For our first book club episode, we talk to Israeli-born writer Ruby Namdar about his ambitious second book, The Ruined House, which won Israel's most prestigious literary award and was recently translated into English. The book is set in New York City, where he's lived for the past 18 years, and follows a charming and successful professor named Andrew P. Cohen as he descends into a very peculiar kind of madness. Ruby tells us why he made his protagonist such a specific male archetype, and explains the difference between American and Israeli literary culture (he didn't discover Philip Roth until he moved to the U.S.). He also answers questions from listeners who read the book along with us, such as, "Why does the main character live near Columbia if he teaches downtown at NYU?"
Plus, New York Times writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner joins us to talk about her essay about what reading Philip Roth in an observant household taught her about being an American Jew.
New York listeners, come see Stephanie moderate the Jewish Book Council's Unpacking the Book event at the Jewish Museum on June 14 at 7 p.m. Info here.
Our next full live show is July 18 at the JCC Manhattan, and it's an episode we're calling: "Is it OK to say ‘JAP’?”. Jill Kargman of Odd Mom Out joins us to screen a new short film about the persistence of the Jewish American Princess stereotype. We'll follow with a lively discussion with guests including Judith Rosenbaum of the Jewish Women's Archive and Bat Sheva Marcus from the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (who appear in the film) and more. There will be loads of audience participation as well! Get your tickets here.
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Rob Sheffield, author of the new book Dreaming the Beatles, explains why the Fab Four will be relevant forever
In a matter of days, the 12 jurors will be seated, the lawyers will make their opening statements, and the murder trial of Justin Ross Harris will begin.