With sum­mer near­ly upon us, the JBC staff is excit­ed to dive into some incred­i­ble reads. From thrilling real-life capers to sur­re­al short sto­ries set in Israel, we have your sum­mer read­ing covered!

I’m check­ing out Jonathan Sant­lofer­’s The Last Mona Lisa—I’ve always been fas­ci­nat­ed by the art world.

I real­ly like con­tem­po­rary Israeli fic­tion, so I’m start­ing Jerusalem Beach, a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries by Iddo Gefen. The book won a major prize in Israel when it came out in 2017, and it’s being com­pared to Etgar Keret, whose work I love.

On my sum­mer read­ing list: Mari­na Jarre’s mem­oir Dis­tant Fathers, trans­lat­ed from the Ital­ian by one of Jew­ish Book Council’s favorite trans­la­tors, Ann Gold­stein (of The Neapoli­tan Nov­els and The Com­plete Works of Pri­mo Levi). I had pre­vi­ous­ly been unfa­mil­iar with Jarre — born in Riga in 1925, and exiled to Italy from 1935 until her death in 2016 — and this work promis­es to explore ques­tions of time, lan­guage, wom­an­hood, belong­ing, estrange­ment, and homeland.”

So many fas­ci­nat­ing graph­ic mem­oirs about body image have come out recent­ly, and I can’t wait to add Chunky by Yehu­di Mer­ca­do — a whim­si­cal mid­dle-grade sto­ry about a Mex­i­can Jew­ish boy torn between base­ball and com­e­dy — to my pile.

I’m sink­ing into Joshua Henkin’s new nov­el, Morn­ing­side Heights, set in the 1970’s at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty. I love his writ­ing and this one sounds par­tic­u­lar­ly mov­ing. Check out a con­ver­sa­tion with the author on this lat­est work here.

I’m excit­ed to dive into Ava Reid’s The Wolf and the Woods­man—a haunt­ing look at pow­er, mag­ic, and per­son­al auton­o­my set in a world seeped in Jew­ish folk­lore. And take a look at the author’s expla­na­tion of why her nov­el can’t be labeled a fairy tale retelling

I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing The Hid­den Palace by Helene Weck­er. It has so many appeal­ing ele­ments: folk­lore, mag­ic, romance, mys­tery, and a his­tor­i­cal set­ting. Check out the first chap­ter here

I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing Last Sum­mer at the Gold­en Hotel. My fam­i­ly used to talk about the Catskills all the time! Get the inside scoop on the author’s inspi­ra­tion for the nov­el here

I love Dahlia Adler’s voice and sto­ry­telling, and in Cool for the Sum­mer she is in top form — her writ­ing is so engag­ing, you won’t want the book to end! Fol­low Lara as she gets every­thing (and every­one!) she thinks she wants, only to dis­cov­er she might need some­one else entire­ly. And check out an inter­view with the author here.

Raf­fi Berg’s Red Sea Spies: The True Sto­ry of Mossad’s Fake Div­ing ResortI saw the movie now I want to read the real story.

I look for­ward to read­ing the recent book by PEN Amer­i­ca CEO Suzanne Nos­sel, Dare to Speak: Defend­ing Free Speech for All. I’d like to learn more about this com­pli­cat­ed, urgent subject.

Simona is the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s man­ag­ing edi­tor of dig­i­tal con­tent and mar­ket­ing. She grad­u­at­ed from Sarah Lawrence Col­lege with a con­cen­tra­tion in Eng­lish and His­to­ry and stud­ied abroad in India and Eng­land. Pri­or to the JBC she worked at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press. Her writ­ing has been fea­tured in LilithThe Nor­mal School, Dig­ging through the Fat, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She holds an MFA in fic­tion from The New School.