Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Summer reading and summer eating


Timbuktu1 wrote:

Thanks Rahel.  The link didn't work but I definitely want to see the blog sometime.  I'm taking a course at the moment on the first cities.  Very interesting.  And it's amazing that Judaism was practiced then and now!

 


Timbuktu --

can you tell us more about this First Cities class? It sounds fascinating!

thanks

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Frequent Contributor
Timbuktu1
Posts: 1,572
Registered: ‎12-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Summer reading and summer eating

It's so funny that  you ask now.  I just received a reply from the director of the Oriental Institute of Chicago who taught the class (it's over now).  It was a wonderful  class about the very beginning of cities in Mesopotamia.  The director is in charge of  a dig in Tel Brak, which is in Syria.  

 

During one class he showed us a relief of a king followed by an aide holding a rope tied around the king's waist.  It was an illustration of a New year's procession.  He explained that the king was on his way to the temple to celebrate the new year and that he thought that the aide was about to remove the rope so that the king could disrobe and impregnate a woman in the temple.  He turned to the class and asked us "What else could it be?"

  Well, what popped into my mind was that the high priest would have to have a rope around his waist before entering the holy of holies in the Temple in Jerusalem, so that he could be pulled out in case he collapsed.  But I was too shy to say anything.  I'm not even that knowledgible about Judaism, how could I know something that this Harvard graduate didn't know, just because I'm Jewish.  But it kept bugging me and I asked several people and they all told me to tell him.  So, just this morning, I e-mailed him and about an hour ago he replied!  He did NOT know!  He thanked me, saying that the Israelites had more common with the religions of Assyria and the Near East than most people realized!  He thought my explanation made more sense!  

 

So, you see how thrilling it is to be Jewish.  It's the only religion of that time that is still alive and kicking!

It's too bad that Orthodox Rabbis don't work in conjunction with these archaelogists as they have the real scoop on so much.  As it happens, I do study with the Chabad and I've learned a tremendous amount. 

Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Shana Tova and October book

Dear Readers,

Hard to believe that October -- and Tishrei -- are here. I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy New Year. Sorry not to have put those wishes into words before Rosh Hashanah -- things have been a little crazy.

We've got an exciting fall season planned here on Jewish Encounters. Starting Monday, October 6, we will be hosting Ilan Stavans, author of  Resurrecting Hebrew as well as several other books. He is an expert on Jewish literature, especially from Sephardic lands, and a tremendously popular scholar and writer. In his latest book, he takes a journey of self- and linguistic-discovery through Israel and the rebirth of Hebrew language. It is a wonderful story and our conversation about it is sure to be exciting.

Join us here next week!

Best,

Rahel 

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Bus Babbling

Okay, I have to brag for a minute. I'm typing from a bus. The upper level of a two-decker MegaBus, one of these new bus lines that serves the East Coast with super-cheap fares and WIFI! It is ridiculously thrilling that it actually works.

Unfortunately, the reason I am on this bus is less exciting. I am on my way to New York to pay a shiva call on a dear friend who just lost her father. I think it'll feel very strange to pay a shiva visit having so recently been host, as it were, of a shiva for my father-in-law. And it makes me think about shiva in general. It's a ritual that is observed in some form or other by probably most American Jews -- I would love to see numbers on that, if anyone knows of a study -- perhaps as many as observe Yom Kippur or have a Pesach Seder. And yet I don't often see it in American Jewish literature. One example I can think of is in a YA classic, What Happened to Heather Hopkowitz? which is the story of a girl from a secular Jewish family who spends a month living with more observant family friends and then secretly becomes more observant herself. When her grandfather dies, she is horrified at how quickly the shiva turns into a cocktail party. Which is an experience that I've had, as well -- a shiva that feels more like a party. I understand why it happens -- people are so uncomfortable around death, and don't know what to say, and revert to a more familiar social behavior. But I think that can be hard on the mourners, who may really need a more quiet space. On the other hand, at the end of a long and happy life, maybe a more celebratory atmosphere isn't inappropriate?

I'm racking my brain for other literary shivas -- I think there is one in Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman, but I don't have the book with me on the bus so I can't be sure. I'd be interested to hear of more examples.

Oh, and speaking of Allegra Goodman, she has a new book out, The Other Side of the Island. It's a YA novel, and looks like it is quite different from what she has done previously. 

that's all for now. Gmar Hatimah Tova -- may we all be sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Sign-in troubles

Hello, readers.

Just wanted to ask you to stick with us through the problems with sign in, which B&N hopes to have fixed very soon. Instructions on how to sign in as easily as possible are on the right side of the page.  Don't give up on the conversation -- we'll make sure it is up and moving soon.

thanks and Hag sameach! Happy Sukkot!

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

changes to the website

Hello, readers.

You've probably noticed that there are a lot of changes to the site in the last few weeks -- changes that will integrate different areas of the site better. Things are now up and running, but one thing to note -- with the switch to the new "My B&N" profile, all the user profiles were automatically reset to "private." So if you want fellow readers to be able to read your profile -- and we hope you do -- just go to the top of the page and click on "My B&N." Once there, on the top of that page you can switch the setting from "private" to "public." There are also great features allowing you to share your favorite books, music, and more, so do check it out. And let me know if you have any trouble with it. 

thanks

Rahel

PS -- I double-posted this because I wanted to make sure everyone saw it -- sorry if you are seeing it twice.

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Frequent Contributor
mildone
Posts: 84
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Hebrew Language and weddings

MazaL Tov!

 

mildone

Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Hebrew Language and weddings


mildone wrote:

MazaL Tov!

 

mildone


Thanks! And welcome back! We're thrilled that you are able to post again! And reading your last post about Resurrecting Hebrew, I would love to hear more about your army experiences someday.

Best, 

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Holiday Daze

Hi, readers.

I don't know if I am the only one feeling totally overwhelmed and unmoored by the holidays -- I suspect not. Travel, days of work missed (well, I am working from home now, so it isn't as much of  difference, but still), a very choppy sense of time. It's become a bit disruptive. On the other hand, we have spent Sukkot in our new home in Baltimore after travelling to family for the High Holy Days, and we have been so welcomed here, with lots of invitations to meals in people's sukkahs since we don't have one. I'm looking forward to next week when we can finally return some invitations and start hosting meals in our new home. Very exciting.

The holidays have also provided me with some extra reading time. Moving and reorganizing the books brought some to the surface that I hadn't had the chance to read. So in the last week I've read a few.  First was Black Girl White Girl by Joyce Carol Oates. Somehow I had never read anything by her before (although I saw in this week's  New Yorker that she was Jonathan Safran Foer's writing teacher!). I was very absorbed by it, although I had a since of deja vu the whole time I was reading it -- the plot seemed very much like something I had read before. Then I picked up The Soul Thief by Charles Baxter (full disclosure: back when I was an editorial assistant I worked for his editor and got to know him a bit -- wonderful person and writer). I ws very impressed -- more uncanny than his previous book, he manages to go sort of beyond the everyday world without it feeling like he is trying too hard or resorting to tricks. Just a little eerie in good ways, and charming in the idea that the most normal of people could have something uncanny in their pasts. I was also charmed by this description of a character: "Sometimes, while thinking, he appeared to daven like an Orthodox Jew." Totally unexplained, no other signs of a Jewish narrator -- quite something to think that davening could become a literary simile like that, without depending on Jewish characters to place it in context. 

I wonder what I'll find to read this weekend?

Best,

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

David Grossman

Dear Readers,

In Resurrecting Hebrew Ilan Stavans has the chance to speak with David Grossman, one of the greatest of Israel's writers.  And it just so happens that a film based on Grossman's book Someone to Run With

is showing in my hometown of Baltimore, at the JCC's CineFest. So anyone in the area should check it out on Wednesday night at 7:30. I'm not sure if it playing in other cities, but I'll try to find out.

Best,

Rahel

 

 

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Coming Up

For a taste of what's to come, the Nextbook Website has an article by Adam Kirsch, "An Unexpected Leader."

Check it out, get a copy of Adam's book, and come back next week for our conversation with him!

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

The Book of Dahlia

Has anyone read this? I'm about to start, and if others have read it, maybe I'll save it for December when we won't have a new book on the book club, and we could discuss it then. What do you think? If you are curious about the book, check out this interview with the author on Nextbook.org

 

Let me know what you think!

Shabbat shalom

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
New User
SergiuSimmel
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎11-01-2008
0 Kudos

Neil Gillman on ... God -- LIVE, INTERACTIVE This Thursday November 6, 2008 !!!

Dear Friends,

 

I invite you all to a remarkable tele-webinar I will be hosting this Thursday November 6th at 9:00 PM Eastern with renowned author and theologian Neil Gillman:

 


                     GOD: YES? NO?
                HOW DO WE DECIDE?
           WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
 
                  A WORLD PREMIERE
            90-Minute Tele-Webinar with

                 Rabbi NEIL GILLMAN
          Professor of Jewish Philosophy
            Jewish Theological Seminary

             http://www.AskNeilGillman.com/P  << INFO & REGISTRATION

 

     Accessible by Telephone OR your Internet Computer

 

For a free audio fragment with Neil Gillman, please visit www.AskNeilGillman.com/audio .

 

If the times or dates are not convenient to you, no worries: the recording of the full session will be made available to ou within 48 hours of the live event, so you can listen to it at your leisure. However, you MUST register to gain access to the replay.

 

Looking forward to your joining us in this remarkable event!

Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

The Book of Dahlia

Dear Readers,

I don't generally think of books that I want to write -- having spent years as an editor, I think it would have been very difficult if the whole time I had wanted to be a writer myself. So I was quite surprised to find myself thinking "I wish I had written this" while reading Elisa Albert's The Book of Dahlia. Amazing.  Gripping. I don't usually like books that don't have more likeable main characters, but Albert's failed, screwed-up 20-something slacker heroine -- if you can call her that, which you really can't -- really appealed to me. It's kind of the opposite of chick-lit -- instead of a plucky, wacky heroine whose life turns around when she finds love, Albert's Dahlia is lazy and profane and her life doesn't so much turn around as accelerate on its downward slide over the course of the book. And yet there is great truth in it, and in the hilarious horror that is her family. Truly, I wished I could have written it myself.

Read it.

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Maimonides the Macrobiotic?

Dear Readers,

I thought those who were in our Maimonides discussion would be amused to see this great little piece on the New York Times CityRoom blog about Maimonides and nutrition, which I came across courtesy of Nextbook.org. Not really an area that we covered, but fun to see. 

Rahel

Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Moderator
Rahel
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0 Kudos

Farewell

Dear Readers,
It has been a great pleasure and an honor to get to know you all over the last year and a half, and I have enjoyed our conversations tremendously. But as the lights of Hanukkah are now dwindling, it falls to me to announce that our club, too, is ending. My thanks to all of you who made these conversations so interesting, and especially to the authors who gave so generously of their time. It was a very special experience for me, and I'm sure for many readers as well. The board will be up until January 5, 2009, so if you want to post a good-bue of your own, please do so.

Keep your eye on Nextbook for future Jewish Encounters titles as they are published, and I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have.

All the best,
Rahel
Rahel
Moderator
www.nextbook.org
Users Online
Currently online: 29 members 229 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: