Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Book Night 2014

I had the greatest time with World Book Night 2014. I participated in 2012.  I don't remember having as much fun as this year.  When I first started this afternoon. I was disappointed. I should have known better to contact the supervisor of the assisted living facility first. Working in the health field, there is a privacy law.  But, things work out for the best. 

Because the book, is chick lit. One bad thing, you are limited on who to ask, if they would like to have a book.

In this area, there isn't much publicity. I was surprised this month though, that Barnes and Noble in Myrtle Beach had a sign up for WBN. But, most people still don't know what it is. I am hoping in the next few years it will eventually catch on. 

I had my pink book giver shirt on, so that helped right from the start.  That is a plus from two years ago. At least people can recognize that you are from a organization.  Most of the people had no idea what World Book Night was.  Most people gave you the strangest faces, thought I was a stalker, or killer, etc.  Thought I was nuts, and didn't know what to make of me. 

At times I felt like I was stalking people, "There is my next victim".  As I am looking for people to ask if they would like a book. Some of them thought I was nuts, others didn't know what to make of me, and the book.  Some people probably thought what's the catch.  I live in the south. I am sure some thought I was trying to give them a bible or some religious book.  It is so funny, their reactions. 

 Oh, I forgot to say what book, I had given, Where Did You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, which happens to be a great book for the beach, and if you like chick lit.  I happen to love this book.

A couple days earlier, I had decided to give books to my fellow employees. Most of them don't have time to read, or the finances to buy a book. They have more important thing to do with their money.  Like raise their families.

The bottom pix are my bosses.

Now I will tell you the places I went to and why, and the people I approached. I had decided after the experience with the assisted living facility, I was going to think out of the box. Such as people that work in retail, restaurants, people that can't or don't have the time to read a book. 

 I saw someone walking with her ear buds, and her back pack in her restaurant uniform. I approached her, off the street. She looked at me like I was crazy.  Didn't look like she wanted to talk, and just took the book. 

 At the grocery store, I found a young mother and her husband. She was a new mother and told me she missed reading. She promised she was going to read it, and pass it on.  Then on I went, thought of the mall. But, too crazy and crowded with tourist season.  I then got a brain storm. Never thought of this, the beach.

Most of the people I approached thanked me for participating. I even approached a librarian.  We started talking about World Book Night.  I think the beach was the best experience.  People have the time to listen, and talk. At the store people are too rushed and don't appreciate it.  They are less suspicious of you when you are walking the beach and approach you. But at the stores they think something is up. 

I would like to thank World Book Night for a wonderful time today. Being a book giver is wonderful. If they ask me again, I will. But next time I am going to give more thought to the soup kitchen, women in crisis, etc.  

I would like to thank the Hickman Library in Calabash for participating. Being the pick up point for the books.  They were wonderful. The last time I did this was at a book store in N. Myrtle Beach. They were very unfriendly. You would think they would be outgoing and give advise. I am so glad I did not have to pick up there.

I would like to add, perhaps next year try to find books that are more easy to read for people that are hesitant readers.  Books that are mainstream, and grab people's attention at the very first page, such as Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson, Danielle Steele. This is just my observation.   You may need to find books that catch people from the start that are easy to read. This is just my observation. 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Organizing Next Literary Event

We are now moving on to the next literary event, which happens to be in June. I have been contacting  publicists for possible donations for our literary event in June. The publicists have been receptive.  I can't wait to see the faces when they see the books I have received. I can't believe it myself.

Our literary event has been so successful in the Jewish community this year. I am amazed how it started. When I started this, it was only a idea. I did not think it would grow as it has.  We started with 15 people that included some of us from the book club.  Then this year we had almost 50 people. We had to turn people away. For our June event, it was going to be low keyed, a women's event. Since the book, we picked was women's fiction. I got a message from one of our attendees that he was upset because he could no longer come.  I did not think any men would want to come. I had to change it from Literary Ladies Night Out, to Night Out with Rabbi Debbie.

We will be discussing the novel, Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner.  Rabbi Debbie will be talking about the mysteries of Noah's Wife. I originally did these literary events for my book club. Then I decided to open it up to others if they were interested. After I started that I then begain the Jewish Grand Strand Reads.

I think many people did not know what to expect from the literary events. So, now spreading the word through friends has helped us grow as well.  The reason I started the group because we don't have access to authors down south without a high price tag. I thought of the closest best thing,  gathering of readers.  We eventually want to have a author come here, we first have to raise funds, or have someone who has backing to support us. Who knows, maybe in a few years when we can build up a large following.

During this time, with work and school, I have been lucky to be able to organize, and prepare for our event. The most time consuming was the emails to the publicists. I thought would take a few minutes ended up taking the entire day.  At the same time I am deciding on a selection of books for our next community read in March.

Our community is very different from up north. They like to read books that are entertaining. If you learn something from reading that is great, if not that is great too. That is the reason for fiction, rather than non-fiction. We think after a couple more years than we can try the non-fiction. After building our selves up we don't want to loose people.  Especially after the wonderful book, The Golem and the Jinni. It seems that people like to read great story telling, with multi-layered characters, Here are the books we have come up with so far, if new ones come out before June we may add it.
So far:

The Guide for the Perplexed
 by Dara Horn


The Lion Seeker
 by Kenneth Bonert

Love & Treasure
By Ayelet Waldman

It's just too bad that I love doing this so much that I don't get paid. I realize this would be the best job. Since I love doing it so much. People want events like this up north, but not down in Myrtle Beach, S. C. I realize I got my calling late. I would have loved to work in the publishing industry. I love promoting books, and the authors. It is a bit late now, " midlife crisis". So I continue to do what I love to do, this way.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Visible City: Book Review

Visible City
By Tov Mirvis
Very different kind of novel.  I have read other books by Tova Mirvis before.  I read Auxillary Wife which takes place in the Nashville Jewish Orthodox community.  This one is not anything like it. I recommend it to anyone that has lived in or has been in NYC.I could feel the pulse of the city in those pages.  I can relate. Anyone that has lived in the city, or visited would love reading this short book. Even though the book is short, is has a lot to say. 

The novel felt like you  are sneaking behind closed doors and peep holes into the character's daily lives. This is usually not my kind of book. But, it was wonderful.

 I felt like I was a sneaking into people's apartments without a key. This story takes place in Manhattan.  Nina is watching people through her son's binoculars. We go into people's lives of Leon, and Claudia and Emma their adult daughter. She is engaged and left school for now. Trying to decide what to do.

Nina's  husband Jeremy is a corporate lawyer. He is representing  a client that wants to tear down the apartment complex next door where he lives. There are so many different people that she spies I don't want to spoil anymore. Feels like the movie, Rear Window.  Enjoyed reading, even though I don't usually read character study. I am usually plot driven. Thanks for allowing me to review Tova. I was sent a copy by the author.

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Invisible Wall: Book Review

Invisible Wall
By Harry Bernstein

Invisible Wall was a fast read for me. We read it for our book club. One of our member's husband was born, and raised outside London. He had visited  our book club to discuss his own experience. 

This truly was a wonderful book. It reminded me of Angela's Ashes, Jewish Style. He mom was the caregiver while the father was a tailor. He left the house every night and got drunk. He did not seem to care about his family. His parent's married him off and runaway to America after he was married. In Manchester where he was raised. There was a Invisible Wall between the Christian, and Jew. 

When he got older his sister married a non-Jew. His mom disowned her for quite some time, but eventually they came around after the baby was born. The two sides the Christian and Jew celebrated the birth. Had a large celebration and forgot about the resentment of Jew against Christian, the wall started to fall down. 

After a few years Harry moved with his family to America. The wrote the book after the death of his wife. It is a interesting story of being Jewish in England.   He wrote two other books before his death about his experiences, this is his memoir and his legacy he left behind. 

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Jewish Grand Strand Reads 2014

It has taken me a while to post about our Jewish community Read. I knew it would be a while, but I did not think this long to digest, and evaluate our wonderful event.  One reason I did not post yet was because I was not well leading up to the event, and after. Doesn't it figure, it catches up to you eventually between, school, work, and the event.

Anyway, this is what I have to tell you it was wonderful, and it was a great success! When do you call a event a success or a failure?? I call it a success when last year, we had 28 in attendance. Now, we had 47. We had to turn people away.  Wow! we have to pat ourselves on the back!! Thanks to my other co-conspirators, Marian Cohen, Kat Kahn, and Donna Llewylln.  Thanks to them while I was in school, they were helping out on the sidelines.  We were even able to get on a community TV station, thanks to Donna.

Beside our wonderful event on March 2nd. We had a lovely time talking to Helene Wecker on SKYPE. The author of, The Golem and the Jinni.

WHAT A WONDERFUL READ! She was so, down to earth and very easy to talk to. We were able to chat with her for over an hour.  She is wonderful.  We also saw the original Golem movie( silent film), and some other events. I am not going to talk about the book again, since I have done that several posts. But, if you have never read the book, I suggest that you read it.

I was unable to appreciate the event in March because I was sick. Oh well, hopefully next year. We had a wonderful cake made just for the book celebration, The Golem and the Jinni.  Thank you Kat for getting the cake, it was wonderful.

Rabbi Debbie was a wonderful guest speaker I was told. I don't know what she talked about. I am sure the Golem of course.  The staff of the restaurant was wonderful.

A new thing I added this year was books were donated by publishers and were showcased to the audience. Then they were given away as prizes. Some of the authors were well known, where others were debut authors.  My greatest gift was Sue Monk Kidd's novel, Invention of Wings, it was autographed.  One of my favorite people won the book. I was thrilled.

As I close this post I have  to thank one person that went over and beyond what she is expected to do. Is our Rabbi's secretary, Jesse. She is wonderful, helping me with the flyer. We had a couple glitches, but it was fixed and not noticeable.  Also Kat, is the best she made a spread sheet and could calculate in advance.

This was the first time the Jewish Grand Strand Reads was supported by the Jewish community. I am very pleased with the turn out.  As closing this post I will add pictures at the bottom.

Now on to bigger, and better things. I have already started thinking about next year's book. We will be meeting this coming Monday to talk about what we plan to do next year. I have another event planned for June. It is called, Literary Girl's Night Out. We again invited, Rabbi Debbie to discuss the novel, Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner. What great timing, with the movie, Noah coming out.

Until March, any book recommendations. Let us know. If you would like to organize your own community read you can contact me.  If you think it can't be done, you are wrong.  Just start small for the first time, and they will come.

Rabbi Debbie, Susan Curtis, Carrol Sallas, Kat Kahn, Marian Cohen, and Donna Llewllyn

The organizers

The Jewish Grand Strand Read would not have been possible without Heather Drucker from Harper Collins. I would like to personally thank her, for her help and arranging the SKYPE conversation with Helene.  If you ever want help arranging a community read she is the best. Helene, and Heather know how special this project was for me. What made it very special was the book itself. It made it even sweeter. The Golem and the Jinni is a very special book. A book I don't think will top anything in my lifetime.   It is going to be difficult to find a book for next year. But, we will try. I already have books lined up to judge for the summer for our selection committee.

When you have the passion and drive it of course will be a success.  I want to thank everyone this year for the support you gave for the Jewish Grand Strand Reads.   See you next year.
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Book Review: My Sister's Weiss

The Sister's Weiss
By Naomi Ragen
My own copy

I have read several books by Naomi Ragan. I was expecting her newest novel to be the same subject that many Jewish author's tackle.  A rebellious daughter leaving the Ultra Orthodox enclave.

It is a bit, more. The Sister's Weiss takes place in Brooklyn, New York in the l950's. The two daughters, Pearl and Rose are very close. Their parents live in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Williamsburg.  Rose is the eldest daughter.  She is a very obedient daughter compared to her other youngest sister, Pearl.

All children in the ultra orthodox community are expected to be obedient to g-d, and obey his commandants. One of the commandments is to obey your mother and father.  Rose tries very hard to obey. But as Rose gets older, she realizes she wants something more.

Years ago, she was given a camera. She is curious about photography and she curious about photography and wants to learn about it.   She is asked to do a mitzvah, to tutor a french girl in her class.  Rose goes home with her, and learns about how the other half lives.  The girl's father gives Rose a photography book.

When her parents learn that Rose has a "filthy book", they send her away to her grandmother. While there, they are unaware that Rose has secretly enrolled in photography classes.  When they find out what she has been doing they have her come home.  Once she comes home, she is of the age to find a match-arranged marriage.  She has no say, who she will marry. Her marriage is limited because of the rumors of her disobedience.  Once the match happen's Rose feels trapped, and runs away.

We fast forward now forty years later. Rose is a mature older, successful photographer, with a daughter, Hannah.  Rose has become a secular Jew.  Rose is not wanted in her family since she ran away. Pearl's daughter now grown up. Asks her Aunt for help( she has never seen her aunt.)  and cousin for help.  She wants more out of getting married and having children. She wants the freedom to choose her own destiny.

It is during the second part of the book, we learn about how Rose survived, after she runaway from her parents. Rose's niece is very naive, she wants to have the chose of where her life will lead.  She has made some terrible choses, but she doesn't take responsibility for her actions.  Rose, intervenes at every turn for her niece. But finally, she can't take that her niece doesn't realize there are responsibilities with having freedom.

Sister's Weiss is a fast moving novel. I enjoyed reading very much. At first, I thought to myself another novel about the rebellious daughter goes bad in a observant Jewish family. But, it is a bit more than that.  There is not a happy ending, but there isn't a happy ending when your family has pretty much thrown you out.

I am not a observant Jew, I was raised conservative.  But this is my take what I got out of the novel. If there are children that don't want the ultra orthodox lifestyle, what are the girls options? Is there a place for help for them? It is terrible that their parent's throw their children out. They are worried about their reputation, and their other marriageable children.

They don't care about their child, and what happens to them.  Some of the children are resilient and are able to get their life together others, are not as successful.  I was researching to find out if there were resources for children of ultra orthodox families. I could not find anything. If anyone knows if there are, I would like to hear about it.

Here is a update while researching. I did find a resource for young orthodox adults. Either they were thrown out of their home, or they are trying to find where they fit religion in their life.  The program is called Footsteps. It is the only one in the country, which is a shame.  What about other town's and cities where they live. Or the other thought do these children know where to get help? probably not.

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One Thousand White Women: Book Review

One Thousand White Women By Jim Fergus I have been looking forward to reading, One Thousand White Women. S...