Monday, January 17, 2011

Holiday Tales of Sholom Aleichem: Stories of Chanuka, Passover, & Other Jewish Holidays

Translated by: Aliza Shevrin

First line: There are people who have never learned anything but who can do everything, who have never been anywhere but who know everything, who have never given a thought to anything yet understand everything.

Why you should read this book: Although best known for his character Tevye the Milkman, popularized in Fiddle on the Roof, Sholom Aleichem's genius brings to life a wide range of characters, rich and poor, scholarly and uneducated, pious and mischievous. In this collection of seven short stories, a variety of young boys describe the atmosphere surrounding their families' celebration of different Jewish holidays with nostalgia, whimsy, and ironic regard. Painting his pictures of the long-gone shtetl world, the author demonstrates a pure grasp of storytelling that shines through even in translation.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You take religion very seriously.

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