WORD LISTS

"The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen" by Isaac Blum, Chapters 11–15

October 25, 2022
Following a wave of antisemitic attacks, fifteen-year-old Orthodox Jew Hoodie Rosen faces the ire of his family and community when he falls in love with a non-Jewish girl.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–7, Chapters 8–10, Chapters 11–15
gnarled
There was a dark wooden desk with gnarled feet, two red leather chairs in front of it.
incoherent
But all I could pick up was the occasional “the” or “so.” He ended most of his incoherent sentences with the phrase, “you see, yes?”
sustenance
My usually intense appetite had evaporated like my friendships. But now I went down to the kitchen to see if sustenance could calm me down.
orthodoxy
Think of our orthodoxy like it’s surrounded by walls. Break rules inside the walls, fine. But once you go outside the walls to break the rules, then you’ll be stuck out there, and you might never get back in.
subdued
But suddenly her voice got more subdued. She sounded a little spacy, a little sad.
precipice
You’re standing at the point of no return, on a precipice, looking out on something totally different.
tinny
I pictured that: me incarcerated, Zippy coming to visit me, me staring at her through the thick glass, us talking through the tinny black telephone on the silver cable.
maven
Moshe Tzvi is a maven. He just wants to impress his father.
lathe
If the peg is square, you get one of those lathe machines, and you round that thing.
aback
It took him aback when I dove right into the Talmud.
nonplussed
“Rebbe,” I said, “since the rain has stopped, I was hoping to take you up on the tree walk rain check.”
He was nonplussed.
vicariously
“Fine. I have class. But would you like to take the walk yourself? I’ll meet you in my office in an hour. I can experience the arboriculture vicariously.”
threshold
This time I took the leap across the threshold and sat in the plastic office chair at her desk.
wry
Anna-Marie produced a wry laugh, a laugh without humor.
plaque
“You find me interesting? Am I like something in a museum, behind a display case? So, what? Now that you’ve looked at me and read my little plaque, you can move on to the next exhibit?”
prone
I got even lower down on the floor, into the prone position, and began to shimmy along the floor toward the window.
embed
The bullet travels through the air, and embeds itself in its target, except when the target is very soft and/or thin, in which case it passes through the target until it meets something more substantial.
substantial
The bullet travels through the air, and embeds itself in its target, except when the target is very soft and/or thin, in which case it passes through the target until it meets something more substantial.
din
Over the din of the gunshots, the second shooter had noticed the window breaking.
hunky-dory
If she'd been shot twice, she wouldn’t be telling me everything was all hunky-dory.
radicalize
The shooters had been radicalized into an antisemitic religious group.
crafty
They’d read about Tregaron on the news, how the Jews were invading, taking over the town, staging antisemitic violence to manipulate the media narrative in their favor, as those crafty Jews are wont to do.
manifesto
The manifesto explained how the shooters were helping preserve the purity of the human race by exterminating Jews.
wispy
Their cheeks are pressed together, his wispy mustache against the side of her nose.
naive
Only two people who saw the photo knew the full story, that he was in love with her, that she had just rejected his love, that in his despair he’d gone to get potato chips. That she had been angry at him for being so naive and at her mother for being so controlling, that in her anger she had gone to get some British Starburst.
pundit
People talked about Anna-Marie and me like we’d staged the photo to encourage people to get along with each other, like we’d paused in our communal bleeding to pose for a photo op. One pundit described the shot as a “blurry portrait of the universal humanity to which hate and violence reduces us.”
proxy
We laid the boards out on the floor, and somebody would play as my proxy, rolling the dice for me, moving my pieces.
conspicuous
There were lots of people who were conspicuously absent.
stonewall
It would look too bad if they still stonewalled the project.
revel
But there was a part of him that couldn’t help but revel in his victory.
nominal
In what appeared to be slow motion, the ancient rabbi reached out toward me. When he touched my hand, I expected him to disintegrate like an old yellowed piece of paper. But he stayed intact, in the same nominally alive state he’d been in the moment before.
undue
I didn’t mean to cause any undue stress. I’ll go wait outside.
wistfully
“I’ve always wanted a sister,” she said wistfully.
refined
“She’s an acquired taste,” I explained, “for the refined palate. She’s the connoisseur’s sibling. And she doubles as an effective guard dog.”
connoisseur
“She’s an acquired taste,” I explained, “for the refined palate. She’s the connoisseur’s sibling. And she doubles as an effective guard dog.”
novelty
I hadn’t prayed when I was barely conscious in the ICU, and nothing horrible had happened to me. I thought maybe I’d skip it, even if it was just for the novelty.
rabid
It’s like, if I were bit by a rabid raccoon right now, and I started just, like, foaming at the mouth, I wouldn’t have to worry about any of it. It would all be out of my hands. And it would be easier. I could just start dancing with you, and nobody would care, because it wouldn’t be my choice anymore, due to my rabidity.
tentative
She took a tentative sip and grimaced. “That is way too sweet.”
vitriol
With the Wi-Fi, I'd gotten used to seeing the news, scrolling through commentary, reading the antisemitic vitriol of internet trolls.
tendril
I totally “forgot” to set a timer and only “remembered” when I saw the smoke coming out of the oven in little tendrils.

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