I’m reading three splendid books, all which I highly recommend.
If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir, by Ilana Kurshan. Twenty-seven years old, divorced, living alone in Jerusalem, Ilana Kurshan impulsively joined the world’s largest book club: the Daf Yomi, Hebrew for Daily Page of the Talmud, the Oral Torah, compiled over 500 years, and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. It takes seven and a half years to complete one cycle of Daf Yomi. Ms. Kurshan infuses Jewish learning with all the passionate romance she brings to her love of literature. At the end of the Daf Yomi cycle Ms. Kurshan is remarried and the mother of three children. Every other book out there claims to be inspirational. This is one of those rare books that actually is.
Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel, by Allan R. Ellenberger. Smart, glamorous and ambitious, Miriam Hopkins burst onto the Hollywood scene in her role as the slatternly leg-swinging Ivy in the precode Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). She should have had a brilliant career. Watch her bravura performance in Design for Living (1933). But Hopkins was one of the most difficult stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Her rivalry with Bette Davis was epic. This is the first comprehensive biography of Hopkins, and a valuable insight into a supremely talented but temperamental actress.
The Outcasts of Time, by Ian Mortimer. I won an Emmy Award for The Devil’s Arithmetic, a Holocaust time travel story. I’ve also written a unproduced screenplay that takes place during the 14th century. This book speaks directly to my twin fascinations: the medieval mind, and the paradoxes of time travel. The book begins in December 1348. With England in the grip of the Black Death brothers John and William believe that they will soon die and suffer in the afterlife. But as the end draws near, the brothers find themselves in a time warp. They try desperately to save their souls, and their understanding of reality as they travel forward through time. A luminous work of fiction that tries to make sense of the almost impenetrable medieval consciousness.