New books for a bookish people.

The Flame Alphabet
By Ben Marcus
In Ben Marcus's latest novel, due out in January, the United States is overrun with a strange virus. At first, it seems exclusive to the Jewish community. But soon, it's effecting everyone.
Painting an odd, sometimes screwball portrait of a society—and a family—destroyed by its confrontation with this strange new disease, Marcus uses his book's strange narrative to reflect on human trust, love, spite, and forgiveness.

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Not in the Heavens:
The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought

By David Biale

Bento's Sketchbook
by John Berger
Making its American debut this fall, Booker Prize-winning writer, artist, and activist John Berger's most recent book is a remarkably unorthodox work of non-fiction. Titled Bento's Sketchbook, at its crux is a pseudo-dialogue between Berger and the long-dead 17th century Dutch-Jewish philosopher Baruch “Bento” Spinoza. The book is full of oddities—presented as a melange of meditations on art, community, and compassion.
But why Spinoza? And why a sketchbook? It's unclear. What's more certain is the beauty of Berger's style, and the profundity of his thought.


The Joy of Secularism:
11 Essays for How We Live Now

Edited by George Levine

The Origins of Jewish Secularization in Eighteenth-Century Europe

By Shmuel Feiner

Identity Papers: Contemporary Narratives
of American Jewishness
By Helene Meyers
In Identity Papers, Professor Helene Meyers revisits commonly held assumptions about Jewish identity and Jewish difference in literature, arguing that the Jewish American literary scene is far less "provincial" than many have supposed. Instead of making Jewish American literature marginal, Meyers suggests that thematizing the Jewish experience in America—whether religious, secular, or cultural—actually imbues the field with "vitality and significance."

secular_faith.jpgSecular Faith

Edited by Vincent W. Lloyd
and Elliot Ratzman

By Yedidya Itzhaki

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