What I’m Reading Now

bookI’m down with back problems at the moment, on orders not to sit too much. My posts will be limited until things improve. In the meantime, here’s what I’m reading lately on my e-reader:

Just finished The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor by Joel M. Hoffman. This is a wonderful book by an author who genuinely knows his subject. There is so much garbage available about “bible codes” and “secret books” and such nonsense, Dr. Hoffman’s scholarship and readability are a fresh breath. If you crave “Bible secrets,” check him out. He has real secrets to tell.

I’m just starting Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder. I originally learned of it from a current Intro student, who recommended it highly. I did some quick online research on Dr. Snyder (distinguished scholar at Yale, widely respected for his scholarship, check!) and the reviews of the book (most agree it’s top notch scholarship) and I bought my copy. I’ll let you know what I think.

Also on my reading table (I like to keep a lot of things going at once, always have):

Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea by Reuven Firestone. Full disclosure: Rabbi Dr. Firestone is one of my favorite and most-admired teachers at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, the Professor of Medieval Judaism and Islam there and President Elect of the International Qur’anic Studies Association. I took every class he offered while I was at HUC/LA, and when he publishes a book, I read it. If you’d like to get to know him a bit, I recommend this article from the Forward.

Body Respect: What Conventional Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight, by Linda Bacon, PhD, and Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD. Linda Bacon’s previous book,  Health at Every Size, was a game-changer for me as a fat woman. I’m looking forward to reading this new book.

You’ll recognize these books, which I have in hardback on my study table at the moment. I listed them in a previous post about Passover reading:

Arnow, David and others, My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts & Modern Commentaries, (2 vols) These volumes, like those from the popular series My People’s Prayer Book open up the haggadah in multiple ways for learners.

Tabory, Joseph and Stern, David: The JPS Commentary on the Haggadah. This is a heavy-duty scholarly commentary on the haggadah, not for beginners or the faint of heart, but very satisfying for some.

OK, my time is up. I apologize for any typos and will come back and fix them when I have “sitting time.”

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

10 thoughts on “What I’m Reading Now”

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your back. Here’s wishing you a r’fuah shleimah.

    I love Joel Hoffman’s work! We had the opportunity to hear him speak when our community invited him a while back. He’s a charming, witty presenter, and it was a wonderful evening that afforded this religion major the opportunity to geek out in a most refreshing way.

  2. Thanks so much. I am getting samples on my kindle…great way to start…but, alas no place for the author to sign!
    I do hope you start to feel some relief soon. If you can manage to be patient…or a patient patient, that often helps backs to resolve. Not always easy to hold back! Take good care.

  3. For your e-reader, you simply get a Sharpie in a contrasting color and get the authors to sign the carrying case! When that fills up, you get a new one and continue. I’ve been doing this for several years, and none of the authors bats an eye — they’re all used to it by now. I’m on my second cover.

      1. I was in an autograph line behind a woman with one right after I got mine in 2011. It’s so simple, I don’t know why more of us didn’t think of it! I started doing it immediately and by 2012, authors were fairly blase about it, and by 2013 they just asked where you wanted their signature.

        I get warm fuzzies every time I see the full cover. I asked them to sign in straight lines, so I was able to fit 27 signatures on there. One of them has since passed away, so that’s a bit melancholy, but it’s a nice memory of him.

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