Sunday, August 27, 2017

Last bit of fun reading for August, 2017

Veronica Stallwood, Oxford Mourning
Veronica Stallwood, Oxford Exit
Jacqueline Winspear, Birds of a Feather
Jacqueline Winspear, In this Grave Hour

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Reading, more or less, August 2016-July 2017, non-mystery division

Lisa Leff, The Archive Thief.
Roni Miron, מלאך ההיסטוריה
Andrew Sean Greer, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
Italo Calvino, Hermit in Paris
Najla Said, Looking for Palestine
Margaret Drabble, The Pure Gold Baby
Laney Salisbury, Provenance
James Kwak, Economism
Jonathan wilson, A Palestine Affair
Holger Hoock, Scars of Independence
Jean d'Ormesson, The Glory of the Empire
Joe Queenan, One for the Books
Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words
Adam Gidwitz, The Inquisitor's Tale
Ruth von Bernuth, How the Wise Men Got to Chelm
Niall Kishtainy, A Little History of Economics
Saul Friedlander, When Memory COmes
Kingsley Amis, The Green Man
Stewart O'Nan, City of Secrets
Jack Weatherford, Genghis Kahn and the Quest for God
Ari Shavit, My Promised Land
Gershom Gotenberg, The Unmaking of Israel
James Glecik, The Information
Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
Christopher Buckley, The Relic Master
Kingsley Amis, The Alteration
Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace
Joan DeJean, How Paris became Paris
Connie Willis, Fire Watch
Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson
Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book
Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog
Connie Willis, All Clear
Connie Willis, Blackout
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle



Reading January-July 2016, more or less

uly 2016
Gish Amit, Ex-Libris
Maoz Kahana, From the Noda BeYehuda to the Chatam Sofer
Mitchell Duneir, Ghetto
Nicola Upson, London Rain
Michael Innes, Picture of Guilt
Michael Innes, Appleby's Answer
June 2016
Michael Innes, A Night of Errors
Michael Innes, The Ampersand Papers
Lawrence J. Epstein, The Dream of Zion: The Story of the First Zionist Congress
E.G. Rodford, The Bursar's Wife
Nicola Upson, The Death of Lucy Kyte
Liora R. Halperin, Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948
May 2016
James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes
James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil
James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night
Gavin Scott, The Age of Treachery
April 2016
Jeffrey T. Shnapp and Matthew Battles, The Library Beyond the Book
Herbert Tarr, So Help Me God
Herbert Tarr, Heaven Help Us
Herbert Tarr, The Conversion of Chaplain Cohen
James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Shadows of Death
March 2016
P.J. Brackston, Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints
J. Kenneth Galbraith, A Tenured Professor
Moulie Vidas, Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud
Adam S. Ferziger, Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism
February 2016
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in Eastern Europe
Massimo Montanari, Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table
Saba Mahmood, Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report
Daniel Boyarin: A Traveling Homeland: The Babylonian Talmud as Diaspora
Benjamin Schreier, The Impossible Jew: Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literary History
Henning Mankell, The Troubled Man
Martin Goodman et al, Toleration Within Judaism
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
Jacque Le Goff, Must We Divide History into Periods
Ram Ben-Shalom, Medieval Jews and the Christian Past
Owen Fitzstephen, Hammett Unwritten
Marc B. Shapiro, Changing the Immutable: How Orthodox Judaism Rewrites its History
Barry Forshaw, ed. Detective
John Walton, The Legendary Detective: The Private Eye in Fact and Fiction
James Lovegrove, The Thinking Engine
Kerry Greenwood, Raisins and Almonds
January 2016
Isadore Haiblum, Murder in Gotham
Henning Mankell, An Event in Autumn
Deborah Levy-Bertherat, The Travels of Daniel Ascher
Naomi Ragen, Devil in Jerusalem
Michael B. Oren, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide
Deborah Harkness, The Book of Life
Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches
Charles Finch, The Last Enchantments
Sasha Abramsky, The House of 20,000 Books
Sigal Samuel, The Mystics of Mile End
Sarah Caudwell, The Sybll in Her Grave
Sarah Caudwell, The Sirens Sing of Murder
Sarah Caudwell, The Shortest Way to Hades
Sarah Caudwell, Thus Was Adonis Murdered

Reading, mysteries, more or less-August 2016-July 2017

Veronica Stallwood, Death and the Oxford Box
Jacqueline WInspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved
Jacqueline Winspear, Journey to Munich
Jacqueline Winspear, Messenger of Truth
T. Frank Muir, Eye for an Eye,
T. Frank Muir, Life for a Life,
T. Frank Muir, Tooth for a Tooth
T. Frank Muir, Hand for a Hand
Kerry Greenwood, Death at Victoria Dock
Kerry Greenwood, Death before Wicket
Kerry Greenwood, Murder and Mednelssohn
Susan Elia McNeal, The Queen's Accomplice
Jacqueline Winspear, Among the Mad
Jackqueline Winspear, Elegy for Eddie
Jacqueline Winspear, A Lesson in Secrets
Jacqueline Winspear, The Mapping of Love and Death
Jacqueline Winspear, Pardonable Lies
Ellis Peters, Monk's Hood
Jocelyn Davey (Chaim Raphael), Murder in Paradise
Jocelyn Davey (Chaim Raphael), The Naked Villainy
Jocelyn Davey (Chaim Raphael), A Treasury Alarm
Jocelyn Davey (Chaim Raphael), A Capital Offense
Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club
Henning Mankell, One Step Behind
Sue Grafton, ed. Writing Mysteries
Henning Mankell, Firewall
Laurie R. Kind, The Marriage of Mary Russell
Roger Herst, Rabbi Gabrielle Commits a Felony
Roger Herst, Rabbi Gabrielle Ignites a Tempest
Susan Elia Macneal, The Queen's Accomplice
Roger Herst, Rabbi Gabrielle's Defiance
Roger Herst, A Kiss for Rabbi Gabrielle
Roger Herst, Rabbi Gabrielle's Scandal
Susan Elia MacNeal, Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidente
Susan Elia MacNeal, The Prime Minister's Secretary
Jed Rubenfeld, The Death Instinct
Susan Elia Macneal, His Magesty's Hope
Susan Elia MacNeal, Princess Elizabeth's Spy
Benjamin Black, Even the Dead
Frank Tallis, Death and the Maiden
Frank Tallis, Vienna Twilight
Susan Elia Macneal, Mr. Churchill's Secretary
Con Lehane, Murder at the 42nd Street Library
Nicola Upson, Angel with Two Faces
Nicola Upson, Two for Sorrow
Henning Mankell, Sidetracked
Frank Tallis, Fatal Lies
Andrea Camelleri, The Shape of Water





Monday, February 22, 2016

People and things that annoy me (in no particular order)

Let me stress again the "no particular order" part. And I am well aware that many of these are first-world problems and annoyances of a privileged person. But I am in a bad mood and feel like venting. And what else is the Internet for? Okay, here goes:

1) People who do not wait to make left turns in the middle of the intersection but hang back making it impossible for anybody to go around them. But the people who go through yellow lights when there is opposite traffic waiting to make left turns are just as bad, maybe worse.

2) People who are planning not to vote if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton may not be your dream candidate folks, but anyone she appoints to the Supreme Court is going to be better than anyone the Republican candidate(s) would appoint. And there are many other examples where her being President would be a better outcome for America and the world than any of the Republicans.

3) Ralph Nader. For all the good he has done, I still can't forgive him for spreading the idea among some progressives that there isn't much difference between the two major parties in the US. See above. (Also does he know he borrowed the "not a dime's worth of difference" meme from George Wallace?)

4) Pedestrians who wave drivers who are stopping for them to go through the intersection.

5) Students who sit in a dark room until the instructor comes in.

6) People who use Saline Street as a short cut to Brown's Hill Road. This is very specific to my neighborhood in Pittsburgh. But you know who you are. You are not objectively stupid or immoral like the people in #2. but you do annoy me.

7) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for three reasons: a) The new "insider guide" is stupid fluff. If you think this is going to save the print newspaper, think again. b) The editorial obsession with the state-owned liquuor stores. c) Putting the comics and the crossword puzzle in different places: they shuld always go in the Magazine. This started when David Shribman became editor. He came from the Boston Globe. And I hated this in the Boston Globe when I lived in Boston. Draw your own conclusions.

8) Islamophobic Jews. Islamophobia in general is bad, of course, but I am particularly annoyed by my fellow Jews who have fallen prey to ignorant nonsense. Call me a tribalist.

9) People who approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a zero-sum game. Is it so hard to try to understand context and feel empathy and concern for Israelis and Palestinians?

10) Cotton candy and petting zoos. No reason. Totally irrational. They are linked in that my kids like both of them and know that I hate both of them. Note: I don't find the people who like these annoying (well, not most of the time).

11) Giant Eagle: why are some of the products my family likes in the Greenfield store and not the Squirrel Hill store AND other products my family likes in Squirrel Hill but not Greenfield?

12) Republicans who talk about how lots of Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act and lots of Republicans supported it. This is annoying and pernicious. It is only relevant today in that it shows how much the parties have changed in the last 50 years. There used to be liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. The former species is nearly extinct and the latter has become very rare. (Just realized that in a way George Wallace was not so far off in 1968 when there were liberal and conservative branches of both parties and Nixon and Humphrey would both be considered centrists these days. But Nader was very wrong in 2000.)

13) Myself, I guess. What kind of person is annoyed by Ralph Nader and not George Wallace?



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

(some of) What I read in 2012

September 2012
Joseph Gaer and Ben Siegel, The Puritan Heritage: America's Roots in the Bible
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
David S. Reynolds, Faith in Fiction: The Emergence of Religious Literature in America
August 2012
Ayelet Waldman, The Big Nap
Barbara E. Mann, Space and Place in Jewish Studies
Jay Michaelson, Everything is God: The Path of NonDual Judaism
Amanda Cross, No Word from Winifred
Francesca Trivellato, The Kindness of Strangers
CP Snow, Last Things
CP Snow, The Sleep of Reason
Yoel Finkelman, Strictly Kosher Reading
Jonathan Riley-Smith, What Were the Crusades
Ann Blair, Too Much To Know
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
Ellis Peters, One Corpse Too Many
July 2012
Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind
June 2012
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetary
Barbara Burstin, Steel City Jews
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and Its Discontents
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It
May 2012
Lisa Jardine, The Awful End of Prince William the Silent
Sara Paretsky, Bitter Medicine
Will Eisner, Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood
Will Eisner, Fagin the Jew
Sara Paretsky, Breakdown
Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism
April 2012
Zachary Schiffman, The Birth of the Past
Sara Paretsky, Body Work
Jean Smith, A Masculine Ending
March 2012
Hazard Adams, Academic Tribes
Nicola Upson, An Expert in Murder
Edward Goldberg, Jews and Magic in Medici Florence
P.D. James, Death Comes ot Pemberly
January 2012
Sharon Kahn, Fax Me a Bagel
David Weiss Halivni, The Book and the Sword
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Jane Langton, Steeplechase
Donna Leon, Drawing Conclusions

Monday, April 23, 2012

Charles Haar and Me

Leafing through the Harvard magazine that came in the mail today, I learned that Charles Monroe Haar, "LLB 48, Brandeis professor of law emeritus" at the Harvard Law School, died on January 10. The Harvard obituary doesn't say how old he was, but google leads me to the New York Times obituary which reports that he was born in 1920. I never knew him and know very little about him except that he was one of the first experts in land use law and an important figure in urban redevelopment circles in the post-WW2 era. But when I saw his name and the report of his death, I felt a bit of emotion that can only be described as mourning combined with nostalgia. How and why does one mourn for a man one doesn't know? In fact,the mourning was only partially for Prof. Haar (although I wish his family my sincere condolences), but mostly for my own father, who died over two decades ago. Haar began teaching at Harvard Law school in 1952 (I learn from the obituary). In 1952, my father was a statistician for the Baltimore Redevelopment Land Agency and a night law student at the University of Maryland. At that time, Maryland offered no courses in land-use law. Indeed, according to Harvard magazine, "[Haar] was one of the first law professors to introduce students to the emerging field of land-use law." Since my father had gone to law school at the suggestion of his boss at the RLA and since he had decided that urban planning and land-use law were where he wanted to make his career, it was only natural perhaps that when he graduated from Maryland in 1953, he would turn to Harvard and Haar for some additional instruction. He got some sort of post-graduate fellowship and spent a happy year in Cambridge, MA in 1953-54. The most important aspect of the year was the opportunity to study with Haar at the law school and to participate in a research group on land use at the school of public administration. (You can find what looks like a rather dry report from 1955 entitled Farm and Other Operating-Unit Land-Use Planning at Google Books based on the work of this group.) From my father's point of view, the second most important aspect was that he took a labor law course (somehow he had not taken a labor law course in law school--lawyers, is this possible?) with Archibald Cox, later of Watergate fame, who told my father that he should switch from land-use to labor law (at least according to my father). My father stuck with land-use and left Cambridge to move to Saint Louis and then to DC. He was a practicing lawyer, mostly in government service, but he also taught off and on as an adjunct in law school (Catholic U in the 70s) and in urban planning (Maryland in the late 80s). Of course he used Haar's casebook for his courses. As I said, I never met Haar, and I don't even know how much my father kept in touch with him over the years. But that year seems to have been a formative experience. I didn't connect the dots when I was younger, but the newness of the field in the 1950s must have been exciting. Haar was less than a decade older than my father and was only in his second or third year of teaching in 1953-54. Haar was also Jewish (or at least born to Jewish parents, as the Boston Globe obituary puts it.) And in 1953, being Jewish meant something socially in the Ivy League, even, I'm guessing, in the law school. It is easy to see why my father might have felt such a strong connection to his teacher. I know my father really enjoyed that year. Once when we were visiting Boston in the late 70s or early 80s, my father dragged us to see the dorm he had lived in (looked like a total dump to me although the cinder blocks were probably new and gleaming in 1953) and later, when we did a college tour in the late 80s, we had to eat lunch at the Greenhouse Coffee Shop--I drew the line at the Wursthaus which was his first choice. The high point of the trip for him was sitting down at a table and finding an elderly man at the next table: "Professor [Paul] Freund? I am sure you don't remember me but you were the chair of the special student committee in 1953 when I applied to the program...." Professor Freund graciously said he remembered. Who knows? But it made my father very happy. My father died less than a year after that college trip. Professor Freund died a few years later (1992--I just checked on Wikipedia), and now Charles Haar is also gone. So is the Greenhouse Coffee shop and the Wursthaus too for that matter. And the nostalgia? I too spent a year as a kind of special student (hence the alumni magazine) at Harvard when I was writing my dissertation and my wife's work brought us to Boston. At some point during that year, it occurred to me that I was in a very vague way following in my father's footsteps. It even occurred to me at one point to look up Charles Haar and see what he could tell me about my father in that period. But I was busy with other things and didn't pursue this. (Now my nostalgia and mourning is mixed with regret.) I suppose it's strange to feel nostalgia for someone else's past. But Charles Haar and Paul Freund and Archibald Cox and Cambridge, Mass in 1953 all became part of my past as well. I'll leave it there.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 reading

December 2011
Jane Langton, The Deserter: Murder at Gettysburg
Kathleen George, Taken
Lee Goldberg, Mr. Monk on the Road
Jay Z, Decoded
Sara Paretsky, Tunnel Vision
Henning Mankell, The Dogs of Riga
Jane Langton, The Shortest Day
November 2011
Amos Oz, A Perfect Peace
Laurie R. King, The Pirate King
Jane Langton, Murder at Monticello
October 2011
Jane Langton, The Thief of Venice
Jane Langton, The Face on the Wall
Jane Langton, Dead as a Dodo
September 2011
Magda Teter, Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege After the Reformation
Talya Fishman, Becoming the People of the Talmud
Jane Langton, Divine Inspiration
August 2011
Jane Langton, God in Concord
Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
Jane Langton, The Dante Game
Jane Langton, Dark Nantucket Moon
Jane Langton, Natural Enemy
Jane Langton, Murder at the Gardner
Pink Horwitt, Jews in Berkshire County
Jane Langton, The Memorial Hall Murder
Sara Paretsky, Writing in an Age of Silence
Martha Grimes, The Winds of Change
Jane Langton, Emily Dickinson is Dead
Jane Langton, Good and Dead
Jane Langton, The Minuteman Murder
July 2011
Marisha Pessl, Special Topic in Calamity Physics
Marvin Heller, Studies in the Making of the Early Hebrew Bookk
Lynn Hunt et al, The Book that Changed Europe
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
Sara Paretsky, Total Recall
Sara Paretsky, Guardian Angel
David Liss, The Devil's Company
Laura D. Hirshbein, American Melancholy: Constructions of Depression in the Twentieth Century
C.P. Snow, Strangers and Brothers
Julian Symons, The Man Who Killed Himself
Julian Symons, The Man Whose Dreams Came True
Martha Grimes, The Old Wine Shades
Martha Grimes, Foul Matter
John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers
Egon Balas, Will to Freedom: A Perilous Journey through Fascism and Communism
Edith Balas, Bird in Flight: Memoir of a Survivor and Scholar
Joanne Dobson, Death without Tenure
C.P. Snow, The Search
Robert Goldsborough, The Bloodied Ivy
C.P. Snow, The Affair
June 2011
C.P. Snow, The Masters
Veronica Stallwood, The Oxford Exit
Guillermo Martinez, The Oxford Murders
Colin Dexter, The Secret of Annexe 3
Ann Blair, Too Much To Know
Harry Kemelman, The Day the Rabbi Resigned
Pawel Maciejko, The Mixed Multitude
May 2011
Colin Dexter, Mystery of the Third Mile
Brian O'Neill, Paris of Appalachia
Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash
Colin Dexter, Morse's Greatest Mystery
Manning Marable, Malcolm X
Colin Dexter, The Remorseful Day
Solomon Freehof, On the Collecting of Jewish Books
Colin Dexter, The Dead of Jericho
April 2011
S.J. Parris, Heresy
William Powers, Hamlet's Blackberry
Roy Rosenzweig, Clio Wired
Colin Dexter, Last Seen Wearing
March 2011
Colin Dexter, The Daughters of Cain
Sharon Kinoshita, Medieval Boundaries
Graham Moore, The Sherlockian
Donna Leon, Willful Behavior
Donna Leon, Fatal Remedies
February 2011
Sean Wilentz, Bob Dylan in America
Sara Paretsky, Indemnity Only
Staurt E. Rosenberg, The Search for Jewish Identity in America
January 2011
Bill Bryson, At Home
Marion A Kaplan and Deborah Dash Moore eds. Gender and Jewish History
Harry Kemelman, Someday the Rabbi Will Leave
Jill Patton Walsh, The Attenbury Emeralds
Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Case of Jennie Brice
Faye Kellerman, Hangman
Laurie R. King, The God of the Hive
Wilkie Collins, Armadale

2010 reading

December 2010
Josephine Tey, The Singing Sands
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Margaret Drabble, The Sea Lady
Iain Pears, The Raphael Affair
Dick Thornburgh, Where the Evidence Leads
Vincent Lardo, McNally's Alibi
Shmuel Feiner, The Origins of Jewish Secularization in Eighteenth-Century Europe
Harry Kemelman, Monday the Rabbi Took Off
Harry Kemelman, Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home
Harry Kemelman, One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross
November 2010
Harry Kemelman, Friday the Rabbi Slept Late
Jack Wertheimer, ed. Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the Twenty-First Century
Natalie Zemon Davis, A Passion for History: Conversations with Denis Crouzet
October 2010
Harry Kemelman, Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry
Jane Haddam, Festival of Deaths
September 2010
Haper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
August 2010
Naomi Ragen, The Ghost of Hannah Mendes
Jack Finney, From Time to Time
Josephine Tey, Brat Farrar
Barbara Burstin, Steel City Jews
Josephine Tey, Miss Pym Disposes
Stephen L. Carter, The Emperor of Ocean Park
P.D. James, The Private Patient
David Assaf, Untold Tales of the Hasidim
July 2010
Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman, The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menahem Mendel Schneerson
P.D. James, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Geza Vermes, The Story of the Scrolls
Rebecca Goldstein, Mazel
Donna Leon, A Question of Belief
Irina Reyn, What Happened to Anna K
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Donna Leon, The Girl of His Dreams
June 2010:
Robert Paul Wolff, In Defense of Anarchism
Rebecca Kobrin, Jewish Bialystock and Its Diaspora
Robert Paul Wolff, The Autobiography of an Ex-White Man
Ann Waldron, The Princeton Imposter
Lee Goldberg, Mr. Monk in Trouble
David Lodge, How Far Can You Go
May 2010:
Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night
Robert Paul Wolff, The Ideal of the University
Ken Koltun-Fromm, Material Culture and Jewish Thought in America
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God
Samuel Rosenberg, Naked is the Best Disguise: The Death and Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes
Fred Inglis, History Man: The Life of R.G. Collingwood
April 2010:
Faye Kellerman, Blindman's Bluff
Mark C. Taylor, After God
March 2010:
Lawrence Block, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza
Robert Bernard, Death of an Old Goat
Peter Charles Hoffer, The Historian's Paradox
Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People
February 2010:
Donna Leon, A Noble Radiance
Donna Leon, Doctored Evidence
Robert Grudin, Book
January 2010:
Hillel Halkin, Yehuda Halevi
E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
P.D. James, Talking about Detective Fiction
Ann Waldron, Unholy Death in Princeton

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update on the Study of Antisemitism at Yale

The Yale Daily News reports that a new program may be in the offing.

Story here.

That was Friday: here is the report in the Forward from today.