When someone hears the words “moral fiction,” or “moral art,” a person might wonder how to define morality. According to John Gardner, “moral” does not equal “not too blatantly immoral.” It can’t be simple, and it can’t be forced upon artists. Continue reading
A while back, Erika Dreifus had recommended John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction, a slim volume dedicated to writing and literary criticism from the POV that an artist has a moral responsibility to their audience, and that art criticism should in part address how well the creator of a work of art has met that responsibility. The book dates from 1978, and it’s amazing how well it (thus far in my reading) stands up over time.
I’m only about three chapters in, and what strikes me most Continue reading
My sister attended Conservative rabbinical school here in L.A. back when I was a California greenhorn, still getting confused because the ocean was to the west instead of east, that people called flip-flops slippers and jimmies, sprinkles. At the time, I was exploring Orthodoxy, but shared many of my sister’s friends from the UJ (now American Jewish University) and her Conservative synagogue. Despite my move to Orthodoxy, I remain friendly with many of her friends and colleagues.
Recently, one of my sister’s classmates came out with a book. Naturally, I was excited, so I checked read the synopsis on Amazon.
Within 30 seconds, I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t read the book. Continue reading
A while back, someone my husband respects very much encouraged him to read this book:
The first time I read Rabbi Shafier’s book, Stop Surviving, Start Living, I just didn’t get it. Not the content of the book — the content was clear as day, written lucidly by Rabbi Shafier, with nice anecdotes and everything. What I didn’t get was that it was based on a book my husband had already read. This one: Mesillas Yesharim, known in English as The Path of the Just, one of the most foundational texts in the Mussar world.
Why, I asked my husband, write a book based on another one, a book that you actually want people to read (because you’re such a fan yourself)? Continue reading