My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past four years, I’ve found it useful (and kind of fun) to look back on “my year in Jewish books.” So, borrowing some of the same introductory wording, I’m going to attempt to do something similar for 2015.

Reviewing my reading for 2015 (thank you, Goodreads!), I can see that, again, I do not and would not ever limit my reading to “Jewish books” exclusively. (By the way, in case you haven’t heard me say this before, I define “Jewish books” in the simplest terms as books with substantive Jewish content. In my view, non-Jewish authors can write “Jewish books.” And Jewish authors can write books that don’t strike me as overtly Jewish.)

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.

Below, you will find these books presented in the order in which I read them (most recent first).  I have also disclosed how I obtained each book: P (purchase), R (complimentary review copy), L (library), or FTB (for books I’ve read in manuscript prior to their release from Fig Tree Books in my job as FTB media editor).

  • Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller (P)
  • The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky (R/gift)
  • Divinity School by Alicia Jo Rabins (P)
  • Sliding Doors and Other Stories by Rebecca Klempner (P)
  • Signor Hoffman by Eduardo Halfon (trans. Albert Bensoussan) (P)
  • Variable Directions: The Selected Poetry of Dan Pagis (trans. Stephen Mitchell) (L)
  • The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb (R)
  • Yom Kippur a Go-Go: A Memoir by Matthue Roth (P)
  • A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot (L)
  • Winning the War of Words: Essays on Zionism and Israel by Einat Wilf (P; free download)
  • The Virgins by Pamela Erens (P)
  • The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret (P)
  • Washing the Dead by Michelle Brafman (P)
  • Between Gods by Alison Pick (P)
  • All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen (P)
  • How Sweet It Is! A Novel by Thane Rosenbaum (P)
  • The Pawnbroker by Edward Lewis Wallant (FTB)
  • A Song of Ilan by Jacob Paul (R/gift)
  • After Abel and Other Stories by Michal Lemberger (P)
  • The Arranged Marriage: Poems by Jehanne Dubrow (P)
  • I Carry My Mother: Poems by Lesléa Newman (P)
  • Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind by Sarah Wildman (L; then P)
  • Thicker Than Water by Vera Caspary (L)
  • God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors edited by Menachem Z. Rosensaft (P)
  • The Sea Beach Line by Ben Nadler (FTB)
  • Salami Jew by Matthew Lippman (P)
  • The Hidden of Things: Twelve Stories of Love & Longing by Yael Unterman (P)
  • A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin (L)
  • Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas by Adam Kirsch (P)

8 thoughts on “My Year in Jewish Books

  1. Great list, Erika! Some of these I have but haven’t yet read and some are on my amazon list now. You’re inspiring me to create my own list!
    Thanks again.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks, Barb–I’ll look forward to seeing your list!

  2. Nina says:

    Amazing list! I read so many Jewish books too. Maybe at the end of this year I will do a 2016 list and link to yours. I will wait for yours to come out!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      It’s a deal!

  3. Ene says:

    I haven’t read it yet but am looking forward to reading The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy
    by Kliph Nesteroff. It sounds fascinating based on the reviews and a few excerpts I read.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      It does sound interesting!

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