Love Among the Latkes

Elizabeth Bluemle -- December 16th, 2011

Our friend and colleague—and occasional ShelfTalker guest blogger—Kenny Brechner of DDG Booksellers in Farmington, Maine, often brings the gift of wry mirth to stressful situations. While most of us are happily and completely brain-fried at the end of long days rushing around doing a hundred things at once—making recommendations, ringing sales, wrapping gifts, following up on special orders, tracking down elusive titles, unpacking and receiving and shelving and displaying boxes of books and sidelines, making signs, restocking items, calling special order folks, filling website orders, fielding sales calls, paying bills, etc. and so on—Kenny somehow manages to have enough creative energy to come up with really funny stuff after hours. I don’t know how he does it—I don’t want to know; probably some moldering portrait of a wag somewhere in his closet—but I’m really glad he does.

This season’s silliness resulted from Kenny noticing something sinister about holiday reading fare. Looking at a pile of Christmas romances, he started to wonder why there were no comparable Hanukkah titles. One punny title idea led to another, and soon, Kenny had a full-blown contest idea on his hands.

Join me in snortling over the following, direct from DDG Booksellers’ website, which has the added attraction of cover art.

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Hanukkah Heat Contest!

When one sees a glaring imbalance in life one’s natural inclination is to correct it. Each holiday season we see a new batch of Christmas romances being published such as A Highlander for the Holidays, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, and A Texas Christmas. What of Hanukkah romances though? Think about it for a moment. The shocking truth will appear quickly. There isn’t a single Hanukkah bodice ripper in existence! That’s why we’re launching Hanukkah Heat, a new line of books to fill this glaring void with books like…

The Reluctant Rabbi

Rabbi Sam Davidson, serious and seriously handsome, was passionate only about Torah studies. Ruth Rosen was the most widely courted young woman in town. All eyes are on the dazzling Ruth but she has eyes only for the bookish young Rabbi. Ruth was in the office, polishing the congregation’s menorah and setting its supply of candles in neat, suggestive stacks and Sam was in the library delving into Talmudic lore, when they are unexpectedly trapped together in the Temple by a sudden spring snowstorm. Can Ruth awaken a different sort of passion in Sam’s scholarly breast?

Captured By A Maccabee

Sunday School teacher Esther Klein, widowed untimely, had settled into a life of uneasy calm. This Sunday was passing by just like the last 28 Sundays had passed since Marvin’s death. Esther put the Kugel she had prepared at home for snack time into the Temple’s oven and walked into the crowded classroom. Suddenly, an odd shimmering light appeared behind her accompanied by a crackling hum. From out of the light a Maccabeen warrior from the 2nd century BCE burst forth, his bare, rippling chest, brawny thews, and giant sword seeming somehow out of place in the Sunday School Classroom. With a shout the warrior leapt forward, threw Esther over his shoulder, and bounded back into the portal. Would Esther ever return to the 21st century, would anyone realize a kugel was left baking in the oven, would she find love in the brawny arms of Mattathias? All that Esther knew for now was that life had taken a decidedly spicier turn!

Other book suggestions we have received and that are already in the pipleline:

Let’s All Do the Hora!

Brazen Shamash

Lighting Her Lamp

You Say Gelt, I Say Guilt

Eight Steamy Nights

It’s Gimmel My Love

Under The Menorah

You Put The Magic In The Magic Oil

The Rakish Cantor

Still, this is barely a start, so we’re having a contest to get some more potential titles in the works. Just submit your title and a brief synopsis on the DDG bookseller site. The grand prize will be a DDG T-Shirt and lasting fame.

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[Back to Elizabeth and ShelfTalker now:]

A couple of the above titles are mine, but my favorite, Let’s All Do the Hora!, comes from Flying Pig Bookseller Sandy First. When she texted that idea to me last night (as I worked until 2 am redoing displays and putting out new goodies at the store), I actually laughed aloud. I needed that.

Here’s another to add to the mix:

He Was Hanukkah, She Chanukah: A Mixed Marriage for Muriel

And I just know something clever can be done with hei and nun, not to mention shin.

Readers, please post your titles and synopses here, too, even if you enter the contest. I can’t wait to read them. Happy Hanukkah, everyone (First Night is December 20); may you always land on gimel.

8 thoughts on “Love Among the Latkes

  1. Ian

    Men and Norah
    Norah has just been dumped by Levi, the latest of a string of eight boyfriends (“it was nice at first, but, I don’t know, the passion just didn’t last…”), and again she can’t stand the sight of all the places she and Levi used to go to – even the local bakery’s challah seems to have lost its taste. So again she finds herself packing her things, preparing to go someplace new – but this time she can’t decide where to go. London? Boston? Seattle? For several weeks she lives indecision…until one day, walking home from candle-making class, she sees a poster advertising an eight-week trip to Israel (a smiling woman wearing one of those blue and white star of David scarfs, with the caption, “Come to Israel – all your hurts’ll vanish!”) Suddenly she finds herself on a cruiser, gliding toward the holy land. And then, just as suddenly, in the ballroom one night, she finds herself in the muscular, tan, capable arms of Aaron, a handsome oil industry executive – and a new passion is alight. Will Norah find a home in Israel? Will Aaron be able to keep the flame burning this time? Will she be able to find one of those scarfs?

  2. Sarah Montley

    Latkes of Love.

    Rebekkah was lonely. Winter was upon her and she dreaded having no one to light her candles with. The weather man was predicting that a nor’easter was speeding up the coast and would hit the city by evening. Since she had just finished the book she was reading, she calculated that she had just enough time to visit her local bookstore to get a couple more books. Then she would curl up on the couch with her kitties and read through the storm. The storm hit earlier than predicted and when she came out with her books several hours later as the store lights were going out she found her car snowed in and nobody and the parking lot deserted. As she started to cry out of frustration while she tried with out luck to back out of the space she heard a knock at the window. Rolling it down she found a strong chiseled, bearded face looking down at her. He introduced himself as Emmanuel and asked if she needed a hand.

    1. Pat Fowler

      Scrooge: Two years ago we resisted all the hype and did not pre-order any Christmas romances or mysteries – after listening to panicking daughters & daughters-in-law looking a for a last minute gift for “moms” we learned our lesson and bought a selective few this year. I also hate it when kid’s series include a holiday special for Valentines, Thanksgiving, Christmas – such a limited time frame for any book interest seems to be a marketing mistake.

      For Kenny: Chanukah Lights of My Love (a play on Love of my Life)

  3. Kenny Brechner

    I have to share this outstanding entry we received from Courtney, who has set the bar high!

    Leah’s Luscious Latkes

    Lovely and unattainble Leah works the grill at the Second Avenue Deli. Unbeknownst to her coworkers and friends, she carries a torch for freight deliveryman Reuben. But when the city faces a cooking oil shortage, Leah and Reuben see each other less and less. Leah must take matters into her own talented hands to get him back. This sizzling tale of fried food and fraternization will leave you feeling festive!

    Holy Oiled Hunks

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