Category Archives: Books

A Beautiful Mind in Marin County

Tweet The other day, a friend from shul told me that he feels like giving up. “Reading your blog post about the countless gender choices on Facebook,” said my friend, “made me realize that my grandchildren won’t be shocked at this craziness. To them, it will be normal. And that is sick. It feels like […]

Also posted in America, Book Reviews | Tagged , , , | 9 Responses

Barbara Stanwyck’s Secrets

Tweet The new Barbara Stanwyck biography, A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True, 1907 – 1940 by Victoria Wilson, is, with appendix, footnotes, index and acknowledgements, over 1,000 pages long. And it is just volume one. This first, full scale bio of Barbara Stanwyck is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) study of Hollywood’s greatest actress. […]

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Ava Gardner Does Not Grow Old

Tweet In 1988, only two years before her death, Ava Gardner, living in semi-seclusion in London, unable to get work, and running dangerously low on funds, asked the late British author Peter Evans to ghostwrite her autobiography. Deadpanned Gardner: “I either write the book or sell the jewels, and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” […]

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“Like Dreamers” Yossi Klein Halevi’s Masterful Book About The Soul of Modern Israel

Tweet   There was a time when Seraphic Secret was afraid of Yossi Klein Halevi. Flashback: High School. The mid-sixties. Brooklyn Talmudical Academy. Seraphic Secret was a less than enthusiastic student who was forever cutting classes in order to go to the movies and acquire the education I really wanted. Yossi Klein Halevi was one […]

Also posted in Book Reviews, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Jerusalem | Tagged , , , | 9 Responses

In The Courtyard of the Kabbalist

Tweet All great movies are, at the core, love stories. And it follows that all great novels are also love stories. And it is for this reason that novels written by Orthodox Jews about Orthodox Jews have been noticeably absent even with the astonishing modern rise of Orthodoxy in North America and Israel. How is […]

Also posted in Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Responses

The Centurions: The Prophetic Vision of Jean Lartéguy

Tweet In 1960, The Centurions, a French novel of Indo-China (Vietnam) and the Algerian insurgency, by Jean Lartéguy (b. Jean Pierre Lucien Osty), a highly decorated soldier and journalist, was a blockbuster in France. The book, a brilliant portrait of those who fight a nation’s dirty little wars, and the craven political class who command them, men […]

Also posted in Islam, Islamic Terror | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Responses

Putting the Cool In Coolidge

Tweet Yesterday, Congress passed a bill which will: 1. Increase taxes on everyone. 2. Increase the national debt. 3. Increase the size of government. The politicians are slapping themselves on the back, boasting that they have avoided the so-called fiscal cliff. But what they have really done is place America on the road to serfdom. […]

Also posted in Barack Hussein Obama, Calvin Coolidge, China, Economy | Tagged , , , , | 24 Responses

A Bookish Chanukah and Christmas

Tweet I love books. Casa Avrech is stuffed with bookshelves that are, of course, stuffed with books. As much as Seraphic Secret admires and makes use of eBooks via Kindle and the iPad, there is still something about paper, binding, and the fragrance of a freshly opened page that is intoxicating. Books are the perfect […]

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Book Review: Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter

Tweet As I was working at the studio on a script about the great and tragic silent comedienne, Mabel Normand, the producer stepped into my office to discuss a few problems in the screenplay. As we were shmoozing, the producer, hugely successful, a soft-spoken and sensitive man, wandered over to the window overlooking one of […]

Also posted in Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Responses

Friday Fashion: Hollywood Males It In

Tweet The operative word is effortless. In truth, Chaplin’s style was only achieved through the superlative tailoring of the English Savile Row firm, Anderson & Sheppard. As the new book, Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born, edited by Graydon Carter and Cullen Murphy, makes clear, the venerable British tailors  shunned actors and other show-biz […]

Also posted in Clark Gable, Friday Fashion, Hollywood, Joan Crawford, Men's Fashion, Rudolph Valentino | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Responses

Friday Fotos: How I Spend My Lunch Break

Tweet Seraphic Secret follows a pretty rigid daily schedule. I stumble out of bed at 5AM and take a three-mile walk. Usually, I bop along to a music playlist on my iPhone, but for the past few days I’ve been listening to the audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln.” It’s a thrilling book that […]

Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Responses

Naked Wine

Tweet Of the finer things in life, wine is the subject of which I am least qualified to write. However, my cousin Alice Feiring has authored Naked Wine, a fascinating book. And because Alice and I practically grew up together in Brooklyn, and because Alice writes a beautiful prose, and because Alice defended my film […]

Also posted in Family, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 33 Responses

Bookshelf: Smart Jews, Tragic Star, Child Bride

Tweet On the average, Seraphic Secret reads between five and ten books at the same time. Always there is a pile of books devoted to old Hollywood, politics, war, and works of fiction and non-fiction about various aspects of Judaism. Time to highlight a number of our favorite volumes. The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, […]

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | 22 Responses

Our Readers Write

Tweet Jean Harlow reads. Tweet In the past few weeks Seraphic Secret have been reading bios of Brigitte Bardot, Paulette Goddard, Hedy Lamarr and Cleopatra. But lest you think that we are totally superficial we hasten to add that we have also been delving into books by several of our unusually articulate and talented readers. […]

Posted in Books | 7 Responses

Safta’s Diaries: Book Review

Tweet Safta’s Diaries: Bina Appleman, Intimate Diaries of a Religious Zionist WomanPublisher: Ktav Format: HardcoverDimensions: 6.5″x9.5″Pages: 558ISBN: 978-1-60280-168-4 Karen writes: In the interests of full disclosure, I delved into Shera Aranoff Tuchman’s ambitious, meticulous transcription of her grandmother’s fifty-year diary entries with personal knowledge of the matriarch. As a good friend and classmate at Yeshiva […]

Posted in Books | 2 Responses

The Moonflower Vine

Tweet One of my favorite novels, The Moonflower Vine, has been reissued, after 46-years, with a new forward by novelist Jane Smiley. Here’s what I wrote about this towering novel back in 0ct ’06: This obscure book, the one and only novel ever written by the mysterious Jetta Carleton, appears to be autobiographical. But make […]

Posted in Books | 4 Responses

Everyone’s Got a Story

Tweet About twice a week I get e-mails from aspiring screenwriters that go something like this: Dear Mr. Avrech: I have a great idea for a movie, can I tell it to you? I just need someone to write it down for me. Are you available? Maybe we can collaborate and then split the profits. […]

Posted in Books | 38 Responses

Israel-Arab Reader

Tweet Seraphic Secret recommends this fine volume. We received it a few days before Pesach and during the holiday read close to half the book. The original documents are real eye openers. If you care about Israel, if you care about history and truth, well, this book is essential reading. Seraphic Secret often links to […]

Posted in Books | 9 Responses

Jihadists Endorse Hillary and Barak

Tweet My favorite bit of comedy from the Democrats is that support for Israel is a bi-partisan issue. This is a Big Lie. True, there are Democrats who support Israel. But the party as a whole, has made a landslide plunge to the left, has swallowed the poison pills of multi-culturalism, and moral equivalence. In […]

Posted in Books | 14 Responses

Celebrating the Warrior

Tweet I don’t often do this but I’m reprinting an entire article from The New York Times. I’m surprised that they published this piece but I get the impression that Edward M. Rothstein has a great deal of editorial freedom. In any case, the book he reviews and ponders The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s […]

Posted in Books | 12 Responses