DSCN3806Passover begins the evening of Monday, April 14th.  Here’s a selection of titles to help us all prepare, and to remind us to remember, to laugh, eat, and pray.

haggAmong a variety of translations and options, we would draw your attention to the much reviewed and admired New American Haggadah, edited by Jonathan Safran Foer, with a new translation by Nathan Englander, from Little Brown.

famWe’re pleased to mention that we still have a limited number of signed copies of David Laskin‘s The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of The Twentieth Century, from Viking.  A sweeping true saga of one remarkable family and their journey from the shtetl to great commercial success in the new world, on to Palestine, and down to the author today.

An exciting and important book, appropriate to every family, this would be among the more thoughtful, if secular choices for reading at the Holy time of the year.  Still, what is this observance about if not remembered history and, most importantly of all, The Family?schama

Speaking of history, I probably don’t have to tell anyone with a television about this one, but historian and television presenter, Simon Schama is back on PBS now, and we now have his new book, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC — 1492 AD, from Ecco.  Appearance to the contrary, no less than the Sunday Times says this new book is “more than just a bar-mitzvah boy’s shelf-filler… Schama has written a proud and personal story of his people.”  Pretty good, that.  And quite true.  This is a particularly personal perspective; informed not only by Schama’s remarkable scholarship, but also by his own powerful personality and wit.

And then, there’s the food.  So maybe you don’t eat this way all the time anymore — who does? — but what with family coming over… Anyway, here are a couple of beautiful cookbooks that will have you cooking a meal that would make your Bubbe proud:  The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat, by Michael Ruhlman, from Little Brown, and, from NBN, Jewish Traditional Cooking, by Ruth Joseph & Simon Round.