My Year in Jewish Books

StarFor the past six 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 2017.

Reviewing my reading for 2017 (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 otherwise borrowed]), G (gift).

  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy (P)
  • Textual Silence: Unreadability and the Holocaust by Jessica Lang (L)
  • If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan (P)
  • The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis by David E. Fishman (P)
  • The Going: A Meditation on Jewish Law by Leon Wiener Dow (R; book-pr client)
  • Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (L)
  • What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball (L)
  • The Ruined House by Ruby Namdar (trans. Hillel Halkin) (R)
  • The Heart of Torah by Shai Held (R; book-pr client)
  • The Worlds We Think We Know: Stories by Dalia Rosenfeld (L)
  • A Prayer on Behalf of the Broken Heart by Rachel Kann (P)
  • David and the Philistine Woman by Paul Boorstin (R)
  • The Secret Book of Kings by Yochi Brandes (trans. Yardenne Greenspan) (R)
  • The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (L)
  • Oslo by J.T. Rogers (P)
  • Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil (L)
  • Love Nailed to the Doorpost: Poems by Richard Chess (R)
  • All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan (trans. Jessica Cohen) (L,R)
  • Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman (P)
  • Jumping Over Shadows: A Memoir by Annette Gendler (R)
  • The Artist’s Torah by David Ebenbach
  • Rules of My Best Friend’s Body by Matthue Roth (P, but was a free download, if I recall correctly)
  • Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi (G)
  • Third-Generation Holocaust Representation: Trauma, History, and Memory by Victoria Aarons and Alan Berger (P)
  • Underground Fugue by Margot Singer (R)

P.S. This will likely be my final post on My Machberet for 2017. See you back here in time for the first Shabbat of 2018!

4 thoughts on “My Year in Jewish Books

  1. Nina says:

    What a great list! I look forward to these each year. I LOVED Young Jane Young and picked it as one of my favorites of 2017. Did it get much press as a Jewish book? Did she make the rounds at JCC’s etc? She should! It’s SO Jewish.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I agree with you! (I just recommended it to someone yesterday.) I don’t know if it was publicized much as a “Jewish” book. Maybe she’ll do the Network for the paperback, if she didn’t do it this year.

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