Books, talk, and DRAAAAMA in a good way (at last)

by marjorieingall on November 13, 2018

For the New York Times Book Review this past weekend, I reviewed four wild fantasy novels. Make that three wild fantasy novels and one dystopia about climate change that feels not fantastic at all at this particular juncture. 

I also did a piece for Elle on how to explain antisemitism to children. 

For Tablet, I reviewed Maira Kalman’s lovely new illustrated book for grownups, Sara Berman’s Closet, based on the museum exhibit she curated with her son Alex. The exhibit is currently traveling the country, but the book stands independently as its own marvelous thing. I also discussed how Jewish parents can explain to kids what happened at the Tree of Life synagogue, and I wrote about a booklist from the Association of Jewish Libraries, spotlighting books for kids of all ages that depict Jews and non-Jews helping each other. 

Would you like to cheer up? I know I would! Let’s all come together to enjoy R. Eric Thomas reveling in the fashion stylings of actor Ezra Miller, whom I have loved since he played a troubled teen on television’s scenic Hamptons medical drama “Royal Pains.” 

Another week, another opportunity for Crimes of Grindelwald star and witchy greyhound Ezra Miller to slay a red carpet with a lewk. Last week, Miller, whose whole aura is like if Liza Minnelli hosted Blue’s Clues, showed up at the Paris premiere of his new film in a Moncler by Pierpaolo Piccioli ensemble that was giving Little Edie from Grey Gardens meets Missy Elliott from “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).”


Thank you for being a helper, R. Eric Thomas



by marjorieingall on October 31, 2018

Sorry I’ve been quiet.

My last feature for Tablet was on HIAS’s National Refugee Shabbat…the event that triggered the Pittsburgh shooter. HIAS does wonderful work (I’ve written about them other times, too) and if you can see your way clear to supporting their wonderful work for refugees and asylum-seekers, please do. I also did a piece on the arguable silencing of a left-leaning organization at the annual General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America. (The organization in question is T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which hey, happens to be another nonprofit I like to write about, and while we’re on the subject, I’m also a big fan of Keshet, which advocates for Jewish LGBTQ inclusion, and of the Jewish Women’s Archive, which collects and promotes Jewish women’s stories throughout history, SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING TO SPREAD THE WEALTH IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES.) 

Speaking of Pittsburgh, I loved this reminiscence about growing up in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, by African-American Stanford Law professor G. Marcus Cole, and this tribute to Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, one of the victims of the shooting. Both are beautiful. 


all the stuff

by marjorieingall on September 18, 2018

Look, it’s turn-of-the-century swimming champ Rose Pitonof,  aka “The Coney Island Mermaid”! Star of tobacco trading cards and Steeplechase Pier!

On the eve of Yom Kippur, is it okay to ask for an apology? And if so, how?

It was great to see Betty White at the Emmys last night, yeah? Coincidentally, here’s a look at the woman who defeated her in the very first Best Actress Emmy competition. (Betty is still awesome, to be clear.) Gertrude Berg was a comedian, a writer, a showrunner, an activist and (ho-hum) a Best Actress Tony winner, yet today, most people don’t know who she was. This is a shondeh. 

If there are small people or Brooklyn boosters in your life, check out A Moon for Moe and Mo, a honey-sweet and gorgeously illustrated children’s book, partly set in the iconic Sahadi’s grocery.

It’s the 30th anniversary of
Crossing Delancey, the engrossing, melancholy comedy about a pretentious indie bookstore employee caught between the Lower East Side she comes from and the literary Upper West Side she wants to conquer. The Lower East Side that the film portrays as a near-relic is now a full relic. Seeing the old neighborhood and reflecting on how different it looks now is simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking. (A little bit like watching Betty White at the Emmys.) Amy Irving is gorgeous and prickly — she doesn’t try too hard to woo us, the audience — Peter Reigert undersells his pickle-seller’s charms, and Jeroen Krabbé’s arty novelist on the make is despicable and hilarious.

An explosion of apology-related activity over at SorryWatch!  There’s a good apology from a magazine embroiled in a plagiarism scandal; and bad apologies from children’s tv show characters, the makers of a gross designer sweatshirt, and politicians and Hollywood executives (duh — SorryWatch’s bread and butter). Check it out.

This Lithub essay about working on a Jack in the Box ad campaign aimed explicitly at stoners while simultaneously writing a memoir about queerness is surprisingly affecting. And really well-constructed.

Here’s some helpful advice on how to improve your iPhone photos.

Finally, until Sept 21 you can get a free e-copy of Charlie Jane Anders’s Nebula-Award winning novel All the Birds in the Sky, but only if you are American or Canadian, sorry.

G’mar tov to my fellow Yehudim.


Roundup time!

by marjorieingall on August 24, 2018


* College visiting and associated angsting.

* Did you know that you can buy a 1959 children’s book by the founder of the American Nazi Party on Amazon? You can! I reviewed it. (Spoiler alert: The author does not Jews or African-Americans!)

* A book of fabulous celebrity portraits made of detritus! My fave is Jerry Seinfeld made of cereal. I understood that reference (even though I didn’t watch Seinfeld, don’t @ me).

* 17 fun facts about the Bowery, from a book that scores higher than 17 in historical fascinating-ness. 

* A tribute to wonderful children’s non-fiction book author Russell Freedman, and a review of his wonderful final book. 

* Aaaaaaand I hate writing blech reviews. This board book is so well-meaning, and so bad

* This piece in today’s NYT does a great job illustrating why high-stakes standardized tests are so bad. It’s not just that they have too much power; it’s that the questions are often semi-coherent. Look, the woman who WROTE THE BOOK on grammar AND a Harvard-educated lawyer (someone who, y’know, understands precise language) both got a question wrong. My 10th grade English teacher ordered me on FB to answer the question (before I’d read the article) and I always do whatever she tells me, and I answered D, saying it was OBVIOUSLY WRONG because it assumed knowledge that wasn’t given, but hey, guess what, the right answer was D, and I only got it right because I was so sure I was wrong. 

* Speaking of wrong, we have made three (3) trips to Economy Candy in the last three (3) weeks to buy Elite Popping Milk Chocolate Bars. They are SO FREAKING GOOD and joyful to ingest. I am not a compensated spokesmodel. Just a fan. 



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college tour bingo

by marjorieingall on August 5, 2018

We got back last night from a marathon Midwest tour of prospective colleges for Josie (plus a visit to my inlaws in MKE and plenty of Kopp’s frozen custard, which is so much better than Shake Shack it is LAUGHABLE) and came up with this in the car on the way home. 


magic, snazzy children’s books, seltzer and comedy

by marjorieingall on July 23, 2018

Here’s a visit to the New-York Historical Society’s “Summer of Magic” show. David Copperfield’s hair, in person, was MESMERIZING. 

And check out this 80-year-old Polish children’s book classic, now back in print in an English translation, as well as a look at the nifty immigrant graphic designers who did the spiffy midcentury-mod art. After fleeing the Holocaust for England, Lewitt-Him illustrated a number of picture books and also did a lot of WWII home-front propaganda posters. Please enjoy these examples of their work: 


(It’s not that Diana Ross.)

I got so obsessed with Lewitt-Him I made a Pinterest page.

And last up in me news, I took a tour of NYC’s last remaining old-school seltzer factory. Fizzy!

In non-me news, I am SO EXCITED to see the Shazam movie with my superhero-loving 13-year-old, and SO HORRIFIED by the prospect of the forthcoming Netflix show Insatiable.  And finally, genius comedy writer Merrill Markoe shared a vintage live commercial by genius comedy writers Nichols & May, and it is a must watch. 


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e.l. konigsburg’s deadpan ’90s picture book

by marjorieingall on July 1, 2018

Apparently my beat these days is underappreciated-by-the-youth-of-today classic Jewish-y children’s books. Last installment: The Carp in the Bathtub. This time: Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale’s. It’s by the author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler! It’s funny!

I also reviewed the Stuart Weitzman show at the New-York Historical Society, about the history of women’s footwear. Meh. But really pretty. (And my editor Wayne came up with a SUPERB title.)

Plus in the New York Times Book Review this week, I wrote about three very different short-story collections for kids

In non-writing news, we are bingeing Season 2 of Glow. I love this show. 

Also, in other positive news, here are the badasses of Urban Librarians Unite (“WE WILL NOT BE SHUSHED”) and their Storytime Protests. 







Ooh! The Carp in the Bathtub is back!

by marjorieingall on June 20, 2018

Did you know that The Carp in the Bathtub is back in print? Published in 1972, though set in the 1930s, it is a visual delight and an excellent, quirky, funny story. I wrote about it at Tablet, but ahem my editor elected to illustrate the story with a farshtunkiner STOCK PHOTO OF GEFILTE FISH, so here are some examples of its fab illustrations.





Also in recent days I’ve written about a new documentary that explores the history of Blue Note Records and the evolution of jazz, and I went apeshit for delicate necklaces with tiny farfalle on them

I am in need of escapism like nobody’s business (I am, like many people, having a hard time sleeping of late) so I have been binge-watching Farscape, which is a turn-of-the-millennium sci-fi comedy-adventure space show filmed in Australia with human actors and Labyrinth-type Jim Henson puppets. As you might surmise, it is RELENTLESSLY weird. I like it. 


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God Bless America…

by marjorieingall on June 7, 2018

Hey, there are THREE (3) new children’s picture books about Irving Berlin!

And this children’s book about Harvey Milk is better than the musical about Harvey Milk but probably not as good as Lillian Faderman’s adult book about Harvey Milk. I wish the kidbook had explored his Jewish identity (WHICH HE VERY MUCH HAD) as well as his gay one. Still, I really liked it. 

Didn’t review for Tablet, but Julián is a Mermaid is spectacular and you should buy it. 

Here’s an obit for a Holocaust refugee who opened a beloved lesbian bar in Greenwich Village. 

All reflections of the America I want to live in.


Recent writing

by marjorieingall on May 15, 2018


I wrote about journaling in Real Simple. In my personal life I do not use the word “journaling.”

I loved Gilda Radner. The new documentary about her is thrilling and hilarious and sad. 

Here’s an interview with Joy Press about her new book Stealing the Show: How Women are Revolutionizing Television, along with a question: How come seven of the 12 women profiled are Jews? Statistically, this is meshuggeh.

Here is a review of a new musical about Harvey Milk that should have been so, so much better than it is.

A children’s book about women activists manages to utterly ignore both Jewish and LGBT activism, which gives me a sad. 

Here’s an obit for Judith Leiber, whose glittery handbags used to horrify me, as they did Carrie Bradshaw, and now I see I was an idiot, like Carrie Bradshaw. And fyi, here is my favorite recent Leiber minaudière:

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