Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moving Beyond Fishele and Fraydele

When my children were young, a frum woman decided to write some books in English for frum children. She wanted them to have reading material where they could see themselves in the books. She wanted frum kids to read about frum experiences. She wrote a series of books about two characters, Fishele and Fraydele.

Okay. So I went down to our Jewish bookstore to take a look at the books. And I didn't buy the books. They weren't an "exciting" read. The characters were not fully developed. The plots needed work--or even being there. The language was not correctly geared for the target readers. The vocabulary was pedestrian. The English wasn't standard. The illustrations were only so-so. About the only thing you could say for sure was that the characters were certainly frum, or at least someone's vision of frum.

Ironically, someone else bought the first two books as gifts for my kids. They read them once and then the books moldered on the shelf, never to be touched again. I read a lot to my children when they were little and they all became readers and lovers of books. They recognized about Fishele and Fraydele what far too many people today don't: it takes more than Jewish names and events to make a book a good one.

Too many of the books that are published by the various Jewish presses are books with an agenda; they put the "moral" of the story before all other elements. There is an obvious intent to make a "Jewish" point. When "propaganda" and "philosophy" are the main points of a work, then why bother with the "mundane" elements of a written piece? There isn't enough care taken to write well. Yinglish is not English and no amount of wishing will make it so. There are recycled and hackneyed plot lines. Character development is spotty. The books are second rate, but no one seems to care.

There are numerous sources available for recommended vocabulary lists by age appropriateness. I wish some of these Jewish authors would spend the time and find those lists and then use them. I recently posted on the overuse of the words nice and good. Being sometimes stubborn, I took one of the books aimed at teenagers and went through it looking for the words nice and good. Nice appeared 147 times in that fairly short book; good appeared 202 times. In virtually every case another word was called for. Nor was the rest of the vocabulary used much better. And it wasn't only the vocabulary that needed fixing.

I took the same book and went through it looking for grammar and usage errors. I wasn't being persnickety either. Dozens of errors were found. When I pointed this out to someone who works for that particular publishing company, he thought I had missed the point entirely. "The kids don't see those errors, just the story being told, so what's your point?" is what he told me. He did hasten to tell me, however, that he uses very experienced editors for the works he publishes. (Pardon me if I define "experienced" differently from him.) He also told me that Judaic publishing is "niche" publishing and the target audience readers of Judaic books are "looking for something else" in the books they read. I reasonably pointed out that I am a member of that targeted audience and I am indeed looking for something else--better books than what is being published by his company.

My point is that among the other things that great literature does is it expands our vocabulary, it shows us the richness of the English language, it teaches and reinforces the rules of our language and yes, it gets us to think about ourselves and what we do. There has to be a marriage of form and content; it's not either one or the other that should be there.

It has always been believed that great writers were first great readers; exposed to good reading they endeavored to make their own writing something that others would also see as "great." What do those who have constantly and only been exposed to mediocre books do when they sit down to write? They write mediocre books. (Not to mention mediocre school papers.) When more and more yeshivas insist on switching their reading lists to those containing only "kosher" material taken from frum authors, when they insist on eliminating "goyish" writing--whatever that is--they create readers who are only partially literate.

When last I taught high school I ran into the "them versus us" philosophy of reading head on. I worked for a right wing girls high school and I was hired to teach the juniors and seniors. Macbeth and Hamlet I knew would be on the reading list, or so I thought. Macbeth was allowed--it only showed violence-- but Hamlet was nixed by the administration because, as one Hebrew administrator put it, "he had unnatural urges towards his mother." No Austen works were permitted because they were "romances." Basically, any works in which unmarried men and women appeared together were considered as "z'nus" and were unacceptable. No writers who were Jewish but not frum were allowed--their works were all apikorsis, regardless of the subject matter of their works. No "modern" authors were acceptable because they tended to write about "those things." In desperation for something to give the students to read I used Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The book is about a group of rabbits, albeit rabbits who have been anthropomorphised. Their warren is destroyed and the book details the destruction and their journey to find another place to live, a utopia where life would be the way it should be. And there were complaints from a few parents because they couldn't understand why their daughters were being forced to read a book about "stupid rabbits." The story I recommended to all of you, Asimov's "The Feeling of Power," was not allowed because "science fiction is about things that are strange and will never happen." I killed myself putting together a reading list that would satisfy me--good literature and well written--and that would satisfy the school. We had an uneasy alliance for all the years I taught there. The school never could understand why their students should read English works to get lessons about life and people. And as I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, the menahel at that time believed that all English books should be put into a pile and burned.

For the record, I don't read only "great" literature. I admit to liking murder and mayhem and mystery of the type found in "lemonade" literature. I read "best sellers." I also love reading the works of the "masters." I clearly know the difference between them, and there is a time and place for both. But I do not claim, as so many yeshivas do, that watered down Koolaid is equal to and even better than Chateau Lafitte Rothschild Champagne. I know differently.

I'd like to end with this story. A student came to me to ask for a recommendation for a few stories that he could use in writing a paper for his English class. I mentioned a few works and with one of them he shook his head and said "no." The story made no sense. Having taught that story more than a few times I was puzzled by his attitude. I met with him again and brought in a copy of the story. I asked if he would reread it so we could discuss it together. He rolled his eyes but complied. About half way through he stopped reading and said to me: "This isn't the same story I read in high school." I was puzzled. To my knowledge there weren't two stories with that same title. And then the light went on in my head. I asked him to take a pen and underline or circle those parts of the story that were different from what he remembered of the story he had first read. By the time he finished, about half of the story had been crossed out or changed. Elements of plot development that had been deemed by his teacher to be "not appropriate" had been removed. Words that would have required some dictionary work had been changed to those of the "nice" variety. A female character had been changed to a male character, further changing the dynamics of the story. He was right; what he had read in high school was not the same story I had given him. The story had been sanitized and "Jewish-ized" all out of recognition.

The story? "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson. And if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. It's a pointed lesson in what happens to people who blindly follow "tradition" without thinking about what they are doing, among other things. http://www.americanliterature.com/Jackson/SS/TheLottery.html

So what grade do I give that general class of writing known as Jewish "literature" written in English? C-. We readers really do deserve better.

42 comments:

ilanadavita said...

Thank you for this great post.
May I suggest an idea for a future post? A list of "good" books for teenagers.
As an English teacher (in France) I am asked regularly for such a list and does not always know where to start.

Ezzie said...

I always hated that story...

But as a general point, we grew up with almost no "Jewish" books as kids, and I think we were better off for it. Very good post.

Debby said...

If you can read secular best sellers then why is that any better then when we read Jewish best sellers? If they are both mediocre then why should the Jewish ones be the ones criticized?

SuperRaizy said...

You make a very good point.
I understand (and agree with) the need to be selective when choosing books for our children. Many books have elements that are inappropriate for frum children. But the attitude that you described- that all English books should be off limits, or that Jewish kids don't need to care about good writing, is just appalling. And that story about the yeshiva that censored The Lottery beyond recognition and presented it as the true version? Ugh. That is truly sickening.

Sari said...

Oh, that is terrible! A classic like "The Lottery" was sanitized? And how is it that the Regency period in England is now considered more modern than 21st century Brooklyn? Jane Austen is inappropriate? No wonder this generation of yeshiva-educated kids are little more than functionally illiterate know-nothings.

Allen said...

Debby,there is a difference among best sellers themselves--some are much better written then others are. And the posting makes the point that there is a difference between best sellers and classical good literature. But to know the difference you have to read both. I agree with Profk that our children are being exposed more and more to only mediocre writing. It's resulting in the older generations being better educated then the younger ones, and the progression should be that the younger ones would be the better educated. We're going backwards, not forwards.

tnspr569 said...

::shudder::

Thank goodness I had an excellent English teacher in high school; I miss A.P. English!

David said...

Parents are the ones caught in the middle of this war on reading. When my daughter had a bookreport assigned my wife took her to the public library and they together found a book. I thought the report was really well written. The teacher called up my wife and told her that she would prefer in the future if my daughter did not do her reports on "goyish" works (her word) and the teacher was going to give her a list to choose from. And she told my wife that going to the public library is not really something that a bas yisroel should be doing. All this said in such a nice and polite tone like the teacher was speaking to someone mentally deficient. She was also not going to count this bookreport but would let her do a different one.

I went to see the principal and complained. First, these "rules" were not published so that parents could see them. Second, after the fact you don't punish a child for something they did that they did not know you didn't want. Third, I'm not buying hardcover jewish books when the public library is free. I told the principal that there were 6 bookreports due and that I was subtracting $180 from my tuition check to pay for those books. In the end the principal folded. Why? Because he doesn't want to publish those rules--too many parents like me who might look someplace else if he did. It's easier for the school to use a sneak attack once they have your kids in school.

We moved recently and one of the questions I asked when I interviewed yeshivas to see which one we were going to send the kids to was the reading question. My wife and I asked to see the reading list and if there was a school library and if the teachers who teach English have degrees in English and all kinds of questions I didn't know I had to ask before.

The book that got turned down for that bookreport was something called Anne of Green Gables. The teacher objected because of the boy girl friendship.

Mina said...

Let me see if I get this right. Austen and Anne of Green Gables are banned, probably because both are "romances" according to yeshivas. You can't teach anything in which men and women have a relationship, know each other or go courting. Have any of these people really read any of these works, the whole work? Stay tune--they are going to ban teaching chumash to girls next.

Anonymous said...

You think that the Bernstein Bears and the Seuss books are really so great for kids? Lots of bad behavior in those books and things that frum parents don't need their kids reading about. Not better in the books for older children either. I'm thankful that some frum english teachers remember that the frum part comes first.

Leahle said...

Yes anonymous 5:01 I think that the Dr. Seuss books are that great, and the Berenstain Bears books were also enjoyed by my kids. When I let my kids choose which book I'm going to read to them they head straight for Seuss and others like that, and yes there are jewish English books on their shelves too. Most of them aren't what my mother calls "re-readers"--books the kids never get tired of hearing read over and over again. Too much emphasis on the lesson and not enough on the story.

Chayki said...

When I was in elementary school we used to get the Olomeinu magazine and all of us enjoyed it. Then the school wouldn't allow it any more because of Mendel the Mouse. The principal was absolutely upset that Jewish values should be coming out of the mouth of a mouse. It's that type of attitude that makes so many of the so called Jewish books for kids such boring reading. They don't stimulate the imagination, they don't get the reader excited and into the story.

Toby said...

Strange times we live in--I thought book banning went out somewhere in the midaevil ages. Read my kids anything I thought they would enjoy and gain something from and I'm doing so with my grandchildren too. Even biography comes in for censorship in the yeshivas. I bought my grandkids a whole set of biographies of famous people for young readers. Since I was getting a really great buy on the set I asked the yeshiva where the kids go if they would like me to buy a set and donate it to the school. The answer was no. They couldn't see the need for the books. I try not to mix in to my kids' business but I don't understand sending children to a school that thinks that reading good books isn't basic to the education process. I spend as much time as I can making up what I see as a deficit in the school and I hope that it will be enough to balance out the school's attitude.

RJ said...

Like a lot of the problems I imagine this one is more with the more right wing then the MO. My kids schools all stress reading, use only real English books not just jewish stories in English and require a full outside reading list over the summer.

W. said...

My son attends a yeshiva high school that has one of those unspoken but known reputations for being for the boys who haven't got the steiging power to spend most of their time with gemorah. They offer a full 4-year english education for the boys and they give them good and exciting literature to read. In elementary school I was worried about how he would end up because his elementary school emphasized only the Jewish learning and they read almost no secular literature. I can say that my son is doing much better in his Jewish learning because he also has something else that he enjoys at the same time. The English gives him some balance and gives him something he can be good at.

I'm only commenting because you mentioned The Lottery. My son wrote his final paper for the year on this story and its application to the Nazi attrocities towards the Jews. He won a prize for that paper. As far as I am concerned that story is brilliant and everyone should be reading and studying it in depth.

Lion of Zion said...

1) i personally am not into censoring reading lists, but i certainly can understand why the more close-minded elements (i really don't mean that negatively) of the jewish world would do so. especially for students

2) i think an entire sociology diss could be written about what the children's section looks like in the judaica store. (and the women's section would be a separate diss as well)

3) sanitizing secular literature for jews is by no means a new phenomenon. it has been done in yiddish, for example, for many centuries (as opposed to #2, this has been covered extensively in the academic lit.). the only difference is that now it is being done in the original language as opposed to part of the process of transmission to a jewish vernacular

4) i saved an english textbook from when i taught in satmar school in college (worst employment experience of my life). fully censored of course.

5) http://www.beyondbt.com/?p=1018

Judy said...

When a restaurant critic writes a review it is expected that he ate in the restaurant he is writing about. The same goes for a theater review. The critic has to see the play before writing about it. The problem with a lot of the critics in the yeshivas is that they haven't read the literature that they are "reviewing" and giving negative reviews to. They are banning all 'restaurants" on the basis of of strange criteria. All restaurants are treif, even though lots are kosher. All restaurants serve unhealthy food, even though many do not. My aunt's cousin's brother's daughter's friend said it is no good, so because one person may have said the restaurant is bad, all people have to avoid it.

I agree this is more an MO problem because the teachers in the schools more to the right don't have the training and experience to argue for keeping good works in the curriculum and they don't have the desire either. Strange kinds of English teachers who allow their subject to be gutted.

d said...

LOZ - have you read Gerry Albarelli's book about his teaching experiences ?

Devoiri said...

It's the first step in a dictatorship that they ban all sources of information, newspapers, radio, television, the Internet and books. They can paint the world any way they want when people have nothing else to compare it to. They can say what they want and no one can say they are wrong because no one knows any better. Sure there are books that may not be appropriate for frum jews, but you tell them which ones and why. You don't ban all books because of a few.

Lion of Zion said...

D:

no. i just googled it. i'm glad it seems he ended up having sort of a positive experience with the kids. my memoirs would simply come across as anti-semitic treatise. aside from my actual experience in the classroom, i had had cartons dropped on me from the top of a stairwell, my car was vandalized, etc. i ended up quiting a month before the end of the school year. it was great pay for a college student, but it just wasn't worth it

anonymous mom said...

When I taught 5th Grade, I did not allow Jewish books published in English to be used for book reports. I explained my position to the parents and challenged them to find an example of good literature coming out of the Judaica store that they would have liked me to read. No one ever accepted the challenge. Bottom line: the Jewish books stink. In addition to being poorly written with underdeveloped characters and low-level vocabulary, the plots are sometimes inappropriate for the age group to which they are geared. For example: kidnappings,death, Holocaust in a book written for a third grader. I am also concerned, but this is a separate topic, with the recent love affair with science fiction in the Yeshiva world. Those that do read secular books are engrossed often in the darker force books. While there is a place for science fiction in the reading repertoire of a child or young adult, it should not be the only tool in their box and I am beginning to wonder if some of the parents are allowing the science fiction because it won't have the relationship issues that come up in the other books. If so, that's a copout to me. What is most gut-wrenching is the fact that most kids, from MO to Chareidi, are not seeing the inside of a library. The MO kids (many of my students) are glued to their DVD's and Gameboys, the Internet games, etc. and their parents aren't pulling them away to go to the library. In the Chareidi world, the library is Ossur completely.

Kalman said...

If only it was all science fiction that some of the kids were reading, or at least good science fiction. A lot of it goes as anonymous mom pointed out to pulp fantasy and to the darker force.

My son started out with the Harry Potter books when they came out so I went to read to see what he was going to be reading. I don't see what all the hype is about with those books. They're okay but nothing more than that. I gave him Tolkien's Ring Trilogy--a lot more meat in those works and better writing.

The Jewish bookstore books? We don't bother with them. The fact that those books sell should point out that some of our kids are starved for reading and they'll take even the pap from the bookstores if nothing else is available. What is wrong with people that they consider the library as some kind of vast conspiracy to destroy the frum world?!

ProfK said...

Decided to drop into my own blog for a few minutes (you're all doing really well here without me.) I'm really old school when it comes to parenting--families aren't democracies with every member having an equal vote. My kids did not watch any television shows that my husband and I did not approve of. They went to bed when we said it was bed time. They played with their toys until we said it was time to put away the toys. Did they sometimes have choices? Sure, they got to choose among things we had already decided were acceptable for them.

Kids are glued to their electronic games, to their computers? And just where are the parents here? They don't read enough? Where are the parents to take them to the library? To encourage reading? To read with and to their kids, regardless of age? Where are the gifts of books instead of yet another expensive and soon to be obsolete computer game? Where are the parents in looking at what their kids are reading and discussing with them the subject matter? Where are the parents?!! The schools have a lot to answer for for the semi-literate students they are turning out, but the parents aren't blameless.

Sometimes that old saw does apply: if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON MOM:

"their parents aren't pulling them away to go to the library"

they don't read books in the library either. i was going to post a little while ago about my first (and only) trip with my 3-year old to the library. i was very disappointed (i go frequently to academic libraries but have not been to a public one in years.) i saw very few people (maybe some senior citizens) actually with books. everyone (kids) included were glued to computer terminal. even my son at first wanted to sit by a computer.

Lion of Zion said...

no one has raised the most important question. will there be enough of a market for these jewish books for cliff's notes?

ProfK said...

Lion,
There is already a Jewish version of those Cliff Notes going around--they call it "borrowing" a paper that someone else has written about the book and turning it in as their own. They happen to read the "borrowed" paper just in case anyone asks them about it. As one teacher put it "ha'levei they should be reading the Cliff Notes--at least they would be reading!"

It's one reason why in my college we use the program Turn It In to check for plagiarized material, including papers from the papermill sites. It's one reason why I spend each summer developing a unique combination of readings across an equally unique theme for the writing classes. And why each instructor gets a different combination of readings, so that students from different classes cannot "share" papers. And why I read each and every research paper written in both the men's and women's division. I may not remember where I put the barbeque tools last year but I have an instant recall when it comes to the written word.

Lon said...

Someone... [gasp]
Someone... [faint]
Someone rewrote The Lottery?!!?



I directly credit my youthful reading with my ability to write. I've noticed that I and many fellow English majors write in the style of favorite classic authors.

As for whether children want to read:

When I first was able to put the letters of my name together my mother made a huge deal - I could now go to the library and get my own card.

Every Friday we took a family trip to the library to get books to read over Shobbos.

Before Pesach, lest we go 8 days without literature, we went to the store and bought books.

My grandmother gave us books as gifts whenever she came. She waxed poetic about beautiful language, classical literature, and elevated vocabulary.

In contrast, computer games were treated like something detestable. If we asked to play, we received the same reaction as if we'd have asked to play in the mud while wearing Shobbos clothes. Video games were purchased grudgingly and infrequently, and time playing them was severely monitored.

We had three acceptable ways to spend a lazy afternoon: reading, doing crafts, or playing (non-digital).

And guess what - we read. (And played and did crafts.)

I actually read many classic books well beyond my age and reading level. All that inappropriate stuff? Went right over my head. Only rereading them years later did I understand the inferences and subplots. But the vocabulary and language usage were deeply patterned into my brain.

And, IMHO: LotR is one of the dumbest novel series's I've ever read. Let the kid read Harry Potter if he wants. Or better yet, suggest Diana Wynne Jones, if you want fantasy with meat to it.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

"There is already a Jewish version of those Cliff Notes going around . . ."

when i was in BC, students regularly handed down old papers (and exams). this is popular in YU as well, where it has an official moniker: massorah.

anonymous mom said...

ProfK, as to your question:
Where are the parents?
anecdote A: Parent of brilliant math prodigy comes to parent conferences furious because she had to spend "hours" in the library with her 14=year old choosing books for my assigned paper. Why couldn't he just use the school library? He had no idea how to navigate the public library and since I had told the students that they were not to rely on the librarian, it took "them" forever to get a book. Ridiculous! (Duh! Research skills have only been taught by our excellent school librarian for years prior to this assignment. It just wasn't his priority).
Anecdote B: After said research paper was assigned quoth MO mom of 6, "It's going to take us an extra weekend. He doesn't have a card. He lost it years ago and his dad and I are in L.A. on vacation. Sorry."
As to the video game plague, it is just that a plague. We have told our children very simply that these games will rot their brains and we will not be buying them. Sorry. Guess what? They hardly ever ask anymore.

Knitter of shiny things said...

If I had to go without secular novels for any extended period of time I would probably go insane. I grew up reading all the time. Now I'm living in a house where one of my housemates is a librarian and thus we have a TON of books, so I never am wanting for reading material.

I've spent some shabbats in homes where there were only Jewish novels. I find I have a really hard time reading them. (Moral of the story *always* bring a book with you.) Perhaps my goal in life should be to write a good frum fantasy novel, but then again it would probably still be ossured because the author is egalitarian, therefore the book must be kefira. That, and I'm not a writer. And it would be hard to create believable science fiction with frum characters...unless I took one of the many novels where religion is gone in the future, and chronicle the plight of frum Jews in such a situation...

When I have kids, they're going to be allowed to read secular books, and encouraged to read science fiction and fantasy, since it would be nice if my kids were nerds. But then again, I'm not Orthodox, so I don't have to worry about conforming to these rules.

d said...

LOZ - sorry about your bad experiences.

Albarelli is a talented writer, he has gone on to write other stuff. I met him a number of times. I recall a program at MJH downtown where he was on a program with the late Grace Paley. If you get a chance you could check out the book ("Teacha..."), I think you would really enjoy it (it's not that many pages, relatively short, in form of a few short stories, as I recall).

d said...

There is a venture to make available specially made textbooks that fit well with conservative (small c) schools, that is in between the extremes of banning and allowing all outside literature, by Textword Press (http://www.textword.com/).

I don't know how much of the market they have, but I believe some frum schools use their products, as well as some Christian schools.

ProfK said...

D,
I've tutored students whose school uses the textword books The Yeshiva of Far Rockaway HS for Boys). They aren't bad but there are a few areas where it becomes obvious that they are niche publishing. It seems that their cut off point for writing is the
50's. An insufficient number of plays, with only Macbeth to represent Shakespeare. The emphasis is on the short story rather than a balance of novels and short stories. But yes, they are far better than the Jewish press special editions that come out for yeshiva use. They are NYSTL approved, but there are two editions available, one general one and one for the NYC DOE, with different literature choices in some cases.

Still there is plenty for students to get their teeth into.

ProfK said...

D,
I read the Albarelli book when it first came out, and anyone who has ever taught in one of the chassidishe schools can recognize some of their experiences in it. My first teaching job was in Williamsburg while still in college and there I was teaching English grammar to third graders--and the languages of instruction were Hungarian and Yiddish. Go ahead, tell me what the Yiddish words are for "noun, verb, adjective and adverb."

Sad but true, he would never get hired by Satmar today.

Ruth said...

I remember those Fischele and Fraydele books. And I remember my kids asking what kind of weird names Fischele and Fraydele were for Jewish people. I explained to them that the names came from Yiddish and were used by some people. My youngest wanted to know if the parents in the book couldn't afford a real Jewish name for their kids. Not exactly the discussion you hope for when you read a book to kids.

Lion of Zion said...

"tell me what the Yiddish words are for 'noun, verb, adjective and adverb.'"

noun הויפטווארט
verbv האנדלונגסווארט
adj אדיעקטיפ
adverb אדווערב

or at least these were the words 100 years ago

Anonymously said...

I was wondering when the English teacher in you was going to come to the forefront of your postings. I enjoy your take on things (maybe because I agree with so much of it). More please?

Anonymous said...

I have no pity for you parents who complain about the English curriculum. FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL! If the education stinks - change it.

Judy said...

Easy to say Anonymous 1:06 but a lot harder to do. What is personal to me I can be in control of and I can change without asking someone else. Schools are community wide and involve more than just me and my ideas. There are other parents, all of whom have their own ideas of what should and shouldn't be going on. There are the owners/administrators/teachers of the schools who also have their own ideas. There are rabbanim who chime in. Affecting change is not always as simple as just wanting something to change. It comes very slowly when you have to deal with hundreds of people. Find another school? Not always so simple either. When you have only one school locally then it's either that school or no yeshiva education, and that's no choice for us. Even with two schools available, what makes you think that the schools will be different enough to be a real choice?

Lissa said...

It wasn't a bad idea to have books with Jewish themes for frum kids, but it didn't turn out too well. There's a big difference between something that is good reading, good literature, and just printing words on a page. I don't buy these Jewish books and I do go to the library. Lion, check with the librarian for when the book hours are and the storytelling hours are. It's not all just about computers.

jewtoo said...

I'm not the biggest reader out there but I never liked the jewish books as much as the secular books. A lot of the conversation here has shown me why. Since y9ou know what should be in the books profk have you ever thought about writing one yourself? Given all the different things you write about on the blog I bet you could find a topic for a book easily.

Chani said...

Isn't the answer to this problem sitting in our wallets? If we refuse to buy jewish books that are not as well written as the secular books are then the publishing businesses will have to set higher standards for the works they publish. We need to let them know that what they are publishing is mediocre and we deserve better.