Each week we post a round-up of some of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles–this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!
THE GOLDEN AGE SHTETL
Ready to take a trip back in time? Our destination? The shtetl. THE GOLDEN AGE SHTETL: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern provides the first grassroots social, economic, and cultural history of the shtetl. Challenging popular misconceptions of the shtetl as an isolated, ramshackle Jewish village stricken by poverty and pogroms, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern argues that, in its heyday from the 1790s to the 1840s, the shtetl was a thriving Jewish community as vibrant as any in Europe.
The Golden Age Shtetl is reviewed in the New York Times Book Review. Jonathan Rosen writes:
Petrovsky-Shtern…succeeds in vividly evoking a Jewish world that survived not merely in spite of its neighbors but in complex collaboration with them….[A] moving feat of cultural reclamation and even, in its way, an act of quiet heroism.
In essence, the shtetl was a Polish private town belonging to a Catholic magnate, administratively run by the tsarist empire, yet economically driven by Jews. This book shows how its success hinged on its unique position in this triangle of power–as did its ultimate suppression. Shtetls were home to two-thirds of East Europe’s Jews in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, yet it has long been one of the most neglected and misunderstood chapters of the Jewish experience.
Petrovsky-Shtern brings this golden age to life, looking at dozens of shtetls and drawing on a wealth of never-before-used archival material. He reconstructs the rich social tapestry of these market towns, showing how Russian clerks put the shtetl on the empire’s map, and chronicling how shtetl Jews traded widely, importing commodities from France, Austria, Prussia, and even the Ottoman Empire.
Our website has a preview of the book — see Chapter One here.
THE AMAZING WORLD OF FLYING FISH
Don’t be mistaken — we haven’t dipped into the fiction section with this next title. THE AMAZING WORLD OF FLYING FISH by Stephen N. G. Howell explores the beautiful flying fish as you’ve never seen it before.
If you travel the open ocean anywhere in the tropics, you are very likely to see flyingfish. These beautifully colored “ocean butterflies” shoot out of the water and sail on majestic, winglike pectoral fins to escape from predators such as dolphins, swordfish, and tuna. Some can travel for more than six hundred feet per flight. Yet despite their prevalence in warm ocean waters and their vital role in the tropical food chain, surprisingly little is known about flyingfish—more than 60 species are said to exist, but nobody is sure of the number.
The pictures in this book are amazing. For a sneak peek, check out this slideshow on the Wall Street Journal‘s website with pictures like the one below. A full slideshow of pictures is available on the WSJ website.
The Amazing World of Flying Fish is also reviewed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where Scott Shalaway calls the it “a memorizing natural history.”
This beautifully illustrated book features more than 90 stunning color photos by renowned naturalist Steve Howell, as well as a concise and accessible text that explores the natural history of flyingfish, where they can be found, how and why they fly, what colors they are, what they eat and what eats them, and more. View Chapter One of The Amazing World of Flying Fish for yourself.
THERE GOES THE GAYBORHOOD?
There goes the gayborhood? Gay neighborhoods, like the legendary Castro District in San Francisco and New York’s Greenwich Village, have long provided sexual minorities with safe havens in an often unsafe world. But as our society increasingly accepts gays and lesbians into the mainstream, are “gayborhoods” destined to disappear? Our next book featured this week provides an incisive look at the origins of these unique cultural enclaves, the reasons why they are changing today, and their prospects for the future.
THERE GOES THE GAYBORHOOD? by Amin Ghaziani argues that political gains and societal acceptance are allowing gays and lesbians to imagine expansive possibilities for a life beyond the gayborhood. Ghaziani draws on a wealth of evidence–including census data, opinion polls, hundreds of newspaper reports from across the United States, and more than one hundred original interviews with residents in Chicago, one of the most paradigmatic cities in America.
There Goes the Gayborhood? is featured in the Chicago Tribune. Ghaziani is quoted in the piece, talking about his time spent in Chicago’s Boystown:
“My friends and I began to notice changes in the character and composition of the neighborhood,” he said. “We’d notice more straight couples holding hands and more baby strollers. That became a symbol. Oftentimes a sex store would close and a nail salon would open in its place. Some people feel territorial about Boystown: ‘Why do straight people have to come and take over one spot we have?’ Other people said this is great; isn’t this what we’ve been fighting for?”
Check out the full feature, entitled “‘Gayborhoods’ are changing, researcher finds.”
Ghaziani’s title is discussed in an article on the front page of the Vancouver Sun. Yahoo Canada and the Huffington Post, Canada also pick up the story. Want to know more? Read the introduction of There Goes the Gayborhood? here.