Jewfem Blog

Some favorite Jewish women writers, 2016

dead man web
marjorie ingall
nurture the wow
scribner armadillos rev lr
last song before night

It has been quite a while since I’ve published book reviews, but this is not for lack of enjoying Jewish women’s books. I read some great books this year by Jewish women, some of whom I really love and follow adoringly. I owe sincere apologies to all the writers here for not being more diligent and effective in getting full-length reviews out there. They all deserve better than what I offered them. In any case, here are some quick reviews of books by Jewish women who are definitely worth reading: Nora Gold, The Dead Man. Inanna Publications & Education, Incorporated, 288 pages   This is the story of a music therapist and composer who confronts her own past and a tumultuous affair with a giant in the Jewish music world who also happens to be an abusive narcissist. Gold’s writing is evocative as always, and she winds her way through the streets of Jerusalem with the same emotive flair with which she navigates the intricacies of the human psyche. I particularly loved the way music is woven throughout the story, and how she captures the internal meanderings of a musician listening to the world (a baby’s cry in A, a bird song in G). Gold, in addition to being an award-winning novelist, is also the founder and director of the pioneering Jewish Fiction.net, which is the kind of place that makes you wonder how we ever managed without it.  Marjorie Ingall, Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers do to raise successful, creative, empathetic, independent children.  Harmony Books, 240 pages  Marjorie Ingall, a witty, smart and thoughtful writer and parent, shares sound and insightful parenting advice. The book is about raising children with independence, geekiness, laughter, passion, acceptance, a healthy dose of chutzpah, and sincere but non-intrusive spirituality. She combines humor with wisdom, research with common sense, stories of the past with contemporary realities. She has a wonderful ability to sew ancient texts and modern life together with one beautifully integrative stitch, as well as to find lessons of joy and humor within the madness.  I was impressed with her breadth of knowledge on an array of important topics, as well as her willingness to talk back to some commonly held misconceptions. Her treatment of praise, for example, and her exploration of the work of Carol Dweck (whom I also hold in high esteem), was one of the best sections of the book. I also really loved that she honored her exceptional mother, Carol Ingall (although I have very different experiences with feminism and motherhood). I actually follow the work of both mother and daughter and found a deeply moving inspiration in reading the feminist daughter write about her mother/ing that way. Reading about those relationships amid the formation of a parenting vision provided me with a powerful and personal corrective experience about mothering adult daughters.    Danya Ruttenberg, Nurture the Wow: Finding spirituality in the frustration, boredom, tears, poop, desperation, wonder and radical amazement of parenting. Flatiron Books, 308 pages In...

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