What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
JMRL's Same Page is a community reading program to promote and discuss one book throughout March 2018 by an author featured at the [Virginia Festival of the Book http://www.vabook.org/]. JMRL invites all book lovers in Central Virginia to join this reading initiative. Read and discuss What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander and participate in programs about the book, its themes, and its author. The author will be at JMRL's Northside Library on March 22nd at 6pm, and this event will be free and open to the public.
We've selected a list of books, movies, and music in the JMRL collection that will inspire further exploration and enhance your reading. Find more resources and discussion questions for this book in . Find information on programs, contests and more by visiting JMRL's Same Page.
About the Author
Nathan Englander is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter. His most recent book is the novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth. In addition to this year's Same Page selection, he is the author of the internationally bestselling story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and the novel The Ministry of Special Cases. He was the 2012 recipient of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for What We Talk About. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Washington Post, as well as The O. Henry Prize Stories and numerous editions of The Best American Short Stories, including 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. Translated into 20 languages, Englander was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He’s been a fellow at the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and at The American Academy of Berlin. In 2012, along with the publication of his new collection, Englander's play The Twenty-Seventh Man premiered at The Public Theater, and his translation New American Haggadah (edited by Jonathan Safran Foer) was published by Little Brown. He also co-translated Etgar Keret's Suddenly A Knock on the Door, published by FSG.
Read Englander's biography on his webpage.
Read an article by the author "What Jewish Children Learned from Charlottesville" from the NY Times
Read NPR's interview with Nathan Englander about his new novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth.
Works by Nathan Englander
Related Reading - Fiction
This list of adult fiction related reading includes short story masters, and themes of Jewish-American, Israel and trusting neighbors.
- F Carver, Raymond
- What We Talk about when We Talk about Love: Stories by Raymond Carver
- Short stories that feature a pantheon of losers, peripheral people, and men and women without education, insight, or prospects who, ironically, are too unimaginative to ever give up.
- Grossman, David
- McBride, James
- Eugenides, Jeffrey
- Yoon, Paul
- Singer, Isaac Bashevis
- Modan, Rutu
- Horn, Dara
- A Mother in Roman Jerusalem makes a spiritual bargain to save her dying infant's life- She then lives for 2,000 years. Includes "historical detail (of Jewish history) and down to earth humor" and "thoughtful meditation on the meaning of life."
- Nevo, Eshkol
- Reviewed in NYT, indicates many similar themes (parenthood neighbors, humor & cutting commentary together), in a modern Israeli context.
- Namdar, Ruby
- Andrew P. Cohen, a successful NYU professor of comparative culture, is suddenly plagued with strange and inexplicable visions of an ancient religious ritual. As his superficially perfect world begins to unravel, he is forced to question his beliefs. Interspersed throughout the novel are pages from an ancient (pseudo) Talmudic text, harking back to the golden age of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hidden in this frenzied, semi-opaque other narrative lies the mysterious key to understanding the drama of Andrew's life.
Related Reading - Nonfiction
- 92 Angelou, Maya
- MOM & ME & MOM
- This focus on the larger-than-life mother of Maya Angelou, and the relationship they shared, highlights the complicated relationship between mother and daughter.
- 92 Frank, Anne
- Winner, Lauren F.
- GN92 Kurzweil, Amy
- GN956.94 Glidden, Sarah
- 92 Feldman, Deborah
- 92 Feldman, Deborah
- GN956.94 Sacco, Joe
- Waldman, Ayelet and Chabon, Michael
- Manhattan, JCC
- The Community Table: Recipes and Stories from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and Beyond by JCC Manhattan
- Ottolenghi, Yotam
- Nathan, Joan
- Finkel, Evgeny
- 92 Mirvis, Tova
- Dauber, Jeremy
- Corporon, Yvette Manessis
- Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil by Yvette Manessis Corporon
- Gruen, Judy
- The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in Love with Faith by Judy Gruen (counterposes with memoirs like Deborah Feldman's "Unorthodox")
- Petrowskaja, Katja
- (1/2018) A woman traces family members in eastern Europe, meditations on how history affects a family, how to tell stories when you don't know what happened; family members went underground or were killed by Nazis.
- Ripp, Victor
- In addition to Holocaust remembrance, this one is interesting because it talks about how public memorials/monuments can be made political- relation to local statue talks? (12/2017)
- Murad, Nadia
- The NYTBR headlines their review of this "replaying the Holocaust in the Middle East" -it tells the story of a woman escaping capture by IS agents in Iraq with the help of a Sunni man, whose life and family then become targets- plays directly into the question of how far someone will go to help hide/rescue someone else- seems like it would make for very good, timely discussion
- Rees, Laurence
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner
- Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil
- How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden
- Memoirs by Deborah Feldman: Unorthodox and Exodus
- Footnotes in Gaza - Sacco
- Kingdom of olives and ash : writers confront the occupation
- The community table : recipes and stories from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and beyond / JCC Manhattan
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi
- King Solomon's table : a culinary exploration of Jewish cooking from around the world / Joan Nathan
- Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust - Evgeny Finkel
- The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis
- Jewish Comedy: A Serious History
- Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil, by Yvette Manessis Corporon
- The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in Love With Faith, by Judy Gruen (counterposes with memoirs like Deborah Feldman’s “Unorthodox”)
- Maybe Esther / Katja Petrowskaja - (o/o 1/2018) - woman traces family members in eastern Europe, meditations on how history affects a family, how to tell stories when you don’t know what happened; family members went underground or were killed by Nazis.
- Hell's Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-five Holocaust Memorials, by Victor Ripp - in addition to Holocaust remembrance, this one is interesting b/c it talks about how public memorials/monuments can be made political - relation to local statue talks? (o/o 12/2017)
- The Last Girl, by Nadia Murad - the NYTBR headlines their review of this “replaying the Holocaust in the Middle East” - it tells the story of a woman escaping capture by IS agents in Iraq with the help of a Sunni man, whose life and family then become targets - plays directly into the question of how far someone will go to help hide/rescue someone else - seems like it would make for very good, timely discussion
- The Holocaust: a New History, by Laurence Rees (shortlisted for the JQ Wingate Prize)
Movies and Music
Movies and music with themes of Contemporary Israel, Jewish Americans, anti-semitism, trusting neighbors, Holocaust, bullies, family stories, self-defense/bullies.
- Putumayo A Jewish Celebration
- Jewish Music of the Dance
- Big Fish - family stories; main character is trying to get to the truth
- Everything is Illuminated
- Zookeeper’s Wife
- Everything Must Go - based on a different Raymond Carver story than the title story pays homage to, but potentially similar in feel and theme?
- Schindler’s List
- Miracle at Midnight* - Danes (Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow) help Jewish neighbors escape Nazis.
- Anne Frank* - 2001 biopic with Ben Kingsley, 240 min utes
- Karate Kid - kid learns self-defense to fight a bully
- The Wedding Plan
- Lemon Tree
- The Other Son
- Sarah’s Key
- Birdman (the main character is starring in a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.")
- The Band’s Visit - Film Movement
- Campfire - Film Movement - “A beautiful little story about growing up, finding love and letting go of past losses, effortlessly and almost invisibly entwined within the context of Israeli settlements and youth group movements.”
Books for Teens
TEEN READ SELECTION: [insert various teen titles here]
- YA Arnold, David
- When she learns that her mother is sick in Ohio, Mim confronts her demons on a thousand-mile odyssey from Mississippi that redefines her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane
- Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
- The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
- Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
- Enemy Territory by Sharon McKay
- Tasting the Sky and Balcony on the Moon, two memoirs by Ibtisam Barakat
- War in the Middle East : a reporter's story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War, by Wilborn Hampton
Books for Youth
CHILDREN'S SELECTION: [Insert children's titles here]
- JP 306.85 Hoffman, Mary
- THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF KINDNESS
- This treasury of stories features diverse families and how they live together.
- Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank
- Oscar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon (Picture Book)
- The Safest Lie by Angela Cerrito
- The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren (Picture Book)
- Brundibar by Tony Kushner
- Hidden by Loic Dauvillier (Graphic Novel)
- Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch (Graphic Novel)
- Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh
- The Goat by Anne Fleming
- Benno and the Night of Broken Glass by Meg Wiviott
- Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam by Fawzia Gilani-Williams
- The Grand Mosque of Paris: a Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle