Friday, October 26, 2007

Blogs and books.

Talk about the big leagues! At least it feels like it. The JewsbyChoice group blog got a mention on the other day, and that, to me, feels like a big deal. I've been getting e-mails from readers with questions and comments, and the conversations on blog posts have been incredibly active. The website has come alive, and I couldn't be more happy to be a part of such an undertaking.

On another note, I just finished reading the first of the Rashi's Daughters series by Maggie Anton. The book (about the eldest daughter, Joheved) seems torn between being a historical text and a love story. I, myself, am particularly drawn to the Talmud commentary and discussions about Torah and ritual. The love story aspect of it is interesting enough, but seems almost forced. There are portions of the book that read as fluid as warm honey and others that dry up as quick as rain in July (fun comparisons, no?!). I often gush over Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent," which is based more on fiction than on fact, considering the historical nature of it. Rashi and his daughters are a little bit more present, of course, but the facts and historical documents aren't as prevalent as documents from even 300 or 400 years ago were (think Gluckel of Hameln!). Likewise, the insertions of "oui" and "mon cherie" into the otherwise English and Hebrew tests grates on my nerves of consistency and plausibility. It reminds me of Dora the Explorer or Passions (the former NBC soap opera), where every now and again one of the Latino family members will toss in a "gracias" or "dios mio" or some other recognizable Spanish phrase, just so we can remember that they're Latino. At the same time, I recognize that the book could be in French, it could be in Hebrew. It could be in English, and it is. I wish I knew French as well as I once did, so I could read the book in French -- perhaps the language it should be entirely written in! But I will pick up the second book (based on the next youngest daughter, Miriam) with wide eyes and a hopeful disposition. The historicity of the books, including the details about the way things are made or performed, is enough to keep even the greatest romance-loathing bookworm like me interested!

Note: I finally got internet at home, so expect some more in-depth Jew-related blogging in the near future!