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Lev Raphael
Lev Raphael is the author of twenty-five 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, before almost any other American author. His books have been translated into fifteen 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. He's a guest assistant professor of English at Michigan State University whose Special Archives purchased his current and future literary papers.

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. Raphael's web site is Follow him on Twitter @LevRaphael.

Entries by Lev Raphael

Teaching Is Not a Blood Sport

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 9:53 AM

I do a lot of speaking at colleges and universities around the country, and faculty tell me many behind-the-scenes stories. Properly disguised, such stories make great material for my Nick Hoffman academic mystery series: tales of petty infighting, squabbling committees, ridiculous vendettas -- all the simmering snarkiness that...

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Of Course Jake Ballard Was Alive

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2015 | 4:24 PM


Last week Scandal fans saw one of Poppa Pope's assassins stab Jake Ballard in the gut a handful of times and leave him bleeding out on the floor of Olivia's empty office. The moment had deep irony, because Olivia's father is very good...

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Growing Up With the Holocaust as a Writer

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2015 | 9:07 AM

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, but when you grow up with Holocaust survivor parents it's always with you. My father, who survived Bergen-Belsen, was silent about what happened to him until his 80s, when I first interviewed him for my memoir about what it was like for me...

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Hillary Clinton's First Hundred Days

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 8:32 AM

After exhausting secret negotiations, President Clinton announces the first major worldwide nuclear disarmament deal signed by the U.S., Russia, China, North Korea, Israel, India, Pakistan, England, and France in which all countries have pledged to drastically reduce their stocks of nuclear weapons over a five-year period with the ultimate aim...

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15 Howlers from Fifty Shades of Grey

(3) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 3:30 PM

I recently re-read Mark Twain's smackdown of James Fenimore Cooper's dreary 1841 novel The Deerslayer which Twain ends with this barrage: has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they...
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The Return of Ziva David?

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 10:05 AM

I'm one of those NCIS fans who miss Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), so when I saw trailers for The Dovekeepers, I was intrigued.


I'd been to Masada, which is the climax of the story. It's the fortress that close to...

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Lena Dunham's Dog Quiz Is Shameful

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 7:04 AM

If you somehow missed it, Lena Dunham is being excoriated for a 35-question "quiz" she published in the venerable New Yorker last week titled "Dog or Jewish Boyfriend?" where readers had to choose which item best fit whom. It had such hilarious items to ponder as:

8. I...
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Dog or Lena Dunham? A Short Quiz

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2015 | 12:29 PM


Which of the following describes Lena Dunham, which describes my West Highland White Terrier?

1) Over-praised and over-paid.

2) Has a frisky gait.

3) Tiresome and unfunny.

4) Loves sitting in your lap.

5) Pisses people off on a regular basis.

6) Sometimes...

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Shonda Rhimes Mainstreams Gay Marriage

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 12:28 PM

I've been critical of Scandal, one of my favorite shows, when it's sometimes seemed to go off the rails, but this past week night Shonda Rhimes did some powerful cultural work.

Many episodes ago, Cyrus Beene, White House Chief of Staff, got caught in a relationship with a male escort,...

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Why I'm Wild About Looking

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 3:19 PM

It's official. HBO has canceled Looking, a lovingly crafted and beautifully written show about a tight-knit group of friends looking for love and stability in San Francisco. It was subtle and low key and I think that's why it flew under the radar and even garnered an amazing amount of...

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Viral Quote's a Fake

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 10:24 PM

When our youngest son was a song leader back in the 1990s for a Jewish youth group, our favorite song was this one:

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend, And...
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'Downton Abbey' Can Be Dangerous!

(3) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 9:11 AM

Did you ever think being a fanboy could lose you your job?

That's what happened to former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. He wasn't known for his stand on major or even minor issues, but boy, was he known for how he stood: tall, tanned, and hunky.

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Why I Love Looking

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 7:38 AM

Last night's season two finale typified everything I love about this show: Its subtlety.

My spouse and I watch a lot of TV, and a lot of it is high-pitched in different ways in different genres: Game of Thrones, Scandal, The Walking Dead, How to Get Away With Murder,...

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Lena Dunham's Scandal Fail

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 2:00 PM

Lena Dunham may have a huge following on Girls but casting her on Scandal was a huge mistake.

Last night's episode was probably one of the worst ever and an epic fail. Dunham was meant to be a wildly kinky part-time dominatrix whose clientele was powerful Washingtonians, but she...

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Too Many Books, Too Little Time

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 7:48 AM

I recently posted a trailer for The Dovekeepers on Facebook and a friend who knows I review asked what I thought about the book.

I was honest. I said I hadn't read it. Not only that, I had never even heard of it, even though I admire Alice Hoffman.

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Hemingway's Stolen Quotation

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2015 | 7:38 AM

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."

Noble sentiment, right? Lately I've seen it flickering past on Twitter as something Hemingway said. Check and you'll find it on Pinterest and Goodreads as his quote, and anywhere...

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Fifty Shades of Funny

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 9:11 AM

Fifty Shades of Grey has become my feel-good book of the year. Whenever I'm tired or depressed, I just pick it up and flip through the pages, and I'm sure to find prose that will make me laugh. Here are some of my latest faves:

"No longer warm, the temperature...

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Writing Is My Bliss

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 10:50 AM

There's a quote by Flannery O'Connor that often makes 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...
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5 Easy Ways for Authors to Do Killer Readings

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 9:50 AM

T.C. Boyle once said that "Most writers are writers because they are introverts who have chosen a profession in which they don't have to deal with anyone." While it may be painful for them to be out in the public eye, it shouldn't be painful for people to...

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The Inspiring Professor Who Changed My Life

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 8:56 AM

Yesterday was International Women's Day, but I think about the amazing teacher who changed my life just about every day because I wouldn't be the writer, the teacher, or the man I am today if not for her.

I had dreamed of being a writer since I was in second...

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