The Shelf Life


Reading Around the Seder

posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm by Brad Craft

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.



posted on January 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm by Brad Craft

We at University Bookstore may be a little late with our own new year’s resolutions (how is it January 16th already?), but we are certainly ready to help you achieve your goals. Whether yours is to learn new skills, read more, find happiness in the little things, or to be healthier and happier, we’ve got the books to help.Diet guides? Check. Meditation aids? Yup. Happiness journals? Got ’em. Exercise techniques? Absolutely. Spiritual affirmations? Sure thing. Cookbooks? Of course! In other words, we’ve got you covered.

use2From all of us at the bookstore, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy new year! And for those of a more cynical temperament, a note from the ever-quotable Mark Twain:

New Year’s Day: now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Chappy Chanukah!

posted on November 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm by Anna Micklin

ChappyChanukkahChanukah books are out! Just in time for Thanksgiving (aka the first night of Chanukah). This year I’m excited about a few different books.

For my cat-loving, song-loving friends and family: Hanukcats: And Other Traditional Jewish Songs for Cats. This is a fun little hard cover gift book that includes hits like ‘Matted Fur’ sung to the tune of Ma’oz Tsur. Teehee.

For my friends and family who love good history and are curious about the various 20th century Jewish experiences: David Laskin’s The Family: Three Journeys Into the Heart of The Twentieth Century. David Laskin is a historian from Seattle whose new book follows his own family’s trajectory; one branch went through the Holocaust, another immigrated to Palestine and another in America. Fun fact: one relative he tracks was the founder of Maidenform bras and a renegade as a Jewish female in business.

For the cook, the food historian, the lover of good food (and those of us who appreciate fatty meats but are sick of the bacon craze): The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat by Michael Ruhlman. Schmaltz is essentially rendered chicken fat and it has gone a long way in flavoring a good Jewish meal throughout the centuries. This unique book has great traditional recipes and history.

L’Shana Tova!