Looking back at my reading for 2011 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, I define “Jewish books” as books with substantive Jewish content/themes. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as particularly Jewish. I read several of those books this year, too.)
But this year, as usual, I did read quite a few books that fall within the “Jewish book” category. And, as an advocate for Jewish literature, I’m proud of that. Moreover, although it wasn’t intentional, when I revisit the record of my reading (again, thanks, Goodreads!), I find that there are 18 such titles.
Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them. Please note that, where appropriate, I have included links to reviews/essays/newsy items I have written; interviews I have conducted; and chat transcripts in which you will see I participated. I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), G (gift), R (complimentary review copy), L (library). NB: Later this week, I’ll publish a “meta-post” with some thoughts and observations based on this one.
Meantime, maybe you will find a title or two (or 18) for your own reading list. Or for a gift for someone else.
- A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, by Ruth Franklin (discussed within this Fiction Writers Review essay) (P)
- Faith for Beginners, by Aaron Hamburger (L)
- Comedy in a Minor Key, by Hans Keilson (trans. Damion Searls) (P)
- To the End of the Land, by David Grossman (trans. Jessica Cohen) (P)
- The Marriage Artist, by Andrew Winer (discussed within this Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club Chat) (L)
- An Exclusive Love, by Johanna Adorján (trans. Anthea Bell; discussed at the conclusion of this Fiction Writers Review essay) (R/G–giveaway from the German Book Office)
- Far to Go, by Alison Pick (discussed within this Fiction Writers Review essay) (R)
- The Hardship Post, by Jehanne Dubrow (P)
- There Is No Other, by Jonathan Papernick (G) or (P) (I honestly can’t remember if we exchanged books or paid each other for them! Sorry, Jon!)
- How to Spot One of Us, by Janet Kirchheimer (more info) (P)
- The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah, trans. Geoffrey Strachan (reviewed for Jewish Book World) (R)
- The Free World, by David Bezmozgis (discussed within this Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club chat) (P)
- The Little Bride, by Anna Solomon (interview with the author) (R)
- The Eichmann Trial, by Deborah E. Lipstadt (discussed within this Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club chat) (P)
- The Murderer’s Daughters, by Randy Susan Meyers (G)
- The List, by Martin Fletcher (reviewed for JewishJournal.com) (R)
- Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer, by Trina Robbins (more info) (P)
- Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere, by André Aciman (G)
One final title I spent a lot of time with this year. I think you’ll understand why.