The Jewish Book Council staff shares what we’ve been reading over the last month:
How did the small country of Israel, with a population of only six million, become a leader in the development of new technology being deployed on the battlefield? The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Become a High-Tech Military Superpower by Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot addresses this question and more about Israel’s success.
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain traces the lives of two boys through their adulthood in Switzerland during WWII from very different lives. One is a boy who becomes a hotel owner and the other a hopeful Jewish concert pianist. Their story is about love, lost, anti-Semitism and lifetime of friendship. I found this a very moving story that I couldn’t put down.
Although Gavriel Savit’s Anna and the Swallow Man was originally touted as a YA book, it certainly appropriate for an adult. The writing is very sophisticated and the story captured my attention.
Beautifully written by a gifted storyteller, Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb explores complex times and characters in post-Holocaust Georgia through characters you will come to love.
I really enjoyed reading Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year, as both a memoir and as an exploration of the Jewish year. Abigail has a great voice, and, even though I came in knowing a lot about the holidays, I learned new things and read some really interesting interpretations from the rabbis that she interviewed.
Daphne Merkin chronicles her lifelong battle with clinical depression in This Close to Happy, a moving, lucid, and ultimately hopeful memoir.
Reading Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank is something of a rite of passage for the Jewish Book Council staff. I’m delighted to be initiated!
Schadenfreude, A Love Story is the hilarious and insightful memoir of an angsty, half-Jewish teenager who becomes obsessed with Kafka and all things German. As someone who has lived in Germany for a short time, I couldn’t get enough of Schuman’s loving, snarky, spot-on observations — and I think any reader would find her story just as enjoyable as I did.
Publishing George Prochnik’s Visiting Scribe essays on his new biography of Gershom Scholem, Stranger in a Strange Land, reminded me what a privilege it is to edit a series that invites authors to share deeply personal reflections on what it means to be a Jewish writer — and to be Jewish, period.
I grabbed a copy of Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen to read over a recent trip — I couldn’t put it down!