Inde­pen­dent Book­store Day is this week­end! If you’re vis­it­ing your local book­store to sup­port your local lit­er­ary anchor on Sat­ur­day — or any day of the week — let us be your guide: check out the books Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s staff rec­om­mends to our read­ers for April 2017!

Want to browse past staff picks? Scroll through our month­ly lists of rec­om­mend­ed reads or browse our staff libraries!


Dis­obe­di­ence: A Nov­el by Nao­mi Alder­man extreme­ly inter­est­ing sto­ry of a young woman who fled her ultra-Ortho­dox life, only return for the first time after the death of her father, the head rab­bi of a Lon­don Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. This sto­ry deals with her re-con­nec­tion of what was and how she deals with this past and her cur­rent life. I high­ly sug­gest this thor­ough­ly thought-pro­vok­ing book. Can’t wait to see how they make this into an upcom­ing movie!


In Joshua Cohen’s Mov­ing Kings, two direc­tion­less Israelis, Yoav and Uri, have just com­plet­ed their army ser­vice and get jobs work­ing in Yoav’s uncle’s mov­ing com­pa­ny in Queens. Cohen’s por­tray­al of the grim, grit­ty, often bru­tal world they inhab­it — and the one they inhab­it­ed in the IDF — is bold­ly drawn in what is often insane­ly insight­ful and mor­dant­ly fun­ny prose. Hard-hit­ting and enter­tain­ing, this is Cohen’s most acces­si­ble nov­el yet.


The Tinc­ture of Time: a Mem­oir of (Med­ical) Uncer­tain­ty by Eliz­a­beth L. Sil­ver is one of the most poignant and thought-pro­vok­ing mem­oirs I’ve read. As an infant, Sil­ver’s daugh­ter has an unex­plained brain bleed. While she relent­less­ly seek med­ical answers, Sil­ver also looks for solace in reli­gion, lit­er­a­ture, his­to­ry, and the law. All of these ref­er­ences are fas­ci­nat­ing, but none can pro­vide com­plete reas­sur­ance — much like the book itself. This mem­oir is a beau­ti­ful explo­ration of sit­u­a­tions in which the only thing that can pro­vide a def­i­nite answer is time.


After the Fire by Lau­ren Belfer is a great read for book clubs — it even won the Book Club cat­e­go­ry in the 2016 Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award — as it rais­es all sorts of larg­er ques­tions about oblig­a­tion, reli­gion, cul­ture and art, and responsibilities.


I’m head-over-heels in love with Elan Mastai’s sci­ence fic­tion nov­el All Our Wrong Todays, the chron­i­cles of a hap­less acci­den­tal time trav­el­er from the world we were sup­posed to have,” 2016. Mas­tai fus­es humor with poignan­cy, human foible with hero­ism in a cast of flawed, sym­pa­thet­ic char­ac­ters hur­tled toward and away from one anoth­er by the full range from pas­sion to the pet­ti­est of pur­suits. Steered by a series of suc­ces­sive fail­ures and fail-safes, the nov­el takes read­ers on a rare, cap­ti­vat­ing caper across the chan­nels of time, deft­ly hint­ing at the inevitable with­out expos­ing the unfore­seen — or rely­ing on cheap plot twists.

I’m also in the mid­dle of Sono­ra: A Nov­el by Han­nah Lil­lith Assa­di, a hazy yet cut­ting account of ado­les­cence and dis­place­ment in the Ari­zona desert, where the daugh­ter of a Pales­tin­ian father and Israeli moth­er dis­cov­ers sex, drugs, dreams, and pre­mo­ni­tions of death.




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