Author, Author: New books by Bay Area writers

Over the course of his esteemed academic career, literary scholar Herbert S. Lindenberger has written extensively on literature, music and cultural history (and reaped several prestigious awards in the process). In his newly published “One Family’s Shoah: Victimization, Resistance, Survival in Nazi Europe,” the Avalon Foundation professor of humanities emeritus at Stanford University turns the focus inward.

Not so much on himself, though he offers plenty of personal reflection as he seeks to come to terms with the fate of his family in the Holocaust. But even more so, Lindenberger recounts the experiences of family members who suffered or died in the Holocaust, and of those fortunate enough to escape.

No simple chronological memoir, “One Family’s Shoah” is built around seven “gerunds”: deceiving, memorializing, interpreting, liberating, surviving, compensating and repositioning. Gerunds, Lindenberger explains in the preface, suggest processes that don’t want to end or cannot be neatly resolved. The stories he tells linger in the mind.

The San Francisco writer challenges readers to think deeply about the Holocaust — and from some unexpected perspectives.

“One Family’s Shoah: Victimization, Resistance, Survival in Nazi Europe”
by Herbert Lindenberger (240 pages, Palgrave Macmillan, $28)

Israeli-born San Francisco resident Benjamin Hollander is a poet  and author. His unusual new book, “In the House-Un-American,” ponders values. To be exact, Hollander explores “American” vs. “un-American” values and what defines them.

Rather than launch forth directly, Hollander conducts his study through the fictional character Carlos. Thrown into this unconventional novel are references to real people past and present, from Barack Obama and Ron Paul to Bertolt Brecht and Hannah Arendt. Add in some verse, famous quotations and even footnotes, and voila: “In the House Un-American.”

“In the House Un-American” by Benjamin Hollander (152 pages, Interlink Publishing, $15)

On a much lighter note is Michael Castleman’s “Killer Weed.” The fourth in his Ed Rosenberg series,  “Killer Weed” is a fun murder mystery replete with hippies, marijuana and the fog of San Francisco, Castleman’s hometown.

In addition to his mysteries, Castleman is a medical journalist and the author of 12 consumer health and sexuality books. “”Killer Weed” is due for publication this month.
“Killer Weed” by Michael Castleman (282 pages, MP Publishing, $14.95)