Successful Women of Israel

stories featuring Israel's successful women

Category: Reading

The Books of My Life – 2015

“If you haven’t done the reading, why expect to be treated as a professional?” – Seth Godin

I read a ton. By a ton, I mean that I’m usually reading 6 or 7 books at a time. It doesn’t mean that I’m reading fast enough. I’m not. I would like to get through two books a month. But I’m not there. Yet.

You probably ask yourself the same question I ask myself – what books should I read?

I have a couple of lists for the fiction I’m reading. I pulled them off the internet because I’m bent on reading the classics. Somehow I feel that I’ll never be a real writer if I don’t read the classics. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it will most likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

read more

On Tolerance and My Hero Nicole Krauss

The fourth International Writers Festival took place here, in Jerusalem, last week (May 18-23, 2014).
One of the sessions I attended was a conversation between Nicole Krauss and AB Yehoshua. I thought and hoped it would be a literary conversation, where the authors discuss their books with each other and share insights. I was worried. I had not yet read a word by AB Yehoshua.
AB Yehoshua immediately jumped into the water, answering the question the mediator had posed to him. The mediator (Shmuel Rosner) juxtaposed Yehoshua’s characters with those of Krauss’s. The former’s characters are Israeli, but have the need to hop abroad for a short visit. While Krauss’s characters live abroad but are influenced by Judaism and/or Israel.
Yehoshua spoke about a Judaism that requires a Jew to take a break from the Holy Land – to gain perspective and temporarily be relieved from the difficulties of this country. (I may be overstating this and perhaps he didn’t say it this way, but this is what I took away.) He expounded his belief that everything is political, that actions are more important than words and that being a Jew means acting morally towards Arabs, even at checkposts.
The gracious Nicole Krauss did not engage in conversation until she shared with Yehoshua and the audience how privileged she felt to be sharing a stage and a conversation with him.
The mediator (Shmuel Rosner) then juxtaposed Krauss’s “portable Judaism” as one critic coined it, with Yehoshua’s emphatic belief that the wholeness of the Jew is incumbent on their living in their land; said another way – if you don’t live in Israel you’re not a real Jew.
Krauss conceded that Israelis were very fortunate to be living on soil that belongs to them, speaking a language that belongs to them, but felt that she too was given a gift. Her gift being the English language, which she could play with to share her ideas, stories and thoughts. She felt that the gift of the English language gave her a massive platform in terms of the number of people she could reach with her writing and shared her belief that had she been born in Israel, she probably would not have become a writer.
At that point the level of the conversation plummeted.
It became apparent that Yehoshua had never read anything Krauss wrote. It also became apparent to me, that I no longer cared to read anything by Yehoshua.
A man who began his talk with the importance of actions went on to act so ungraciously. Perhaps he started out that way by not even bothering to read even one of Krauss’s books. It was ironic to me that though he spoke about the importance of actions and treating others with respect, he couldn’t display a minimal amount of respect to the author and human being with which he was sharing the stage.
I left the festival that evening with a tremendous amount of respect for Nicole Krauss. Never once did she raise her voice. She was calm and composed throughout, no doubt because she is so much smarter than the two men that sat at the table with her.

read more

The Best Fiction – 2013

As the end of 2013 nears I feel it’s a good time to look back up on my year and share the bests. So I’m planning, if all goes well, the next four weeks to share what 2013 has blessed me with.

This week, I’ll share my best in books. Fiction only.

I’ve got five superstars for you. All are classics – because sometimes it’s important to stick with what’s old and known.

I didn’t know these books were great when I started them. I don’t think all classics are. But to my mind, these were the best of the best on my reading list this past year and if you haven’t read them yet, well, you should.

read more

Read Books. Know.

Our digital world is changing the way we read and the way we learn.
Until before the age of the internet and the e-book, we learned much of what we know from books. But things have changed. And I fear that in the age of the super-information-highway and our need to find the quickest way to get things done, we may not be allowing ourselves enough time to process information and properly gain knowledge.

I say this in light of an article in the New York Times. It mentions an ambitious start-up called Citia. Citia’s goal is to turn a nonfiction book into smaller chunks of information, perhaps believing these to be more easily digestible in terms of time. And they may be right, if our goal is in fact to save time.

read more