Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When is Junk Mail not Junk Mail?

Today, as I sifted through the lame pile of trash that is my daily mail, I came across what appeared to be a grocery flyer.  But then I noticed that Bernard Malamud's picture was on the flyer, and surely Ralph's isn't hip to the man who wrote about a miserable, guilt-ridden grocery clerk in The Assistant.  

It was actually a freebie tease from a web site called Nextbook.org. I'm sorry to say that I've been completely in the dark about Nextbook. To me, it sounds like some horrible job search site, or a new social networking dealio, God forbid. What Nextbook is, in fact, is a web site devoted to Jewish culture.  This insert is supposed to whet folk's appetite for the site, and reader, it did mine. 

I just came back from my afternoon constitutional having read every single article.  There was a loving essay from the New York Times' Rachel Donadio about Malamud,  an interview with British novelist Howard Jacobson (again, I know nothing about him) that was so compelling I've placed his books on my Amazon wish list.  A story about a wildly popular Israeli war novel called If Heaven Exists, and an appreciation of Yiddish poet Mani Leib. Oh, and Sara Peretsky's a Jew. Who knew? 

I didn't know about any of it except Malamud, and it was all fascinating.  Natch, I tapped into the Nextbook site and bookmarked it.  If the site is as good as that reader, well, then I'm glad I looked at my mail today.  

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