Monday, June 09, 2008

Outwitting History

Aaron Lansky has a passion for the Yiddish language. His passion developed in his college years when he enrolled in a Yiddish language class. To him, it opened up a whole new look at his own culture. At the same time he saw that the language and culture were fast disappearing and unless someone took action quickly, it would disappear. Thus begins Lansky's adventure in saving Yiddish books from near extinction.

I listened to this book on audio. This is probably the best way to read it. The reader did a superb job reading Yiddish and characterizing the dialogue. I wouldn't have known how to pronounce much of the Yiddish words and skipped over many sections. Instead you get the full experience, imagining oneself sitting along Lanksy and his collectors in a beat-up rental truck.

Imagine dumpster diving, doing pitches in Jewish senior centers, and schlepping books out to a street corner only to have no truck to load them into. There are many hilarious and touching stories throughout the book.

Book Rating: 5 stars

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