Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Post Shavuot catch-up

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Well, I didn’t finish the dress I’m making DD, so she wore some existing clothes for Shavuot (and was proclaimed very cute when we went out for lunch today). I finally just now got around to adding five books to the reading list from the past few weeks, only the last of which was actually finished today. I’m looking forward to talking about some of them here, at least, and will try to do at least one review tomorrow.


Worth waiting for

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this one for a very long time, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint.

Cover of The Ruby Spy Ring71. The Ruby Spy Ring by Libi Astaire

We’re several months after the events of The Disappearing Dowry, and our narrator Rebecca Lyon’s elder sister Hannah is happily married and thus out of the parental home, leaving Rebecca with the burden of trying to be a role model for the younger siblings, while missing Harriet Franks, her best friend, whose family have moved from the vicinity of the Great Synagogue to the more expensive and fashionable Mayfair. Seeing the growing stress levels among his children, and Rebecca in particular, Mr Lyon suggests she goes to visit Harriet for a fortnight to lift her spirits. On the first night of the visit the Franks family take her with them to an exhibition, which is the start of some unfortunate events for the family, requiring the investigative talents of Mr Ezra Melamed, with Rebecca as an interested observer and would-be participant.

The history and culture seems accurate, with the narrative voice strong and plausible, and the characters distinct and consistent with the previous book. The Jewish references are clearly but largely unobtrusively explained, so I’d recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction (especially of Regency England), or mysteries, or tales of Jewish communities. As a pocket-size paperback it’s cheaper than most of the Jewish novels, but is very nicely produced nonetheless. Highly recommended. I hope there are more to come!

Birth Books

Friday, 7 January 2011

NaBloPoMo Jan2011These two books, both written from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, decidedly encourage going for as natural a birth as possible under the individual circumstances. Which was great for me as it’s precisely what I wanted. Not precisely what I got, for a variety of reasons I don’t really want to go into, but I will just say that without the reading I did and especially the support of my husband and doula, the event would have diverted even further from the path I wanted. I highly recommend as much loving and informed support as can be managed, going through a birth!

Cover of A Labor of Love
43. A Labor of Love by Rachel Broncher

My copy of this book came with a CD containing spoken guidance for a variant of the relaxation recommended in the book. I only used the CD a couple of times in the end, but it was a whole lot easier than trying to follow from written text, and a great complement to the book.

The book has a good mix of anatomical/biological information, advice and guidance on getting the birth you want, explanations of what can happen when under different circumstances, and short personal stories displaying how different every birth is (even for the same mother). While mostly written for the mother, there is a chapter specifically for the father (actually, all the pregnancy and birth books I’m discussing had one of those) as well as discussions of other possible birth attendants, either family or friends, or trained doulas. A good book.

Cover of A Jewish Woman's Guide to Childbirth44. A Jewish Woman’s Guide to Childbirth by Aviva Rappaport

I’m not sure why, but I think this may have been my favourite of the related books that I had, although as above I’m glad I had all of them, and presuming there’s a next time will likely reread them all and probably some new ones. I suppose the tone of it just spoke best to me personally. I think this was the last one I started, so I was probably already best informed when I did, meaning I could pick and choose from the suggestions given. This one also has personal stories, and to be honest, since I read these two books pretty close together, and their perspectives are very complementary, I’m not sure I really distinguish their content precisely in my head, so am going on impressions here. Highly recommended nonetheless.

Nearly Shabbat now and my baby wants attention, so I think both authors would forgive my wrapping it up here!