Sunday, September 23, 2012

TLC Blog Tour: Bookie's Son


                                                Welcome to another stop for TLC Book Tour
I received Bookie's Son from TLC Book Tours. This is the first time I am participating.

Bookie's Son by Andrew Goldstein

Bookie's son was written based on the life of the author, and I'm sure was embellished in some parts of the novel.  I am afraid I won't give it the justice it deserves.  This is a great story. While reading it I felt like it ran like a movie in my head. I liked that the chapters were short, and sweet. Each chapter had cute illustrations of the characters.

The story captivated me from the first. I loved the characters, even though they were a bit over the top. But, that is what made it fascinating, a dysfunctional family. I loved the setting, of the Bronx.  I have never lived in the Bronx, although I could picture it in my head.

When I was young, my parents would take me to my bubby( my great grandmother) house, in Boston, Mass.  The book reminded me of that place. I still remember the trolley passing and going through the streets. The antique furniture, the smells that resonated through the house during Shabbat. People outside rather than inside.   I love the story when place is character.

Before Gameboy, and Atari, Play Station, etc. Kids did play outside, and congregated. Where they played stick ball, and sat out on the stoop to be outside. Where women kibbitz, and gossip and talk about their families.

The story is  a coming of age story, and forgiveness, redemption, and the importance of family no matter how crazy they are. There is some sprinkling of Yiddish, and a lot of Yiddish humor.  I don't want to give it away. But, the book is timeless, and makes you think about the Jewish holydays coming.

Ricky grows up quickly, and literally. He sees what is going on around him with the family troubles, and what happens to his father. The timing is perfect with the bar mitzvah approaching, and the decisions Ricky has to make.

Bookie's Son  takes place in the 1960's in the Bronx.  Ricky about to become a bar mitzvah.  He's mother, Pearl works as a secretary to a talent agent.  He's father is a "cutter, and a gambler, and owes money to the loan shark.  He's grandmother who can hardly hear well takes care of Ricky.

Ricky's father owes money to Nathan, lots of money. Where is he going to come up with that kind of " dough"? Nathan and Pearl used to be a item many years ago. Nathan uses that against him. He tells him if you let me have one fling with your wife, I will forget about the money. What is he going to do?

Ricky has he's own problems between worrying about his father's bookie business and helping with that, and a kid on the street, named Tony. He is always threating and harassing Ricky, until something terrible happens.  Ricky, meanwhile has a thing with his neighbor downstairs. There is a lot of growing up to do. One day something terrible happens, and the friendship of the girl down stairs will never be the same.  Through all this, will Ricky learns in time  his Haftorah in time for his bar mitzvah?

One thing Ricky loves and protects is his grandmother. She is hard of hearing. There is one part that is so funny. Two guys come to the apartment looking for Ricky's father, to pay up. The father is on the run. Ricky's grandmother, who's hearing is not so wonderful.  Mistakes some word, and offers them cookies. You have to read it to understand the humor.

Pearl and her husband don't care if they still owe money to Nathan. They are going to have a party of a life time.  As Jews, you don't care how bad in hock you get. You party first, and think about it later. Pearl, and the family get in deeper and deeper over their heads.

Pearl embezzles money out of Elizabeth Taylor's account. She will think about later how she will give it back.  Meanwhile, Ricky and he's grandmother are in the grocery store. She staged a accident in the grocery store. She breaks her hip.

If you want to read a something nostalgic, fun, and zany for a good laugh pick up Bookie's son.  I really enjoyed reading it. I did not know what to expect since most books I review are from big publishing houses. This one is not. That teaches me not to judge a book by it's cover.

Andrew has written a funny piece here,  enjoy.



Losing It


At a dinner party, not long ago, my friend posed the question to the five of us, all of us 60+ years, Do you think you’re losing it? Everyone except for me answered yes.  After all I had recently published my first novel, The Bookie’s Son. I wasn’t losing it.  Undermining my perception were three incidents over the past ten years that tell a different story.

  1. Ten years ago my wife was in Paris on business. I had never been there so we decided that I would join her for a long romantic weekend together. At our age, having been together for decades, anything even hinting of romance sounds appealing. I even packed the night before my flight, which I knew would impress her. As I pulled into the airport parking garage I said to myself, that’s funny, I don’t remember putting my suitcase in the trunk. Too late to drive back home, no longer allowed for a suitcase to travel by itself on a later plane, too expensive to ship, I flew to Paris without any clothes...except for what I was wearing. I tend to look on the bright side and told myself, it’s nice to travel light.



  1. Eight years ago I was sitting at my messy desk at work when the phone rang. I reached my hand to answer it but instead of lifting up the receiver I picked up my glasses. With one of the plastic covered metal arm tips by my ear and the other by my mouth, I said, “Hello” and the phone rang again. “Hello, hello.” Another ring. Now I’m getting annoyed, at the imbecile on the other end. It was around the fourth or fifth ring that I realized the identity of that imbecile and quietly slinked away from my desk.



  1. The phone incident happened only once so it didn’t scare me. As the years passed an  occasional age related memory lapse, like I’ll leave my glasses at work because I have something else in my pocket and my brain is tricked. No big deal (I’m not losing it.) In December, I was taking care of my nine month old grandson. My daughter likes to keep the heat low to save money and the environment. Fine, I bring extra clothes. She doesn’t want me to track germs into the house. Fine, I take off my shoes. The week before I left a pair of sneakers there. So this time when I was leaving I make sure I have everything. Extra clothes, sneakers, cell phone, keys, glasses, wallet. Proud of myself, I strut down the ten steps to the front door, turn around, wave my free hand at my grandson and shout in a baby voice, “Bye bye, bye bye”. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice my sneakers still on the floor upstairs. How could this be? What could I be carrying in my other hand that tricked my brain. Hint: There are two of them, approximately 3 inches long––my grandson’s sneakers.

   Of the five of us, I think I won the losing it the most contest. The closest contender was a woman who drove to her mailbox to pick up the mail but instead of opening her mailbox she walked around her car and popped the trunk.

Thank You TLC Book Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Here are the other stops for TLC Blog Tour:

Tuesday, September 4th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, September 5th:  A Patchwork of Books
Thursday, September 6th:  Man of La Book
Wednesday, September 12th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, September 13th:  The Perks of Being a JAP
Friday, September 14th:  House of the Seven Tails
Monday, September 17th:  Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 18th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, September 19th:  Unabridged Chick
Friday, September 21st:  Raging Bibliomania
Monday, September 24th:  Fiction Addict
Tuesday, September 25th:  WV Stitcher
Wednesday, September 26th:  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Thursday, September 27th:  Between the Covers
Friday, September 28th:  Mom in Love with Fiction



                                               

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This is the first time I am hosting the Jewish Book Carnival,  I am excited hosting for the first time.
Especially, since this is the eve of Rosh Hashanah. I would like to welcome y'all for visiting me at Bagels, Books, and Schmooze. 

 
The Jewish Holiday season starts tonight at sundown. This is the holiest season of the year for Jewish people. The holiday season starts during the month of Tishrei  

 During the holydays,  Teshuvah, literally means "return" and is the word used to describe the concept of repentance in Judaism. Only by atoning for our sins can we restore balance to our relationship with God and with our fellow human beings.  Jews are encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year

. Even though the theme of Rosh Hashanah,  is life and death, it is a holiday filled with hope for the New Year. Jews believe that God is compassionate and just, and that God will accept their prayers for forgiveness.

During this time, we greet each other with saying, La Shana Tova~ Good New Year, or La Shana Tova Tikvatevu~ May you be inscribed  and sealed for a good year.

These are some of the food traditions for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Eating pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, making a round challah with raisins, instead of the traditional challah.


I have a couple nice treats to share with you before I share the other posts.
I reviewed this month Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton, and Bookie's Son by Andrew Goldstein.


Rav Hisda's Daughter by Maggie Anton:



Before I share with you the links of fellow book bloggers. Here is some exciting news. To commemorate the Jewish holiday season, Maggie and her publisher are allowing me to give away two copies of Rav Hisda's Daughter book Giveaway. Thank you, Javier for supplying a couple copies.
To Enter, You must comment on the end of the post or contribute to the Jewish Book Carnival.   

Bookie's Son by Andrew Goldstein:

I received Bookie's Son from TLC Book Tours. This is the first time I am participating.

Bookie's Son, I am afraid I won't give it the justice it deserves.  This is a great story. While reading it I felt like it ran like a movie in my head. I liked that the chapters were short, and sweet. Each chapter had cute illustrations of the characters.

The story captivated me from the first. I loved the characters, even though they were a bit over the top. But, that is what made it fascinating, a dysfunctional family. I loved the setting, of the Bronx.  I have never lived in the Bronx, although I could picture it in my head.

When I was young, my parents would take me to my bubby( my great grandmother) house, in Boston, Mass.  The book reminded me of that place. I still remember the trolley passing and going through the streets. The antique furniture, the smells that resonated through the house during shabbat. People outside rather than inside.   I love the story when place is character.

Before Gameboy, and Atari, Play Station, etc. Kids did play outside, and congregated. Where they played stick ball, and sat out on the stoop to be outside. Where women kibitz, and gossip and talk about their families.

The story is  a coming of age story, and forgiveness, redemption, and the importance of family no matter how crazy they are. There is some sprinkling of Yiddish, and a lot of Yiddish humor.  I don't want to give it away. But, the book is timeless, and makes you think about the Jewish holydays coming.

Ricky grows up quickly, and literally. He sees what is going on around him with the family troubles, and what happens to his father. The timing is perfect with the bar mitzvah approaching, and the decisions Ricky has to make.

Bookie's Son  takes place in the 1960's in the Bronx.  Ricky about to become a bar mitzvah.  He's mother, Pearl works as a secretary to a talent agent.  He's father is a "cutter, and a gambler, and owes money to the loan shark.  He's grandmother who can hardly hear well takes care of Ricky.

Ricky's father owes money to Nathan, lots of money. Where is he going to come up with that kind of " dough"? Nathan and Pearl used to be a item many years ago. Nathan uses that against him. He tells him if you let me have one fling with your wife, I will forget about the money. What is he going to do?

Ricky has he's own problems he has a problem with a kid on the street, named Tony. He is always threating and harassing Ricky, until something terrible happens.  Ricky, meanwhile has a thing with his neighbor downstairs. One day something terrible happens, and their friendship will never be the same, for not standing up to Tony. Through all this, will Ricky learns his Haftorah in time for his bar mitzvah?

Pearl and her husband don't care if they still owe money to Nathan. They are going to have a party of a life time.  As Jews, you don't care how bad in hock you get. You party first, and think about it later. Pearl, and the family get in deeper and deeper over their heads.

Pearl embezzles money out of Elizabeth Taylor's account. She will think about later how she will give it back.  Meanwhile, Ricky and he's grandmother are in the grocery store. She staged a accident in the grocery store. She breaks her hip.

If you want to read a something nostalgic, fun, and zany for a good laugh pick up Bookie's son.

Now on with the Jewish Book Carnival:

 Over on My Machberet, Erika Dreifus dips into the children's-book market and tells us about Zayde Comes to Live, by Sheri Sinykin.

Kathe, at  Life is like a  Library, wrote a review thinking this was not Jewish content, but dig a bit deeper and you will find Jewish thought.

A  audio interview at Book of Life with author Betsy Rosenthal about her novel Looking For Me in this Great Big Family.

 The Whole Megillah | has a nice interview with Northampton, Mass. Poet Laureate and award-winning children's book author, Rich Michelson.

Lori, from Jewicious authored, The Way into Judiasm Into The Envoirment.

My favorite Jewish book source, the Prosen People. Submitted their post for the high holidays at Jewish Book Council.

Jonathan, sent his story, it is in the Jewish Journal, Danny Danon's Israel: The Will To Survive.

Barbara, shared her interview  Lesley Simpson, she authored a children's story book about the Simcha Bat( The baby naming ritual), called Song For My Sister.

To add to this marvelous collection of book bloggers, Needle in the Haystack contributed her post for the blog.  Her post is about antique Judaica collection of books, she submitted a bit late, but I thought it was a great post to add to the Jewish Book Carnival.

The author, Andrew Goldstein doesn't have a book blog, instead he asked me to post this for him.

Losing It


At a dinner party, not long ago, my friend posed the question to the five of us, all of us 60+ years, Do you think you’re losing it? Everyone except for me answered yes.  After all I had recently published my first novel, The Bookie’s Son. I wasn’t losing it.  Undermining my perception were three incidents over the past ten years that tell a different story.

  1. Ten years ago my wife was in Paris on business. I had never been there so we decided that I would join her for a long romantic weekend together. At our age, having been together for decades, anything even hinting of romance sounds appealing. I even packed the night before my flight, which I knew would impress her. As I pulled into the airport parking garage I said to myself, that’s funny, I don’t remember putting my suitcase in the trunk. Too late to drive back home, no longer allowed for a suitcase to travel by itself on a later plane, too expensive to ship, I flew to Paris without any clothes...except for what I was wearing. I tend to look on the bright side and told myself, it’s nice to travel light.


  1. Eight years ago I was sitting at my messy desk at work when the phone rang. I reached my hand to answer it but instead of lifting up the receiver I picked up my glasses. With one of the plastic covered metal arm tips by my ear and the other by my mouth, I said, “Hello” and the phone rang again. “Hello, hello.” Another ring. Now I’m getting annoyed, at the imbecile on the other end. It was around the fourth or fifth ring that I realized the identity of that imbecile and quietly slinked away from my desk.


  1. The phone incident happened only once so it didn’t scare me. As the years passed an  occasional age related memory lapse, like I’ll leave my glasses at work because I have something else in my pocket and my brain is tricked. No big deal (I’m not losing it.) In December, I was taking care of my nine month old grandson. My daughter likes to keep the heat low to save money and the environment. Fine, I bring extra clothes. She doesn’t want me to track germs into the house. Fine, I take off my shoes. The week before I left a pair of sneakers there. So this time when I was leaving I make sure I have everything. Extra clothes, sneakers, cell phone, keys, glasses, wallet. Proud of myself, I strut down the ten steps to the front door, turn around, wave my free hand at my grandson and shout in a baby voice, “Bye bye, bye bye”. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice my sneakers still on the floor upstairs. How could this be? What could I be carrying in my other hand that tricked my brain. Hint: There are two of them, approximately 3 inches long––my grandson’s sneakers.

   Of the five of us, I think I won the losing it the most contest. The closest contender was a woman who drove to her mailbox to pick up the mail but instead of opening her mailbox she walked around her car and popped the trunk.

Everyone have a happy, healthy and sweet new year for 5773.
La Shana Tova,



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book Review




Rav Hisda's Daughter
By Maggie Anton


I became interested in knowing about Jewish sorcery, and magic, after reading about it in the novel by Alice Hoffman, Dovekeepers. I was always under the impression that Jews, did not believe in sorcery, and magic. It was a eye opener to find it that this is not the case.  I always believed us, Jews believed in prayer, not magic.

We will be having a Jewish Grand Strand Community Read. We will be doing Rav Hisda's Daughter. Luckily it is already in paperback. That is why, and how I contacted Maggie in the first place.

  Maggie Anton is the historical fiction author of Rashi's Daughter. She has done it again with, Rav Hisda's Daughter.  You can read a article at the Jewish Forward reviewing her novel and the background information of Rav Hisda's Daughter, becomes a Enchantress and learns the craft of becoming involved with sorcery, and amulet's such as incantation bowls.

 If you don't know much about the history during this time, and Babylonia and Palestine do your own google research while reading the introduction.  You can also go on Maggie Anton's website there are resources to help you, and enrich the novel as well.  I found Jewishvirtuallibrary.com a good place to find all the info.

Maggie, has supplied us with a map, glossaries, and names of people that was helpful while reading.

It was interesting to find out about the politics of the Jewish temple, before it was destroyed the second time.  The three groups, Pharisee, Sadducees, and Essenes. What happened to Jewish practice after the temple was destroyed, after the second time.  The culture and traditions of the Jews in Babylonia( which is Iraq, and Iran now), and Palestine are different. Just like Sephardic, and Ashkenazi are different.

 To learn about the Persian culture, their strictness toward women was more severe than Jewish tradition.  When they menstruated, they stayed in a windowless hut, without any contact with anyone. In a observant Jewish home, you could not touch your husband but you would still be in the same room with him( Jews were smart, they need the women to cook and clean~don't think Persian society was thinking about that-LOL!)

I liked how the author blended, and weaved the traditions and Jewish cultures in the story without feeling like you are being lectured.  There is so many fascinated thing that I learned by reading Rav Hisda's Daughter.  About inheritance, Does the daughter inherit, what happens if no one is left, does the daughter inherit. Good question. You will have to read to find out.

The part I liked was, Hisdadukh, traveled with her father to Palestine. Weaving the story with the lives of people in Palestine, customs, and traditions. To learn about the art of the mosaics, and weaved the story in was interesting.  The author used her own imagination, and skill being a Talmud scholar. This helped weave the story. It did not sound ridiculous, it blended well.

What I had a hard time, and could not understand. If you become a widow, even your small child goes back to your husband's family. You didn't  raise him. I had a hard time grasping this one.

The most fascinating was, I had no idea there was " Incantation Bowls". These bowls, were written in Hebrew, to keep the evil eye away. Once the bowls were made you buried them in the corner of your house. the bowls had to be upside down to capture the demons.   You can read about this on her website. It is fascinating.

 I just can't believe Jews, did even Rabbi's believed in magic. What a eye opener.

Amulet's around your neck with the hamsa, and the evil eye. Never realized how that was started. Think about the Jewish Traveler's Prayer, or anything around your neck. It made me think about it.

Synopsis:

After the destruction of the Jewish temple, new traditions and culture's of the Jewish people are learned, and taught by the sages. Rome is taking over, Christianity is born.

Rav Hisda's Daughter's name is Hisdadukh she attends her father's Yeshiva classes with the other boys. Which in Jewish tradition is not heard of.  She is asked, still a young child she is asked to pick one of the Rabbi's students to become her husband.  Instead she picked both boys, Rami and Abba.  Abba says he wants to be last. It is like destiny, or mystic  how that happens as you read into the book.

As she matures and becomes older, she learns about Jewish magic, the occult, and making, and  blessing the incantation bowls.  To become a professional scribe you must make them three times. Once you do that, you are titled a "Enchantress".

Once she passes her Bat Mitzvah, she is matched with Rami. She is madly in love with him. They marry, and have children. But, his mother casts a evil eye on the family. The rest you will have to read yourself.

If you are interested in this time period as much as I. To know how synagogue practices started after the destruction of the temple. Why woman, are separated from the men. What about Magic, and the cultures, and traditions, and the romance, and historical fiction. If you like to read about this, then I recommend Rav Hisda's Daughter.

I reviewed Rav Hisda's Daughter in commemoration of the high holydays. I thought it would be perfect for the review, and the Jewish Book Carnival that I am hosting. I will be doing a book giveaway during that time. A big thank you goes to Javier Perez, Maggie Anton's book publicist for supplying a couple copies of Rav Hisda's Daughter for the Jewish Book Carnival and for donating a few copies for our Hadassah event in October.

If you are, or live in the Myrtle Beach area and are interested in coming to the Hadassah Sipping to the Ocean, a membership tea, please contact me. I will contact you to the person to get in touch with.