My annual list. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THESE BOOKS. Buy them! Read them!
Also for Tablet, a look at a new Jewish literary journal and a visit with The Schlep Sisters, purveyors of sexy funny Jewy burlesque.
On SorryWatch, a cowardly resentful passive-aggressive yet yearning non-apology song on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (where else?) and a pretty good apology from Tulane’s admissions department after a pretty big screwup.
In Mamaleh Knows Best news, I’m chatting about the book with Shmuel Rosner over at Jewish Journal. Part one of our conversation is here; part two is here. Stay tuned for part three. Motherwell included Mamaleh in its list of the year’s best parenting books, and Elana Sztokman of JewFem listed it as one of her six favorite books by Jewish women in 2016. It would make a great Hanukkah gift, I’m only saying.
This photo is my mantra right now.
In work news: For the New York Times, I reviewed an academic book about the history of the menorah (and learned two new words, aniconism and pseudepigraphic).
For Tablet, I wrote about the sudden, unannounced whitewashing of a historic Jewish mural on the Lower East Side; the little-known Jewish history of Yahtzee and Bingo; the seasonal Christianification of It’s a Small World; seven great Jewish-themed “princess” characters ripe for Disney’s movie-makin’ picking’; a gorgeous photography book about the decaying Borscht Belt; and Israel’s SufganiKing donutburger, a Hanukkah delight. (Or “delight.”)
For SorryWatch, I wrote about an excellent apology accompanied by hot pictures of Chris Hemsworth and a crap apology for applauding someone who called Michelle Obama “an ape in heels.”
In book news, thank you, Kveller, for including Mamaleh Knows Best among The 17 Best Books of 2016. Upcoming appearances: Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia on January 11th at 7pm; The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) annual conference in NYC on January 14 at 9pm; and Temple Beth-El in Omaha on February 2 at 7:30pm.
How do those of us who believe in multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance explain the results of yesterday’s presidential election to kids? I keep thinking back to everything I’ve learned over the years about what makes for effective Holocaust education: Don’t minimize, but don’t traumatize. Don’t lie. Be developmentally appropriate, but offer hope and emphasize the actions of helpers.
Some specifics for right now:
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Using children’s books to explain the refugee crisis to kids (this piece triggered hate mail and nasty social media comments from both the left AND the right — both sides think I am a patsy and a dipshit, which is not news). Also, here’s a piece about a shul that built a Sukkah as a metaphor for the refugee crisis.
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Long ago, before we argued over whether pumpkin spice was basic or maligned, we used to fight about whether candy corn was yummy or gross. Nostalgic for those more innocent days, I went looking for an important feature I wrote about candy corn a billion years ago (like, ’97?) for a long-dead culinary site called CuisineNet. CuisineNet is gone, lost in the ether of early cyberspace, roadkill on the infobahn. But my candy corn story lives on, in a homework assignment for middle-school students in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District of south metropolitan Portland, OR. Some enterprising teacher or administrator must have seen a wonderful opportunity to not pay me. Now poor Oregonian children have to read my vintage musings on candy corn deliciousness (involving the phrase “delicately work your way down the niblet shaft,” which should not be read by middle-school students, or anyone, really), as well as candy corn history and statistics. Then the children have to answer multiple-choice questions about candy corn and write an essay on “the impact retailers have had on the rising amount of candy consumed during the Halloween season.” (I am unsure about what I would write for this topic? Which is apparently based on my own reporting?) Anyway, you can take the quiz. I don’t know what the answers say about you or what Hogwarts house you should be in. [click to continue…]
Shana tova, for those who swing that way!
So what’s news? There is a new children’s book called Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf. I hated it like an eggnog latte.
I was a guest on the Unorthodox podcast, talking about the year’s best and worst apologies.
You should buy a fragrance from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, the Lovecraftian cult alchemist, to support the First Amendment Banned. Books Week natterings are here.
A Fox News personality did racist stuff and then issued a crappy “I regret” non-apology.
In Mamaleh Knows Best book news, check out this smart piece in the Chicago Tribune and gaze upon my tattoo-free arms in The Times of Israel.
Hey, you should totally buy this picture book biography about Leonard Nimoy and this one about Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the kids and cool grownups in your life.
Please read this essay about me being a rabble-rousing trouble-fomenting tiny feminist Jewess in Jewish Day School. It explains much.
And yay, Drag Queen Story Hour comes to NYC!
In book promo news, here’s a piece in Quartz about some non-clingy non-neurotic non-frootbat Jewish mothers in history you should know about; here’s an interview with me in New York Family magazine; and here’s a review in Jewish Journal that calls me “Nora Ephron meets child psychologist Wendy Mogel” (YAAAAS) and calls the book “wise,” “funny” and “a fun and rewarding read.” Critic Lisa Silverman also reviews the Leonard Nimoy picture book in this column, and liked it nearly as much as I did, so she’s OBVIOUSLY trustworthy.
In SorryWatch news: Kathie Lee and Hoda are smart about apologies (I KNOW) and VOYA Magazine takes criticism from the LGBT community and allies by going absolutely, terrifyingly, viciously apeshit, issuing a series of crap apologies, and devoting renewed focus to going apeshit all over social media some more.
Here’s Mamaleh in 7 Non-Fiction Books to Read Right Now:
If you’re a parent—even one who gave birth before the really cool strollers were invented—you’ll find infinite insight, brilliant advice, and plenty of laughter here. Ingall performs a high-wire act, blending history, personal anecdotes, theology, and high and low culture to illustrate strategies for raising children who are both accomplished and kind. She discusses the importance of humor, a healthy distrust of authority, nurturing a love of storytelling and literacy, celebrating geekiness, and more. This is more than a parenting book. It’s a guide for living. It asks hard questions like “Who do you want to be?” and “Who do you want your child to be?” while keeping you smiling—and occasionally laughing out loud—as you read.
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