I contributed to a massive undertaking — 101 Great Jewish Books: A Catalog of the Works that Shape the Jewish Mind in America Today — that went live on Tablet magazine today.
It is definitely a quirky list. I (playfully, I swear) took issue with a ton of it on Facebook. I am still désolée that some of my picks, despite my super-fierce defense of them, did not make the final cut. There are books I am gobsmacked to see there instead of the CLEARLY SUPERIOR choices I argued for. There are not enough 20th and 21st century Sephardic writers represented. But Alana Newhouse, the editor-in-chief, made it very clear that this is a list of great books that shape American Judaism — not the most important or best or most essential Jewish books ever written — and I’d add that the selection is colored to a great degree by the thoughtful and impassioned people who argued most forcefully for the books that influenced them the most. The list is a launch point for discussion, not the end of the discussion.
I wrote the entries for The Diary of Anne Frank, The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln, Where the Wild Things Are, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? and the Adventures of K’ton Ton. I gave up some of my picks to other writers (I’m a giver). I won’t provide individual links, because the whole list is worth reading. (And each entry is really short! No more than 200 words! And the ones that are 200 words instead of 100 words are 200 words because SOME WRITERS COULD NOT FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Yeah, yeah, your pics are the awesomest and warrant more space. GET IN LINE.)
Here’s the list of contributing writers. Being allowed to play in this ball pit is pretty incredible.
(FYI: For some reason I can’t caption things anymore — it looks fine in the edit window and then goes kerflooey when I hit “publish.” So what I would have said in a caption/link to the photo in the caption is the tattoo is from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, and it is not on this list, and I would not argue that it should be on the list but it is a cool tattoo that seemed fitting for this post, and it is by the very talented Speck Osterhout who works at Tattoo Candy in Chicago. That is all.)