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Lev Raphael
Lev Raphael is the author of twenty-four books in nearly a dozen different genres. Raphael is best known as a pioneer in writing fiction and creative non-fiction about the children of Holocaust survivors, which he's been publishing since 1978. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and he's done hundreds of invited talks and readings on three continents. His work has appeared in dozens of anthologies in the U.S. and England.

Raphael's academic mystery series has earned raves from the NYTBR and many other newspapers and magazines and he has been the keynoter at international conferences. Raphael has written hundreds of reviews and essays for The Detroit Free Press, Jerusalem Report, Forward, The Washington Post, The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Boston Review and Lambda Book Report. A former radio talk show host, he currently reviews for WKAR 90.5 FM in East Lansing, MI and writes the Book Brunch column for Raphael's web site is Follow him on Twitter @LevRaphael.

Entries by Lev Raphael

Does a Museum Visit Really Require Homework?

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 12:16 PM

That's what The Washington Post recently advised in a long article that was supposed to take the anxiety out of art:

Our response to art is directly proportional to our knowledge of it. In this sense, art is the opposite of popular entertainment, which becomes more insipid with...
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4 Fake Quotes by Famous Authors to Watch Out For

(9) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 1:19 PM

A lot of people swear by Goodreads. I swear at it. Often. It's a font of unsourced quotations, some of them fake, just like Wikiquotes. Take the line that tops the list of George Eliot quotes: "It is never too late to be what you might have been."


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Did George Bush Really Write That Book About His Father?

(29) Comments | Posted November 15, 2014 | 3:46 AM

All over the country, newspaper reviewers are wasting space reviewing George Bush's biography about his father. Whether they pan it or praise it, they'll say over and over, as Michiko Kakutani recently did in The New York Times, things like "he writes--" or "he says--"

Does he?

I reviewed for...

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What's in a Name? Plenty--and Don't You Forget It!

(1) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 3:00 PM

"Lev" isn't a common name in Michigan so I'm used to people not hearing it correctly and asking in person if it's "Les." Over the phone they might think I said "Len" or even "Lez." Seriously.

Lately, though, I've been confronted by an even more annoying name problem. I'll...

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Why Do So Many Writers Say Writing Torments Them?

(2) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 4:07 PM

There's a quote by Flannery O'Connor currently making the rounds on Facebook:

"Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge...
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Praise for the American Soldiers Who Saved My Father From a Death Train

(7) Comments | Posted November 9, 2014 | 3:11 PM

In early April 1945, my father was packed into a train with 2500 other prisoners from Bergen-Belsen as the Nazis insanely tried to keep British and American troops from rescuing them. The train was made up of 45 cars with their doors sealed shut; the crowding was horrific and of...

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Why Are We Arming Our Police Departments For War?

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 12:38 PM

My novels have been born in various ways, sometimes with the idea of a character, or through a scene, or from an overhead or imagined scrap of dialogue.

But my 25th book Assault With a Deadly Lie came to me four years ago when I started reading stories...

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Bullies in the Classroom

(4) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 11:48 AM

We probably all have memories of our favorite teachers, the ones who inspired us and still make us smile years later.

And then there are the ones who are like Grendel at the banqueting hall in Beowulf, casting a long shadow. Like my fifth grade teacher who made that whole...

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Writer's Notebook: The Waiting Game

(2) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 2:12 PM

I started pub­lish­ing way before email and the Inter­net, and the thing I hated most was wait­ing. Like wait­ing to hear about a story or man­u­script I'd sub­mit­ted. I'd obses­sively check my cal­en­dar and count days, weeks, months. I kept writing, kept reading books about writing, and kept all kinds...

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Hank Phillippi Ryan and Lev Raphael Rap About Writing

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 5:56 PM

We all know that writing is a solitary affair -- even when you talk to yourself and your spouse or your dog comes in and stares at you.

That's why it's so much fun for us authors to go to conferences. It's not just about meeting fans, though that's always...

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Losing Control of My Car and My Life

(14) Comments | Posted October 12, 2014 | 10:47 AM

In all my decades of driving, I've never had anything but a minor fender bender just minutes from my house--until last weekend when I apparently skidded off rainy I75 near Flint, Michigan, onto a grassy median and blacked out.

At least that's what I think happened. All I can...

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8 Dos and Don'ts When You Get a Bad Review

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 2:56 PM


Don't text everyone you know that the reviewer is an absolute moron who deserves nothing but bad sex and botulism. Why? Most people won't know about the review until you tell them.

Don't make snarky remarks about this reviewer in live interviews,...

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My Glorious Grand Rapids Afternoon at ArtPrize

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 9:38 PM

This afternoon I visited Grand Rapid's beautiful art museum (GRAM) for their yearly art exhibition, Art/Prize, that includes work by one of my writing students, and though I arrived somewhat frazzled, I left in a state of deep contentment verging on joy.

That's not surprising. I love museums. My parents...

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I'm No Longer Addicted to Giving Up Facebook!

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2014 | 12:57 PM

Every year I used to bitch and moan about how much time I wasted on Facebook every single day. I'd carefully time my post, edit my posts, check who was liking my posts, check shares, check my friend's posts, check who was liking their posts, check if they were editing...

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6 Things Authors Can Say When People Ask 'Do You Know Stephen King?'

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2014 | 6:02 PM


It sounds like a specialized question, but it's not. Most authors on tour get it a lot.

For some reason, people who read a book only under duress seem to think of King as the touchstone of all things literary....

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Not So Crazy About Gone Girl?

(11) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 3:01 PM

A mystery reading friend recently asked me what I thought about Kathy Reichs' Déja Dead.

Why bring up a book that came out sixteen years ago? Because a line from my Detroit Free Press review was in the paperback with other review quotes: "As good as Patricia Cornwell at...

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In Love With David Bowie

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 11:56 AM

David Bowie wasn't always a super star.

That's right. Despite all the attention being paid to the David Bowie Is exhibition at MCA Chicago, when he flashed across TV screens in my college days he was just a cult figure. And a figure of fun. Ziggy Stardust was...

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Healed by Art in London

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 3:33 PM

I grew up in a city of great museums, New York, and felt intimately close to many of them from a very early age because of countless school visits and trips with my parents. But it was only on a recent visit to London that I realized something extraordinary: art...

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16 Reasons Why I Love to Teach Creative Writing

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 3:27 PM

I went to Fordham University at Lincoln Center in Manhattan because I had heard about a young, amazing creative writing teacher there. It was the smartest decision of my life. I took every course she taught, writing or literature, and she mentored me both as a writer and a teacher.

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Do College Towns Really Need Tanks to Keep Them Safe?

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 8:11 AM

The people of Davis, California don't think so, as The New York Times reports this week. Their police department is returning the Pentagon's gift of a "mine-resistant, ambush-protected" motorized tank (MRAP). Here's what one of these beasts looks like:


And here's...

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