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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

Who's to Blame for Your So-Called Career? Surprise!

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 3:35 PM

Writers like Malcolm Gladwell have been pushing the notion that all you need to become a genius or even an expert at just about anything is work. Do I hear RuPaul?

They've been so persuasive psychologist Ellen Winner says it's now widely believed that if parents put in...

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A Commencement Speech Isn't Free Speech

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 1:03 PM

I've done hundreds of public talks of all kinds, including after-dinner speeches and keynote addresses for international conferences, and I've watched the whole uproar about commencement speakers being uninvited this past spring with disappointment.

Why? Because the discussion has been so consistently wrongheaded.

One thread that comes up over and...

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Novels Do Not Need Warning Labels

(12) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 2:59 PM

There's a growing move on college campuses across the country to warn students that novels might threaten their mental health.

Specifically, they might contain "triggers" -- that is, material that might upset students or "cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans."

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My Mother's Inspiration

(7) Comments | Posted May 11, 2014 | 8:43 AM

When I was publishing literary short stories in the 1980s, my absurdly well-read, multilingual mother urged me more than once to write for a wider audience. She was right, though it took me a while to see that. Once I started a mystery series, my audience grew and so did...

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Is Game of Thrones Really Sexist and Racist?

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 11:12 AM

Writing in The Guardian, Danielle Harrison says that she gave up watching Game of Thrones at the end of Season Three because of the scene where Daenerys is acclaimed as their Mother by the Yunkai whom she has freed from bondage. Referencing "the visual impact of slavery," she...

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Publishing Can Be Hell--But it Can Be Heaven, Too

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 12:03 PM

In its wisdom, Amazon is currently my novel The Germany Money for a special promotion on Kindle.

I'm glad they chose it because the book is one of my favorites for many reasons. The story of children of a Holocaust survivor arguing on the Upper West Side...

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Bible Pests

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 9:23 PM

Recounting the Ten Plagues at Passover makes me think of a contemporary plague we've been seeing in full force just this past week: Bible pests.

Whether they think every word in the Bible is literally true or it's all fiction, Bible Pests are everywhere.

They were swarming this week in...

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Bible Nudniks

(3) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 12:48 PM

Whether they think every word in the Bible is true and want to beat you over the head with it, or every word in it is false and it has to be ripped to shreds to show how rational they are, Bible Nudniks are everywhere.

Catastrophes, natural events, and holidays...

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Take the Time to Know Your Students, Even If You're Famous

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 10:25 AM

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni just wrote a column about our fractured media culture in which he mentioned how disappointed he was that his Princeton students didn't stir when he mentioned the film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Really? This surprised him? I admire Bruni. He's witty...

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The Walking Dead's Finale Was a Major Fail

(89) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 2:04 PM

[Here be spoilers!] I've been writing and reviewing mysteries and thrillers for two decades, but I usually don't catch coming plot twists unless they're very obvious.

So I've been watching this past season of The Walking Dead with dread as a writer and a viewer. I've been hoping it wasn't...

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Was Pat Robertson Stoned?

(6) Comments | Posted March 29, 2014 | 9:05 AM

Bloviating TV minister Pat Robertson is known for his hateful and ignorant comments about gay people, but this week he veered into pure silliness when talking about marriage equality:

I think you've got to remember from the Bible, you look carefully at the Bible what would have happened...
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Mitch Albom's Blind Spot on Marriage Equality

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 1:40 PM

Writing in response to U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman's historic ruling last Friday that voided Michigan's homophobic ban on same-sex marriage, Mitch Albom recently asked in The Detroit Free Press if we were better off for the ruling.

Of course he meant it rhetorically. He clearly thinks we're not, and...

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Mitch Albom Thinks Marriage Equality Undermines Marriage

(8) Comments | Posted March 23, 2014 | 10:45 AM

In response to Judge Friedman's ruling last Friday that voided Michigan's homophobic ban on same-sex marriage, best selling author Mitch Albom asks in The Detroit Free Press if we're better off for the ruling.

It's an astonishing question, but I'm not surprised that a rich, married...

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Dissing Other Authors Can Be Dangerous--Or Not

(2) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 7:42 AM

When I was first starting out as a published author, and before my first book was published, a famous writer at an awards banquet offered me unsolicited advice about launching a career.

"Don't attack your peers in public," he said. And he grimly added without explanation, "It'll come back to...

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Writing Is My Business, But So Is Business

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 9:45 AM

My father had a small business that I thought imprisoned him, and as a kid, I swore I would never "do retail" as I thought of it.

Boy, was I wrong. As an author, I wound up owning my own small business and it's as vulnerable to competition and the...

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Author

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 9:12 AM

I've done hundreds of talks and readings from my books across the U.S. and Canada, and in Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France and Israel.

When I'm picked up on tour at a train station or airport, one of the most frequent questions is a rhetorical one: "This must be pretty...

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Giving Up on Downton Abbey

(2) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 8:01 AM

I've always been an Anglophile, reading heavily in English literature, history and culture even before I became an English major in college.

At that point, my New Zealand-born girlfriend turned me on to Monty Python and Masterpiece Theater and I was a total Upstairs, Downstairs junkie. If only we'd had...

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The Latest Publishing Wisdom: Authors Need to Shop Themselves 'Til They Drop

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2014 | 8:53 AM

I've been publishing books since 1990 in many genres with different publishers and have seen wave after wave of answers to the question "What will sell this book?"

Once it was believed that author tours could do it. Or advertising in the right media. Author web sites and newsletters for...

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Jennifer Weiner Is a Genius at Self-Promotion

(2) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 10:03 AM

How many authors of commercial fiction do you know who get huge, glowing profiles in the New Yorker?

Well, Jennifer Weiner just did, as she continues to ride her successful hobbyhorse about not getting respect. When she even feels attacked by literary novelists like Claire Messud, this...

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Somebody Left Downton Abbey's Cake Out in the Rain

(20) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 7:16 AM

Whatever happened to the witty, sparkling show that surprised and charmed so many of us when it first debuted? The champagne has gone completely flat.

Yesterday's two-hour snooze fest lacked drama and wit, taking its dour tone from Zombie Lady Mary. Most of the characters seemed to be sleep-walking through...

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