Archive for June, 2013

The June Jewish Book Carnival


As always, it has been a busy couple of months. I have found a job! And while of course, I feel so fortunate and blessed, it has caused many things in my life – like blogs – to take a back seat as I try to develop a routine for my new schedule.  I did bring my car to DC from California, so that is helping.

BefoJewishCarnivalre I was hired, however, I had made some commitments: To attend the Bloggers’ Conference at Book Expo America at the end of May, to accept an invitation from my niece to visit her in London at the beginning of June and to host the June Jewish Book Carnival. So here we are! I am going to provide a few brief notes on what I learned at Book Expo, describe some of the wonderful blogging that is going on in the Jewish Lit-osphere, and head off to London this evening.

The Bloggers’ Conference at Book Expo America:

As mentioned, I attended the Bloggers’ Conference in New York last week. It was excellent. I learned a lot. I will write a longer piece when I return from my trip, however I want to share s few key takeaways:

1)      Books Really Do Matter: According to Will Schwalbe (author of The End of Your Life Book Club),as bloggers we are becoming increasingly important in discovering new and interesting books that readers EndLifeBCmay never learn about any other way. We are successful when we can connect the author, through our blog, with the reader. I have to say that in all the years I have attended BookExpo, I have never had such welcoming and open conversations with publishers as I had this year. They are eager to embrace bloggers, send them review copies and provide anything else we need to get a book on a blog.

2)      “What Are You Reading?” Books are a very important tool in the human arsenal. When you ask someone this question – instead of “How are you?” or “What’s up?” You open a dialogue very different from the routine of daily interactions.

3)      The new Common Core Curriculum Standards are BIG NEWS! Familiarize yourself with them and use them in reviewing your books. This will be a huge win for you.

4)      Randi Zuckerburg (yes, Mr. Facebook’s SISTER) gave the ending address. Her topic was “The 10 Trends Shaping How Content is Consumed Today.” Key ideas:

  • More Signal, Less Noise: Bloggers curate content for our readers. This helps dilute the noise on the internet,
  • The Gamification of Everything: Rewards for everything. E.g. Retweet this and earn points. Hit this and donate $1 to charity.
  • Use Video for Storytelling. Seems pretty obvious, but there are now 6 second twitter-like videos available on some sites.

More to come…let’s get to the real business of the day shall we? The June Jewish Book Carnival. I am so excited to be able to present this fine list of reviews, interviews and activities to you. With the summer season upon us, I am thankful for this group of bloggers “curating” the many books that are published this time of year and selecting the must reads for me.

Many thanks to the Jewish Book Council  for providing a list of 2013 Summer Reads. This should keep you quietly reading, sipping your preferred drinks under the sun, near water or not, throughout the many months ahead.

MissingFileAnd in case that list just isn’t quite enough,  pick up D. A. Mishani’s mystery, The Missing File, but before you do, read about his fascination with detectives at The Prosen People.



It appears that The Golem  and The Jinni may be a must read. I am a fantasy/sci-fi fan myself, and LOVE Golem stories, so I may have to pick this up for the plane ride over to London!

Here’s what Rhapsody in Books has to say about this historical fiction/fantasy/sci-fi/ romance (Did you know there’s a term for this now? It is called a mash-up.) with an immigration theme, while Lori M. Writings and Photography provides a second point of view with more details.

HershelGrynszpanWould you rather read real history instead of historical fiction? Then head on over to My Machberet, where Erika Dreifus asks Jonathan Kirsch about his new book, The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris, I guarantee you will be eager to get your hands on the book.


SchmutzyFamAt last, a children’s picture book!  Heidi Estrin at the Book of Life Podcast interviews the folks at Holiday House about the hilarious Shabbat picture book, The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg on The Book of Life podcast. This will definitely keep the kids entertained while you keep reading…
…but if they get bored, grab some glitter pens and colored markers then click on to Ann D. Koffsky’s home page and print out these fabulous glasses for coloring that will keep the kids occupied for pages!

WOctMournhen you want a break from reading all those novels or heavy history books, hop on over to The Whole Megillah  and learn about Emily Mitchell, an agent with Wernick & Pratt. Then read this extraordinary interview with poet and children’s book author Lesléa Newman. Do yourself a favor and watch the book trailer for October Mourning. Be sure to have tissues at hand.
Last, but most certainly not least, The 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries is taking place in Houston, TX June 16-19, 2013. The proceedings will be live blogged via Facebook! Get pictures and comments from the conference starting on June 16. You do not have to be a Facebook subscriber to view it – but if you’d like to leave comments, do be sure to log in and “like” AJL’s Facebook page!

A late edition to the June Carnival arrived while I was in London. Now that I have returned, I am adding it to this recap:

Torkel S. Wachter asks that you visit his website to learn more about the narrative non-fiction book, The Investigation, set in Nazi Germany. Based on authentic local government documents as well as private letters and diaries, it provides an insight into the way in which Hitler’s first months in power affect a German-Jewish civil servant’s family in Hamburg. In addition, you  might want to look at this fascinating website where you can read 32 authentic postcards sent from Hamburg during 1940 and 1941. The first of these was published on March 29th 2010, seventy years to the day since it was written. The additional 31 postcards have been published in simulated real time – on the date they were written, but 70 years later.

So there you have it – The June Jewish Book Carnival! Can I have a round of applause for all our participants? Please visit everyone’s sites and leave a comment. It is nice to let the bloggers know you were there.  Have a great month.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.


©2013 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.