In the time left for reading, we selectively pored over Judith Shulevitz', The Sabbath World, and have mixed reactions to it, but mainly because we don't know what to make of what she calls her "spiritual autobiography." This is a work of diligent and extensive research and thinking about so many aspects of the phenomenon we call the Sabbath. And it is also an account of many chunks of the life of the author mixed in with her discussions of the practice and conceptualization of the Sabbath throughout history and across cultures. For us, that whole stratum of the book could have been dispensed with altogether. We aren't that much interested in Shulevitz after what we learned from her slightly banal yet pompous interspersed accounts of selected chapters of her rather offbeat Jewish upbringing, education and life experiences. The book, without that information, would stand quite strong as a rapid overview of the Sabbath idea broadly construed.
Next, 3 items covered in the Sunday Times Book Review, linked below:
Judt's book thankfully does not seem to attack Israel; Miller' book looks promising; Martel's metaphor gets a kinder gentler review here than we have seen elsewhere, where it has been slammed pretty hard.
‘Ill Fares the Land’ By TONY JUDT. Reviewed by JOSEF JOFF. Tony Judt argues that Britain and America have succumbed to greed and egotism in this passionate book championing European-style social democracy. Excerpt | Profile of Tony Judt
‘Heaven’ By LISA MILLER. Reviewed by MARK OPPENHEIMER. A journalist’s tour of the afterlife, across religions and through the ages.