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.

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