Don’t wait until Sunday: the William H. Hannon Library’s longest-running program – the popular Sunday Jewish Book and Discussion Group – is meeting Wednesday, Aug. 3, for a special gathering to discuss the short story “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen.
The virtual discussion will be facilitated on Zoom by Lisa Silverman, recipient of the 2022 Fanny Goldstein Merit Award Winner from the Association of Jewish Libraries. RSVP by contacting Rhonda Rosen at email@example.com or 310.338.4584.
“Is ironing simply a lost art or is it a wonderful way to think, to dream, to wonder?,” said Rosen, programming and exhibitions librarian for the Hannon Library. “Tillie Olsen’s short story is a meandering journey of what it means to be a parent, of the good times and the bad times, the good decisions, the bad decisions, what could have been and what should have been — all in six pages.”
Established in fall 2008 with a small grant from the American Library Association, the Sunday Jewish Book Group brings together readers who share an interest in Jewish literature, history, and cultures. The program has attracted hundreds of faculty and staff members, students, and Los Angeles community members over the past decade to discuss more than 75 books, films, and short stories. Participation is free, and the group is open to the public. A list of upcoming sessions is available on the events page.
“I Stand Here Ironing” was a classic almost from the moment it appeared in “Best American Short Stories of 1957.” In the story, written in startlingly poetic prose, established domestic experiences become compelling subjects for fiction. Readers don’t just inhabit the mind of the narrator, a woman reflecting during housework on her daughter’s childhood and her own experience as a mother: Her story distills big issues into seemingly simple domestic tales.
New participants can access a narration of the story here. Silverman is the former director of the Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Known nationally and internationally as an expert on Jewish children’s literature, Silverman was recently the co-editor of children and teen book reviews for AJL Reviews and served as the children’s editor for Jewish Book World magazine for six years. She was the children’s book reviewer for the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles for many years and has published numerous reviews in other magazines such as School Library Journal, Catholic Library World, and Five Owls.