Summer and vacation are on their way, and I am looking for some entertaining light reading. Here is my offer: I’m going to suggest some books with Jewish content that I have enjoyed recently in hopes that the denizens of the newly-lively comments section (you know who you are*) can suggest other books. Then we’ll all have a nice list for prowling the used book store or the library or the e-book shops.
Why specifically Jewish reading? There are lots of lists online for finding generic beach books and pleasure reading. Let’s make this the list that is harder to find: Jewish-themed pleasure reading – doesn’t have to be recent, it just needs to be something you’ve enjoyed.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – This book won a Pulitzer in 2001 for telling a story about young comic book writers among the Jewish immigrants of NYC.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon – What if the Arab armies had succeeded in extinguishing Israel in 1948? What if Jews had been given a limited lease on a sliver of Alaska as a temporary refuge and the lease was about to run out? What if this story were structured as a whodunit?
Rashi’s Daughters, Books I, II, and III by Maggie Anton – Historical fiction about the three daughters of the most famous commentator in Jewish history.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok – A classic story about two fathers and two sons in NYC in the 1940’s. If you are in the habit of referring to “The Orthodox” and think they are all more or less alike, this is one way to learn better. I will not list all his other fiction in this list, but anything he wrote is good.
As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg – This novel brings the sages of the Talmud to life.
The Saturday Morning Murder by Batya Gur – This is the first in a series of murder mysteries by Israeli writer Batya Gur. Her hero, Chief Inspector Michael Ohayon, is a likeable Israeli of Moroccan descent. Six of the mysteries are available in English translation.
Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn – This is the first in a mystery series which features a rabbi’s widow, Ruby, as the protagonist. The series is fun and quite authentic: the author was married to a rabbi for 31 years.
So, nu? What books do you suggest? What have I missed? I await your comments!
*You need not have commented before to recommend a book. In fact, it would be a special treat to get recommendations from readers who have thus far been silent.