Archives For Jonathan Safran Foer


One of this week’s best new releases


Here I Am: A Novel
Jonathan Safran Foer

Hardback: FSG Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Here is a clip from our review by Amy Neftzger
that will run in our next print issue:
(SUBSCRIBE NOW and don’t miss this issue).

Love is integral to life and this idea is prevalent throughout the novel. In most cases love is a struggle for us as we figure out how to best love our spouses, children, parents, and others. As part of finding his identity, Jacob attempts to learn how to give and receive love. He wrestles with this, just as we all do, and he tries in his imperfect manner to reason out the best way to demonstrate love, knowing that that intent and perception may be two very different things. Eventually he comes to the conclusion that without love each of us will die. However, each of us will also die with love, but not all deaths are equal. Love won’t make anything last longer than it should, but love is essential. We all need it and it impacts the quality of our lives, as well as how we perceive our own deaths.

Listen to an NPR interview with the author:

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)


Here I Am: A Novel

Jonathan Safran-Foer


Read the NY Times review of this book


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Jonathan Safran Foer - Eating AnimalsPutting Meat in the Middle
of the Plate of our Public Discourse.

A Review of

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer.

Paperback: Back Bay Books, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Melody Harrison Hanson.

[Editor’s Note: Although this book is older than most we review, I decided to run this review given the combination of the author’s heralded appearance at the recent Festival of Faith and Writing and the vast interest of our readers in food issues. ]

“99% of the meat sold in the United States today comes from a factory farm.”

In the 1970s, my missionary parents uprooted us from the barefoot paradise of Papua New Guinea and planted us in Southern California.  My mother, suffering a bizarre set of health issues, began looking for answers in healthy eating practices.  While other kids ate Twinkies and Ding Dongs, Mother read Adelle Davis books on nutrition and force-fed us cod liver oil.

Perhaps because of this, my need to fit in urged me to become a steak-loving “normal “person. Food, for me, was always more than mere sustenance; it was a visceral, beautiful, even creative thing. But as far being a political statement or a critical health issue, well that was strictly for the weirdoes.

Reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals was the first time that I seriously considered that the Chicken Parmesan in front of me or the meat neatly stacked in my refrigerator was once a living thing.  And confronted by the horrors of modern animal farming, as recounted in shocking detail by Foer, I had to face certain facts: factory farms are disgusting and dangerous for our health.

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New American Haggadah - Jonathan Safran Foer [Review]A Beautiful, Bountiful Passover Table

New American Haggadah

Jonathan Safran Foer, editor

Hardcover: Little, Brown &Co., 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon

As I read through The New American Haggadah, I had the distinct sense that I was at a beautiful, bountiful Passover table with a lively mix of friends old and new.  Together we journeyed through the ritual retelling of the story of God’s miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from the oppression of Pharaoh. Exodus 1-13 contains the account of this deliverance, and a Haggadah (which means “narration”) offers a guide by which Jewish people can gather around a table and obey the command in Leviticus 23:4-8 to celebrate this sacred feast.

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I have recently been really intrigued with book trailers, short videos that, like their film counterparts, introduce and pique people’s interest about a coming book.

Today’s book trailer is for a superb book that was released a little over a year ago and somehow slipped through the cracks here at the ERB.  This trailer won a MOBY award as one of the best book trailers of 2011 in the Best Small Publishing House category.  (You can see the other 2011 winners here…)

Tree of Codes - Jonathan Safran FoerTree of Codes.

Jonathan Safran Foer.

Paperback: Visual Editions, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Jonathan will be speaking at the Festival of Faith and Writing later this month at Calvin College.  If you plan to be there, you will surely want to catch his talk!

You can also watch a couple of other brief videos about this unique book
(including one on the tedious process of its production) on the publisher’s website.

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Elsewhere [Vol. 3, #43]

November 27, 2010 — Leave a comment


“Racism, Art, and the Darkness of Truth”
Artist Barry Moser

Among his over three hundred works of art, Barry Moser has often pushed the envelope of expectation to portray unorthodox perspectives and uncomfortable subject matter. He is also the first artist to create a complete individually illustrated Bible since Gustave Doré’s La Sainte Bible of 1865.

Read the full interview:

Poet Charles Simic on the Formative
Aspects of Dinner Table Conversation

Back in the early 1970s, when I was teaching in California, I had a colleague named Bob Williams who taught fiction writing and was famous for beginning each semester with a lecture on the art of cooking. He’d tell his students, for example, how to prepare a dish of sausages, onions, and peppers—elaborately describing how to chose the right frying pan, olive oil, and sausages, explaining next how they ought to be cooked till browned and then removed from the pan—so that the sliced onions, garlic and peppers, and whatever fresh herbs could be introduced in their own proper order—until he had the entire class salivating. The point, of course, was not just to stimulate their appetites, but to show them the degree of love and devotion to the smallest detail required to turn this simple Italian dish, often poorly made, into a culinary masterpiece.

Read the full essay:

NY TIMES interviews Jonathan Safran Foer
About his Unique New Book TREE OF CODES

The jackets of Jonathan Safran Foer’s books (“Everything Is Illuminated,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Eating Animals”), designed by John Gray, helped set off a revival in hand-lettering. Graphic-design quirks have also figured in each of Foer’s narratives.

But his latest book, “Tree of Codes,” takes the integration of writing and design to a new level. As Visual Editions, the London-based publisher, describes it, the book is as much a “sculptural object” as it is a work of fiction: “Jonathan Safran Foer has taken his favorite book, ‘The Street of Crocodiles’ by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz, and used it as a canvas, cutting into and out of the pages, to arrive at an original new story.”

The result is a text of cutout pages, with text peeking through windows as the tale unfolds. Foer discussed the making of this book in a recent interview.

Read the interview:

Jonathan Safran Foer
Paperback: Visual Editions, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]