Beau­ti­ful Coun­try: A Mem­oir by Qian Julie Wang

This debut mem­oir by the founder of the Jews of Col­or group at Cen­tral Syn­a­gogue cap­tures a child­hood in New York City as an undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant. Qian Julie Wang’s depic­tion of her jar­ring dis­lo­ca­tion from Chi­na and dai­ly hunger in the US; her alter­nate­ly painful and sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships with par­ents, friends, and teach­ers; and the com­fort she finds in books are vis­cer­al and deeply mov­ing. It’s a book as beau­ti­ful as its title.

A Play for the End for the World by Jai Chakrabarti

At our annu­al JBC Net­work con­fer­ence, I was fas­ci­nat­ed to hear Jai Chakrabar­ti speak about a play he had per­formed in ele­men­tary school in India – and which he lat­er found out had been per­formed by chil­dren in the War­saw Ghet­to in a hero­ic effort to raise morale. This dis­cov­ery was the inspi­ra­tion for A Play for the End of the World, which I can’t wait to read when it comes out this September. 

Peo­ple Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunt­ed Present by Dara Horn

I’m eager to read acclaimed nov­el­ist Dara Horn’s new book, Peo­ple Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunt­ed Present, a col­lec­tion of inten­tion­al­ly provoca­tive essays about anti­semitism in which Horn debunks myths as well as revered tropes that actu­al­ly harm the Jew­ish people.

Tun­nels by Rutu Modan

As a long-time fan of Rutu Modan’s work, I’m eager to dive into her newest graph­ic nov­el, Tun­nels, which explores con­tem­po­rary Israeli life through the sto­ry of an arche­o­log­i­cal expe­di­tion to uncov­er the Ark of the Covenant. Lay­ered in mean­ing, with rich illus­tra­tions com­ple­ment­ing the tex­tu­al nar­ra­tive, Tun­nels fea­tures a cast of char­ac­ters that includes a fam­i­ly of arche­ol­o­gists, an antiq­ui­ties col­lec­tor, a reli­gious nation­al­ist and his fol­low­ers, and a Pales­tin­ian arche­o­log­i­cal smug­gler, all against the back­drop of Mid­dle East­ern politics.

At Night’s End by Nir Baram, trans­lat­ed by Jes­si­ca Cohen

Nir Baram’s At Night’s End hinges on both mys­tery and emo­tion to keep read­ers engaged. In recon­struct­ing days he can­not remem­ber at a lit­er­ary fes­ti­val he doesn’t recall attend­ing, writer Yonatan reflects on his dark past with his best friend, who he is con­vinced is on the verge of death. The plot is intrigu­ing, and the char­ac­ters’ rela­tion­ships even more so.

Whis­tle: A New Gotham City Hero by E. Lock­hart, illus­trat­ed by Manuel Preitano

Join­ing the DC uni­verse is six­teen-year-old Wil­low Zim­mer­man. Work­ing hard to pay her mother’s med­ical bills, main­tain friend­ships, and stay active pur­su­ing social jus­tice caus­es, Wil­low finds her­self drawn into the dark and lucra­tive under­bel­ly of Down Riv­er, her beloved city. Strik­ing illus­tra­tions, paired with lush prose have me very excit­ed to read more about this Jew­ish hero! 

An Obser­vant Wife by Nao­mi Ragen

I can’t wait to dive into the sequel to Nao­mi Ragen’s propul­sive An Unortho­dox Match; this book con­tin­ues the sto­ry of new­ly­weds Leah and Yaakov as they strug­gle to nav­i­gate their rela­tion­ship with­in their tight-knit ultra-Ortho­dox community. 

Defend­ing Brit­ta Stein by Ronald H. Balson

I am look­ing for­ward to read­ing Defend­ing Brit­ta Stein. Although his works are fic­tion, Ronald H. Bal­son helps us take a peak into the past; in this lat­est nov­el we learn the his­to­ry of wartime Denmark.