Summer Reading 2016

So, what are you reading this summer?

My reading is pretty eclectic at the moment.  Here are some of the books at my bedside and in my e-reader:

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – I’m about half way through it, and while I doubt I’ll ever see the Broadway show, I am riveted by this book. I have always had a soft spot for the business-minded Founding Father, but there’s detail here that’s new to me.

The Invention of God by Thomas Römer – I read an article in Haaretz about this book, and now I want to read the book. It’s waiting for me on the e-reader

Felicity: Poems by Mary Oliver – Some of Mary Oliver’s poems are the best sermons around.

Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice by Michael Satlow – I read an article about this book and decided it should be on my reading list. I suspect it will inform my teaching next fall.

Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition by David Sears – More and more, I think compassion is a key concept if we want to live in this planet much longer. I understand that Sears’ is a good book for looking at Torah sources on the subject (Oral and Written) so it’s on my list.

Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong – I think this one is actually a re-read for me, but I find that the junk in the media about Islam confuses my mind, and I need a refresher.

Starting in July, I’m also going to be reading some technical material from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL.) I’m a ham radio operator, but I have let my skills atrophy. My plan is to join a local group of hams who do emergency work, and to do that I need to get my knowledge and skills back in order. I’ll spare you the details. 😉

Are there writers you find unreadable? I just gave up on Hemingway for the umpteenth time. His choppy sentences and puerile attitudes give me headaches. I have very fond memories of his cats on Key West, but otherwise I am not charmed.

What’s on your list? Anything fun? Is there anything you’d like to recommend to others?


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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 and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

13 thoughts on “Summer Reading 2016”

  1. I need something relatively soothing and pleasant before bed so I’m currently reading the Amelia Peabody Egyptology mysteries.

    I want to get Etgar Keret’s new book, The Seven Good Years. I love Keret, especially The Nimrod Flipout.

    I am curious about a new book, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, by Ramona Ausubel. It looks like SUMMER reading.

    On the more intellectual side, I want to read Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes, by Tamim Ansary. I like Ansary and I have the book waiting on my bedside table.

  2. Dear Rabbi Adar,
    I completely understand why you have chosen “The Invention of God”, by Thomas Römer, for your summer readings. The article in Haaretz is fascinating!
    Thanks so much for sharing your list!

    1. I may have to “upgrade” to the hardback edition, if the book is as good as it sounds. Those illustrations in Haaretz were breathtaking!

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Fabio!

  3. I will attempt to cook through “Jewish Cookery” by Leah W. Leonard (Author) first published in 1949.

    I will add: “Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice” by Michael Satlow to my list from your’s.

  4. I just finished reading The Jewish Traveler, edited by Alan Tigay. It covers about 100 cities (Albuquerque to Zurich); one chapter per each, with several pages about that city’s Jewish history and present situation. Although it’s dated, I really enjoyed reading it–it was interesting and I actually learned a lot!

  5. I just finished The Zookeeper’s Wife and if you haven’t read it yet, take a look. I love the is that you and responders have shared. Thanks!

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