Another week, another stack of books cleared off my desk (and downloaded into my brain). I have poor eyesight. Can you guess why?
Over at TribeWrite, I spent the week reviewing Al Franken’s latest jab at the right, Billy Crystal’s most poignant look back at his family, and a bunch of Yiddish folk tales (good ones too). Not to get too light, there was also Sam Harris’ rather hyperbolic denunciation of religion and Isabel Kershner’s absolutely stunning piece of reporting on the security barrier erected between the Israelis and Palestinians.

  • First up was Kershner’s book, Barrier: The Seam of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which did a phenomenal job of exploring the impact and pathos behind the barrier. In so doing, she contributes a great deal to our understanding of the fundamental (and often dichotomous) intransigency at the heart of the conflict.
  • Lighten up is something I’m often told, so I segued from the Israeli-Palestinian clusterfrack to some Yiddish lit. Radiant Days, Haunted Nights is an excellent and wide-ranging collection of Yiddish fiction translated into English.
  • I laughed, honestly, at Sam Harris. His book The End of Faith is a blunt and poorly generalized screed against the phenomenon of faith. His solution, end religion and devote ourselves to reason as the only path to a better world. Who wants to take bets on how much a Chassid would like this book?
  • Billy Crystal found his way into my stack, and deeper into my pop culture satured heart, with his book version of the hit one-man Broadway act. 700 Sundays is so named after the approximate number of Sundays the comic was able to share with his father before an untimely passing. The rest of his family is off their collective rockers, but in a good way, so it’s a funny read.
  • And finally, I just had to move Al Franken off my desk. His latest book is good, but I’m not an Al Franken fan. You might be, so feel free to read the full review on it. Conservatives click no further.