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Book Review Stream

This stream is dedicated to articles about book reviews.

Off the Shelf: Three genres

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Graphic novel

When I read a novel about the search for the lost Ark of the Covenant, I expect the plot to head in one of two directions: either stark realism or otherworldly mysticism. Rutu Modan’s graphic novel “Tunnels” (Drawn and Quarterly) leans toward th…

Off the Shelf: Looking for romance

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A recipe for romance novels: 1) Take two insecure people who are attracted to each other. 2) Have them each believe the other can’t possibly be interested. 3) Mix in several misunderstandings and at least one major crisis. 4) Stir until you have a happy ending. 

Off the Shelf: Resistance, betrayal and survival

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

If I had to summarize Roxane Van Iperen’s “The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Sisters’ Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory” (Harper) in three words they would be resistance, betrayal and survival. Janny and Lien Brilleslijper did the unth…

Off the Shelf: Black and a slave, white and a Jew

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

One fascinating section of Laura Arnold Leibman’s “The Art of the Jewish Family: A History of Women in Early New York in Five Objects” discussed an ivory miniature portrait, and the life, of Sarah Brandon Moses. (See The Reporter’s review of the book here.)…

Off the Shelf: Just after the war

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

A novel for adults

Why would two Jews who escaped from Germany before the World War II want to return? That question underlies Ellen Feldman’s excellent “The Living and the Lost” (St. Martin’s Griffin). The answer for David Mosbach is simple: he joined the…