Tag: First Graf

Sometimes a great book reveals itself in the opening paragraph (“graf” in reporter-speak). Here are some of my favorites.

First Graf: The Jewish Catalog

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE COUNTER-CULTURAL agents of the 1960s (re)discovered their Yiddishkeit (Jewishness)? A trio of them (and many others) produced the now-classic The Jewish Catalog: a do-it-yourself kit. As the subtitle implies, the book is chock-full of homemade ways…

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

First Graf: Silverlock

TAKE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, STAR A grumpy Chicagoan, people the landscape with characters and places from the world’s literature and you have Silverlock — a fable of the human spirit no less great or more complex a story than a man…

First Graf: Goldfinger

IF YOU HAVE NEVER READ the original James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, you don’t know James Bond. You also don’t know sweeping prose that zips along like a rocket; lush description with a reporter’s eye for detail; fourth-wall breaking…

First Graf: Moby-Dick

SO FAR, IT HAS TAKEN me two years to read Herman Melville’s classic of monomania and cetology, mostly because I don’t want to finish. And so I haven’t, yet. It’s the language. Melville rolls so many word-clad notions around his…