Tuesday, March 9, 2010



MARCH 2010.

There are always new books, exciting authors and a list of books we have yet to enjoy. I have read some great books in the last few months and would like to share them with you.


This is a story of the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
These are the women in the life of this genius of design and they are part of an ongoing saga in his turbulent, eccentric and very creative life. Boyle has written many books about famous men, John Harvey Kellogg, the cereal king and about the sex researcher, Alfred Kinsey . Boyle's articles appear regularly in the "New Yorker" "Harpers" "Esquire." "Playboy" and other publications

The different women, personalities, passions and the families they brought up, are interwoven with the great buildings, homes and museums that Wright designed. We travel the breath of America and globally to follow his work and the book is a vivid account of life in those days.


This is set in BEIRUT. It is a tale of two best friends Bassam and George, who grew up to be men in a war ravaged city . Their future is now at stake. They can stay in the devastated city and consolidate power through corruption, bribery and crime, or go into exile abroad, leaving behind the life they knew, and the families they loved.

The writer is a visual artist and curator and lives in Montreal. He lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war.
He is the recipient of many prizes and tells the story in a distinctive and captivating way. It is a way of life that is tough and hard. A portrait of a war zone. Those of us who have had a 'privileged ' life, realize that we need to treasure democracy and freedom.A sensitive and well written account of a different world.


The book tells of the last few months of the tragic ending of WALTER BENJAMIN'S life. Benjamin was a German Jewish Marxist philosopher. During the last months of his life, he tries to save the Manuscripts of "Passagen Werk'' [Arcades Project} While fleeing Nazi Germany, and trying to cross into Spain , over the Pyrenees, to the relative safety of a coastal town of Portbou, we are reading of his hardships, fatigue, heart break and battle of the human spirit.

Intertwined with Benjamin's tale, told in the third person, is a first person narrative of Laureanou Mahojo, a Republican militant, who fought in the Spanish Civil War. His memories of the war, form the background and interesting meeting with Benjamin. Their lived are suddenly thrown together and we are taken on an amazing journey of survival. Very interesting reading.

Here we are in a period of Russian history and the Revolution The story takes us to the Winter Palace of the Tsar and his family in St. Petersburg.
We read of the intrigues, corruption, power of the Royal house and leaders, Rasputin and the Revolt. Boyne tells the story of a 80year old man, Georgy Jachmenev, who undertakes a final journey to Russia. He has been haunted all his life by dreadful memories and he discovers the secrets of the House of Special purpose.
My late Mom, used to tell us stories about the Russian families. Their cruelty, the hardships of the people, the harsh lives they endured. I remember, especially, the tales of the wicked, Rasputin.

This is fascinating reading.
You might remember that Boyne, also wrote "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas


I am glad that there are authors who investigate situations that enable us to understand them more fully by reading a novel. In the last few years we have had many books like "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom,. It was about the story of a dying man He has a visitor every Tuesday and the book is the is the telling of life's lessons, humanity, empathy, understanding and tolerance. The story of this friedship is inspirational and gave us all food for thought. The writer, Alice Munro, wrote an amazing story, called "The Bear came over the Mountain". It is a story of change, acceptance of situations we cannot reverse. We are shown how the husband has to make drastic changes for his beloved wife.. and take her to a home for Alzheimer patients. There were other books too that dealt with Down Syndrome, mentally challenged people, Schizophrenic cases with a view to give us a better understanding of the difficulties life throws into your everyday life.

Here we have a writer who has researched and gives us the opportunity to understand the world of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
Piccoult has taken a story from life and created the tale of a boy that has to live in our world. You will find the sensitive, deep understanding and approach to this subject very informative and giving us a different level of acceptance that perhaps," this is not a disability, but rather another ability."


Farouk, Egypt, the lavish and luxurious life style, the corruption and colorful lives of the powerful and rich, makes a great story. The story of a Jewish, Egyptian family in cosmopolitan Cairo, has to deal with the era of Nasser's regime, when the Jews were forced to leave. The relocation to America was tough. This amazing memoir tells of their battle with a new culture, without funds and how they struggled to build a new life. I met a lady from Zichron recently and it was interesting to speak to her. They were in Egypt when the Regime was overthrown. There were intrigues and manipulations for power. And she remembers the events well. The story here is told by a family member who resides in America.


The House of Rajani was published in February 2008 and has become a best seller. The story takes place in Jaffa in 1895. A troubled Muslim boy suffers from peculiar visions about a disinter that will befall his people. A young Jewish settler arrives and this changes his life. The story is interesting and is part of the development of our land. It is an encounter of two cultures, the way we live and think, our social behavior and attitude to events.

Alon Hilu, also wrote the "Story of the Damascus Affair." This was a story of the blood libel against the Jewish community of Damascus in 1840.

The film,'AJAMI,' that was nominated as one of the best Foreign films at the Oscars,
was filmed in Jaffa. The two cultures , working side by side, the differences of values, and the reality of every day survival are vividly shown in this film. life



Here we have a book about books. This is a superb yarn of a young student of 23 years old, called Aaron Lansky. He decided to save all the books of Yiddish origins. He travelled America looking for them and they found him. People were excited and happy to give him their treasured books on Torah, History, Novels and Jewish Bobbe meisis. He collected, repaired and catalogued them They are housed in AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS. You will love the wit, warmth and meaningful journey to save books that are our link with the past, our culture and the wonderful people who fill the pages of history.

I hope your Passover is a wonderful time for all of you. Take time to relax and enjoy the family, wonderful meals and togetherness. In those quiet breaks, enjoy a good book and feed the soul.



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