Jewish Book Council Staff Picks for September 2016
It's been a busy month, but that didn't keep the JBC staff from getting lost in our September #JewLit reads!
- •Becca'Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan' by Ruth Gilligan is about a family of Irish Jews over three generations, written by a young writer who became fascinated with the Jewish experience in Ireland when she was in school at Cambridge and became close friends with Jewish students. Before coming across the Irish Sea, she had no idea there even were Irish Jews!
- •Suzanne'Karolina’s Twins' was a book that I could not put down. It is a story of life, survival and love. It is also a story of a promise that must be kept, no matter the cost and the dark horrible memories that it may bring. Lena Woodward, a survivor of the Holocaust, has lived with an awful memory of what happened to twin girls that were born during the worst of times and what it took to survive the atrocities of the Holocaust.
- •NatI just started reading 'Murder, Inc. and the Moral Life: Gangsters and Gangbusters in La Guardia’s New York' by Robert Weldon Whalen. The book has been very eye-opening for me in terms of how a series of trials in 1940 and 1941 continues to influence American popular culture today—and the ethical imprints and implications of that fascination. It’s a solid piece of scholarship, but the writing flows very well, and I’m finding this work of nonfiction a thoroughly engaging and accessible read.
- •Evie'The Golden Age' by Joan London is told from the perspective of Frank, a Jewish teenager who escaped World War II with his family and was hospitalized for polio soon after they settled in Australia. This very personal and diverse fictional narrative is very well written: I’m enjoying the novel because it incorporates a family immigrant story with the experience of a lovelorn, disabled teen—and his letters and poetry.
- •Carol'Two She-Bears', Meir Shalev’s newest novel, is a complex and raw book that continues to get better and better the further you read.
- •NatI also have my nose in 'Against Everything', a collection of essays by Mark Greif. It opens with the claim that if Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” were written today, it would be about an exercise machine—a notion that resonates with me on many different levels.