Hanukkah Lights: Stories of the Season from NPR’s Annual Holiday Special
I was raised Lutheran in Omaha, NE but I seem to have a particular fondness for the writings of Jewish authors. A few weeks ago, my husband asked me what the attraction is. The thing that I formulated is that Jewish authors seem to bring a certain weight to their tales. It may sound cheesy, but it’s as though Judaism has grounded them with history that is inescapable. Even if you leave the religion out of it, I have the feeling that storytelling is more a part of Jewish culture than Christian culture. All the details of all those tales end up woven into new stories. That’s my take, anyway.
I started this year reading People of the Book; it seems appropriate that one of the last that I’ll probably finish this year is an anthology of Hanukkah stories. I know about Hanukkah in the same manner that I know Norse myths: Not having been exposed to it as a kid, it’s in the back of my brain, details jumbled, until I look them up again. I picked up this anthology due to the inclusion of two of my favorite authors, Harlan Ellison and Peter S. Beagle. In fact, I think I had read the Ellison story before and it was my previous baseline for Hanukkah facts. This book gave me a better understanding of the holiday without being particularly didactic. There wasn’t a weak piece in the volume and, despite my favorite authors, I think my favorite story was Max Apple’s “Stabbing the Elephant.” Stories and people can be flexible, and need to be sometimes. It’s a good thing to remember during a season that should be marked with caring and merriment.
This book also left me with a craving for potato pancakes. You have been warned.
Bookmark: Note from the sender. Didn’t much need it since I read it in a morning.