Monday, November 30th 2020   |

Books

Prince and the Jews: The late rock star’s best Jewish friend tells all in new memoir

By STEPHEN SILVER

(JTA) — In the late 1960s, when Neal Karlen was not even 10 years old, he would spend time at the home of his grandparents, one of the few Jewish families that remained on the north side of Minneapolis. Karlen would play basketball and ride bikes with a group of African-American kids who lived in the neighborhood. One of them, he later realized, was a young Prince...

Jewish poet Louise Gluck wins Nobel Prize in Literature

(JTA) — Louise Gluck, the American granddaughter of Hungarian Jews, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Gluck, 77, was awarded “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” the Nobel committee wrote in its announcement.

Her collections of poetry — which explore broad and painful topics, such as family life, trauma and aging — include the books “The Wild Iris,” “Meadowlands,” “The...

Natalie Portman’s debut children’s book makes 3 classic tales ‘gender-safe’

(JTA) — Actress, director and Academy Award winner Natalie Portman can add another title to her resume: children’s book author.

The Israeli-American movie star rewrote three classic children’s stories — “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Country Mouse and City Mouse” — to be more “gender-safe,” in her words, with fewer male pronouns and more gender diversity.

She wrote about the thinking behind the project in...

The real history behind Seth Rogen’s ‘An American Pickle’

By LIOR ZALTZMAN

(JTA) — Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle” is one of the most Jewish Hollywood films ever.

In it, Rogen plays two Jewish family members separated by a century: Ben Greenbaum, a young app developer who lives in Brooklyn, and Herschel Greenbaum, his great-grandfather from the old country who falls into a vat of pickles and stays perfectly preserved in brine for 100 years. Call it a pickle...

Inaugural N.O. Book Festival canceled for 2020

Citing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organizers of the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University canceled their inaugural event for 2020 scheduled to take place March 19-21 on the Uptown Tulane campus. Festival organizers, including co-chairs Walter Issacson and former New Orleans First Lady Cheryl Landrieu, have indicated it will be rescheduled for 2021.

Tickets already purchased for keynote addresses by novelists John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm...

Publisher axes Woody Allen memoir

(JTA) — Hachette Book Group announced it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir after its employees staged a walkout in protest of the company’s deal with the acclaimed filmmaker.

Hachette announced the decision to cancel the publication of “Apropos of Nothing” on Friday. The book had been scheduled for release next month. Employees of the company staged a walkout at the company’s Manhattan office on Thursday.

Also Thursday, Allen’s son...

The first ‘Harry Potter’ book is now available in Yiddish

(JTA) — As of today, the first book in the Harry Potter series is available in Yiddish.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” — or “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” as it is known in the United States — was released in Yiddish by the Swedish publisher Olniansky Tekst Farlag on Friday. (Yiddish is an official language in Sweden.)

It was translated by Arun Visnawath, 29, the son of...

Jodi Kantor on what’s changed since her Weinstein story unleashed a wave of #MeToo

By EMILY BURACK

NEW YORK (JTA) — When New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the Harvey Weinstein story on Oct, 5, 2017, it started a #MeToo revolution: Women began sharing personal experiences of the sexual harassment and abuse they had faced.

Even though the activist Tarana Burke coined the concept of MeToo in 2006, the reporting by Kantor and Twohey about Weinstein helped transform it into...

Best-selling novelist Judith Krantz dies at 91

(JTA) — Best-selling novelist Judith Krantz, whose first novel “Scruples” was published the year that she turned 50, has died.

Krantz died on Saturday at her home in Bel Air, California at the age 91, Deadline reported.

According to the Jewish Women’s Archives, Krantz is the third-largest-selling female novelist in history. “Although her goal is for her books to provide escape and entertainment, she does try to make some serious...

Herman Wouk, legendary author who brought Judaism into the mainstream, dies at 103

By RACHEL GORDAN

BOSTON (JTA) — Herman Wouk, the bestselling Orthodox Jewish author whose literary career spanned nearly seven decades and who helped usher Judaism into the American mainstream, died Friday at the age of 103.

His agent confirmed the news to The Associated Press.

Wouk was the author of two dozen novels and works of nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Caine Mutiny” from 1951, which was a fixture on...