As a copy editor working in the trade fiction and genre fiction industry, I have an opportunity to do a lot of reading. As an English major in university -- all those years ago -- I had an opportunity to do a lot of reading. And unfortunately, due to both the school and work reading, I don't have the "cheshek" to do much reading after hours. Of course I love children's books and always will -- it's a pleasure for me to read to my three children and put on animated voices or act out scenes that I read. But in terms of reading books for my own pleasure, that's a rarity.
And for that reason, I'm more than thrilled that I can recommend two excellent reads that caught me and held me captive. They are each rather different from one another, but in the end they're both about the same idea: the human experience and the interaction with others to form that personal experience.
The first book is called The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden. It is categorized as young adult historical fiction, but the story is appealing to anyone from age nine to however high you can count. It was written by Robert J. Avrech, an award-winning Orthodox Jewish Hollywood screenwriter -- he co-wrote Body Double with Brian de Palma, and was the screenwriter for A Stranger Among Us. More recently, he won an Emmy Award for his adaptation of the YA novel The Devil's Arithmetic by author Jane Yolen.
The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden is the first release from Seraphic Press, a publishing house started by Robert and his wife, Karen, in memory of their twenty-two-year-old son, Ariel, z"l, who passed away in July 2003 as a result of a long bout with cancer. The publishing house is committed to publishing quality fiction for Torah-observant young people.
I'd love to go into details about the book, but I'd rather you check out Robert's site www.seraphicpress.com or refer to www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. Just believe me when I say it is a worthy read, and Robert Avrech is a lovely human being -- a true mensch who has undertaken a very valid, time-consuming and life-altering project to help honor the memory of his son. Ariel lives on in the character of the Hebrew Kid. And his spirit lives on in every new literary project that Robert and Karen are planning for Seraphic Press.
Another book that I've had the good fortune of reading and enjoying immensely is called Walking Home, by Gloria Goldreich, and published by MIRA Books, January 2005. Again, I refer you to www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com for story details. But in short, the book is about a young single Jewish woman who reaches a crossroads in her life regarding her job, her family situation, her social life. She has to make some decisions that will change the course of her life, and becoming a dog walker helps her to see things more clearly. It is a very moving story and some readers might recognize pieces of themselves and their friends and family in among the pages. It gets gold stars by me!
I hope that you will take my recommendations and seek out these titles.
After all, quality books by quality writers deserve quality readers as yourselves!