Summer Reading List, 2018

Image: Person sitting in a chair looking at an e-reader. (pexels/pixabay)

In the summertime, I catch up on reading. Some of it is professional, and some is just fun. Here’s my list, in no particular order.


Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright.

White Like Me: Reflections on Race by a Privileged Son by Tim Wise.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Thurston

Cultures of the Jews: A New History  ed. David Biale

Hasidism: A New History by David Biale, et al.

Shady Characters & Other Typographical Marks, by Keith Houston.

Prairie Fires: the American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.

What’s on your summer reading list? Do you plan your reading list, or just read what looks interesting when you are ready for a new book? How do you choose your reading?



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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.

10 thoughts on “Summer Reading List, 2018”

  1. My reading list is always dependent on what shows up first from my reserve list at the library, some of which are not yet published, and some I’ve been waiting many months to work my way to the top. In between, I read whatever I find attractive on my own shelves.

      1. Martha Wells’ Artificial Condition, the second of the Murderbot Diaries. The first one, All Systems Red, was engaging and entertaining and suspenseful , and also examined how ethics make us human. I have enjoyed her other writing, but these (taking the second one on the reaction of people who preordered it and got the ebook on publication day) are another level.

        I am presently enjoying Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Warrior, though not quite as much as I’d hoped to. (This one had been on my reserve list for months, long before its publication date.) Her teenagers are somehow just too typically teenage, even though they are living in Nigeria and have magic. Her Binti series are almost as teenage–Binti is college aged, FAR in the future–but somehow grabbed me more.

  2. David Biale was one of my professors back in the olden days of my undergrad. I keep meaning to read some of his work. Maybe this is the summer for it.

    1. I recommend his work very highly. I did not have to read any of it in rabbinical school, but I think that was a gap in my education (which I am striving to repair, obviously.)

  3. I was at my California Writers conference and there were several books to take for free.
    One we took is A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren.
    I just finished reading Marge Piercy’s The Art of Blessing the Day.
    Other than that, I’ll see what comes up for me.

  4. Dear Rabbi Adar,
    My next book will be Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows. It will be another attempt to try to understand better why we have a President like Trump. I will also look for elements that will strenghten my faith in the future of this country. Thank you! Best!

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