Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature


Sept. 23, 2008-Feb. 10, 2009

Location: South Hill

Time: All Programs run from 6:30-8 p.m.


The graphic novel is an exciting new form of storytelling. In this series, five Jewish artists experiment with words and pictures to tell stories of childhood, war, and desire; to conjure up lost worlds, both real and imaginary; and to contemplate history, myth, and the individual psyche.


Dr. Patricia Terry, Associate Professor of Literature as well as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gonzaga University, will facilitate this series of book discussions, which promise to be lively and stimulating.


Whether you are interested in Jewish literature, graphic novels or would just like to join a book discussion, these programs will appeal. It's not even necessary that you read the books to come to the programs; you're welcome to just come and listen in to learn more about graphic novels and Jewish literature.

The series will feature the following graphic novels:


Click here to check availability of this title in our catalog

September 23, 2008

A Contract with God
by Will Eisner

Set among 1930s Bronx tenements, this landmark 1978 work—one of the first American graphic novels—tells four stories that capture the world of working-class Jews. Thematically linked by the experiences of immigrants, and featuring topics ranging from the sudden death of a man’s daughter to a humorous look at social-climbing urbanites, these wry, honest, and sad tales showcase Eisner's unique ability to capture character with the quick stroke of his pen.


October 28, 2008

The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
by Art Spiegelman

Winner of a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992, Art Spiegelman’s Maus ranks as a classic of the graphic novel form. It tells the story of Spiegelman's parents, Jews reaching maturity in a Europe on the verge of Nazism, and their terrifying experiences in the concentration camps. Spiegelman uses the broadest tools of the medium—Jews are drawn as mice, Nazis as cats, the French as frogs, and so on—to make vivid the unimaginable.


November 18, 2008

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories
by Ben Katchor

In a grey-tinted urban landscape of elevated trains, luncheonettes, and gently decaying tenements, photographer Julius Knipl documents the rapidly vanishing netherworld of a slightly surreal New York City. Marked by eccentric people, obscure businesses, and enigmatic details, this collection of weekly comic strips implores readers to open their eyes to the beauty of the urban environment and conveys a deep affection for lower middle-class city life. 


January 6, 2009

The Quitter
by Harvey Pekar
(art by Dean Haspiel)

Pekar, author of the celebrated comic book American Splendor, spent his life quitting before he could fail. In this autobiographical work, he lists the ways he did this, including a lackluster academic career and an unending array of file clerk jobs. Ostensibly covering Pekar's early years, this dark graphic novel captures Pekar's cantankerous tone, yet carries a hopeful message: It’s possible to find your way in the world, even if it takes a lifetime to do it.


January 27, 2009

The Rabbi's Cat
by Joann Sfar

After eating a parrot, an Algerian rabbi's cat develops the ability to speak and quickly declares his desire to be Jewish and have a bar mitzvah. The rabbi engages his pet in a spiraling debate, touching on weighty topics like parental love and the nature of Jewish identity. French graphic novelist Sfar sets his vibrantly illustrated story in Algeria and Paris in the 1930s, where the encroaching modern world is rapidly shattering many long-held customs and assumptions.  




February 10, 2009

Series Wrap-Up and Review 




If you have any questions about the programs please call Louise Sullivan, South Hill Branch Manager, at 444-5386.


Want to learn even more about Jewish Literature? Ask your librarian to recommend additional reading or visit http://www.nextbook.org/. The site features author interviews, essays on Jewish culture and history, and a daily cultural news digest with links to stories and reviews from around the world.


Let’s Talk About It: Jewish Literature, a reading and discussion series, has been made possible through a grant from Nextbook and the American Library Association.