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Lev Raphael
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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 http://www.levraphael.com. Follow him on Twitter @LevRaphael.

Entries by Lev Raphael

Genre Snobs Are Everywhere

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2016 | 5:34 PM

Among my twenty-five books are eight academic mysteries I had tremendous fun researching and writing. That fun's never been spoiled by hearing someone say, "Oh, I don't read mysteries! There's nothing to them!" They sometimes add, "And most of them are badly written."

Why don't I get annoyed?...

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Remembering My Father's Cooking

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2016 | 9:20 AM

Even though Father's Day is about six months off from Hannukah, it always makes me think of my father's potato pancakes.

Made in a large, battered cast iron pan, these latkes were always perfect: crisp outside, juicy inside, delicious whether with sour cream, sugar, apple sauce, or just plain. My...

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Meaningful Gun Control Is Doomed To Fail

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 8:03 AM

So now we've had "the worst shooting on U.S. soil" according to the New York Times and other media. This mass shooting was a terror attack and a hate crime.

Millions of people are once again asking when we'll have meaningful gun control.

It's not likely...

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Best-selling Author Keeps Complaining

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2016 | 7:40 AM

You think your life is hard?

Like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, novelist Jennifer Weiner just can't get any respect. It's become her shtick as an author.

The Princeton grad and perennial best-selling author is complaining once again about how the "snobs" in the literary world look down on her...

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Leonardo DiCaprio Will Play a Persian Poet. Seriously?

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 7:59 AM

There's been plenty of outrage about casting Leo as the celebrated Persian poet Rumi. Here we go, another example of Hollywood's quiet racism, of "whitewashing."

But it makes sense if you imagine the conversation between the screenwriter and his agent.

"I'm doing a screenplay about Rumi."

...
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Are Pulitzer Winners Always Worth Reading?

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 12:25 PM

I was at a dinner of publishing professionals recently when a book came up that I said I hadn't enjoyed. The response was: "It won the Pulitzer."

I think that was supposed to put me in my place and end the discussion.

But prizes can be political--I've heard this from...

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Donald Trump Talks Like a Loser

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 8:31 AM

Trump may be a successful businessman, and he's done a great job taking over the Republican party by beating 16 other candidates.

But there's one thing he isn't: an emotional adult.

If you've ever had little kids or been around them, one thing you know is that they often whine...

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Why Do People Post BS On Facebook?

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2016 | 4:22 PM

Recently I was telling friends about having taken a Facebook vacation for a month, partly because of the sniping between Sanders and Clinton camps, and partly because of all the junk that shows up nonstop.

I'm not just talking about the soppy quotes attributed to Mark Twain...

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How Anthony Wiener Could Have Saved His Career

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2016 | 7:19 AM

The American poet John Greenleaf Whitter had some wise words in the 19th century that remarkably apply to everyone who tweets first and thinks afterwards:

"For of all sad words of tongue or pen,/The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

Watching the Wiener documentary making the...

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G.I.s Saved My Father from the Nazis

(16) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 11:08 AM

In early April 1945, my father was packed into a train with 2,500 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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How CNN Helps Spoil Our Elections

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 10:35 AM

There are lots of pretty faces on that major news network, but not much thoughtfulness or insight for anyone following the race for the presidency.

It's not just the typical obsession with who's ahead and who's behind moment-to-moment, or the endless broadcasting of political goofs and wondering how they might...

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Prince Deserved a Better Tribute

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 12:40 PM

There've been lots of people defending Madonna's tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards. They point out that she wore a flashy suit and there was a purple chair. Wasn't that well-staged?

Yeah, right, as if Prince was only about what things looked like.

Her singing was dull...

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Does Facebook Make You Narrow-Minded?

(2) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM

That's the thrust of Frank Bruni's thoughtful column in the New York Times where he references social psychologists to assert that we're turning into "culturally and ideologically inflexible tribes."

By bookmarking given blogs and personalizing social-media feeds, we customize the news we consume and the political beliefs we're exposed to...
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My Museum Love Affair

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 8:26 AM

May 18th was International Museum Day and it made me think how lucky I was growing up in Manhattan. My parents took me to art museums there on a regular basis starting from when I was in elementary school. My first museum memory is of crawling through the legs of...

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"Scandal" Loves Skewering the GOP

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2016 | 6:13 AM

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Scandal is wild and addictive. And it's so easy to be dazzled by the sex, political wrangling, high-speed dialogue, and flashy camera work that you can sometimes forget it's a blistering satire of the Republican Party.

That's right. Shonda Rhimes' main target...

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9 Reasons Why Michelle Obama Should Be Our Next Vice President

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 8:59 AM

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, there's only one person in the U.S. who should join the ticket: Michelle Obama.

She's very popular.

She would bring diversity to the ticket.

She has wit, grace, style, passion, and fierce intelligence.

She's met many world leaders and seen diplomacy...

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Why is Gene Simmons Dissing Prince?

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 6:31 AM

Interviewed in Newsweek about the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, Gene Simmons of Kiss called Bowie's death "tragic."

But when it came to Prince, he had a very different assessment:

"His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?....how pathetic that he killed...

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Game of Thrones: Health Hazard?

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2016 | 3:02 PM

It's apparently bad for children's brains.

That's according to Graeme Whiting, a British private school teacher getting a lot of attention for claiming that George R.R. Martin's books, along with the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, are dangerous. They're "bad for the...

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In Defense of Prince

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 8:24 PM

The latest news about Prince is that he was getting help from experts in dealing with addiction to pain killers.

But as soon as he died, I read lots of on-line speculation about him being a drug abuser. Today I read that his death was the kind of...

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Holocaust Survivors' Son Finds Peace Writing About Germany

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2016 | 10:27 PM

Fans often ask me at readings which of my many books is my favorite. The answer doesn't pop up immediately, because I've published in many genres: memoir, mystery, literary novel, short story collections, psychology, biography/literary criticism, historical fiction, Jane Austen mash-up, vampire, writer's guide, and essay collections.

I love them...

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