Jewish Interest Books

Enjoy these Jewish Interest books below. 

For more information, contact Laurie Herman, Library/Media Center Director at 414-967-8212

ADULT FICTION:

Apprentice: a Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery (Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book I)–by Maggie Anton

The author of Rashi’s Daughters delivers a new series set in 3rd and 4th century Babylonia, focusing on a young woman who aspires to be an enchantress. Set against the battles between the Christians in Rome and Zorastrians in Persia, this historical novel looks at a young woman who must choose both her husband and her pathway in life. The story is based on Talmud texts.

The Fallen Angel – by Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva is a master of best selling thrillers. Set in the Vatican – and moving to St. Moritz, Berlin and Vienna, The Fallen Angel follows ex-Mossad agent Gabriel Alon on a new case. Alon investigates the death of a beautiful woman found dead beneath the Sistine Chapel – a woman who has uncovered a secret that threatens a global criminal enterprise.

Goldberg Variations – by Susan Isaacs

Tycoon Gloria Garrison decides to bestow her fortune on one of her three granddaughters, all in their 20’s. She invites them from New York into her Santa Fe home to ask which of them most deserves to inherit her multi-million dollar beauty business – and is startled to find that none of them is interested. The weekend they spend together is both funny and shattering as once forgotten memories are unearthed.

Hostage – by Elie Wiesel

Wiesel’s protagonist, Shaltiel Feigenberg, has been taken hostage in 1975 New York by an Arab and an Italian with the intention of exchanging his life for the lives of Palestinian terrorists. Throughout the ordeal of being blindfolded with hands tied behind his back and locked in a cellar, Shaltiel tells the story of his life to his captors in an attempt to find meaning. How do we survive in a universe where everything of meaning has been stripped away?

In Sunlight and in Shadow – by Mark Helprin

National Jewish Book Award winner Mark Helprin writes a sprawling 1940’s romance. Harry Copeland – a 32-year-old paratrooper just back from World War II – pursues the girl of his dreams, a 23-year-old actress and heiress named Catherine Thomas Hale. Simultaneously, Harry tries to save his dad’s business from the Mob in this novel that paints a vivid picture of New York in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s.

The Lawgiver – by Herman Wouk

At 97 years of age, Wouk writes a novel whose focus is Moses. Margo is a brilliant young writer, originally from an Orthodox background. She aims to write a script for a billion dollar Australian filmmaker to produce a film about Moses that meets standards. Wouk and his wife come into the novel as characters, for (in the novel) Wouk is brought in to approve of the script.

The Middlesteins – by Jami Attenberg

Food obsession takes center stage in this novel about Edie Middlestein, mother and wife of over 30 years, who has an obsessive eating compulsion that has catapulted her weight to a dangerous level. When her husband Richard leaves her, it is up to the next generation to help save mom/mother-in-law in this bittersweet novel.

One Last Thing Before I Go – by Jonathan Tropper

Best selling author Tropper writes about a Drew Silver – a man who has made many mistakes in his life: his marriage failed, he is the ex-drummer of a rock band that was popular a decade before; and he does not have the closest relationship with his teenage daughter. When Drew learns he needs to have emergency heart surgery, he must decide whether to go for the surgery or to spend his time repairing the relationships in his life

The Polish Boxer – by Eduardo Halfon

Latin writer Eduardo Halfon makes himself the protagonist in this unusual cross between novel, short stories and nonfiction. Through the book he travels from Guatemala to North Carolina to Europe. As a professor, he mentors a talented young man – and also is seeking to find the Polish boxer who saved his grandfather in Auschwitz.

Telegraph Avenue – by Michael Chabon

Set in the Berkely/Oakland neighborhoods, this novel centers around two business partners, Archy and Nat (one black and one white), who own Brokeback Records – a vintage used record store. Their wives are also business partners; both are midwives. When an NFL player makes plans to open a media megastore in the neighborhood – including an antique record area – the partners’ enterprise is threatened. The novel also includes the themes involving a boy’s transition into manhood. This novel has received rave reviews and much praise.

ADULT NONFICTION:

The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person - by Rabbi Harold Kushner

Renowned Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, writes a new book that explores suffering through the Biblical Book of Job. Rabbi Kushner examines the structure of the text as well as assessing various commentaries and adding his own conclusions.

The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs – by Michael Feinstein

Popular singer Michael Feinstein worked for six years with his idol, Ira Gershwin, cataloging the Gershwins work (from the time Feinstein was twenty). Each of the twelve chapters in this book focuses on a Gershwin song, as Feinstein provides personal anecdotes about the men and their creative process. This beautiful book includes many photographs and a CD of Feinstein singing twelve classic Gershwin songs including “S Wonderful”, “Embraceable You” and “Love is Here to Stay”.

Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand – by William J. Mann

Well-reviewed new biography of Barbra Streisand, marking her 50th anniversary in show business. The focus of the book is on 1960-1964, and how Streisand was transformed from a gawky seventeen-year-old into a major star – through her insatiable drive, determination and tremendous talent.

Isaac’s Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland – by Matthew Brzezinski

This important novel tells the story of a group of Jewish resistance fighters in occupied Warsaw from 1939 until their eventual aliyah to Palestine in 1946. Utilizing interviews with survivors of this resistance, unpublished memoirs and Polish sources, Brzenzinski writes a riveting story that centers around the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. This well-researched book is told from the viewpoint of those who led the resistance, including Isaac Zuckerman, Simcha Ratheiser and Zivia Lubetkin.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook – by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Both Ottolenghi and Tamimi have their roots in Jerusalem – Ottolenghi in its Jewish quarter, and Tamimi in its Arab east quarter. They are popular restauranteurs in London, as well as the others of other popular cookbooks. The two men offer this 120 recipes that represent the diverse Jewish, Muslim and Christian cuisine to be found in Jerusalem such as mejadra, stuffed egglplant with lamb and pine nuts, fattoush and latkes.

Open Heart – by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel’s newest book will be published on December 4, 2012. Eighty-two years old and facing emergency heart surgery, Wiesel reflects on his life: on his family, his Holocaust past, his writing, his teaching and his public life.

The Origins of Israel, 1882-1948: A Documentary History – by Eran Kaplan

This sourcebook provides 62 original documents that highlight the Jewish community of Palestine, pre-State of Israel. The focus is on social, economic and cultural history, and the many documents represent a wide range of Zionists – from the secular to the religious, from intellectuals to farm and factory workers.

Stella’s Sephardi Table: Jewish Family Recipes from the Mediterranean Island of Rhodes – by Stella Cohen

Gorgeous oversized cookbook, this book contains over 250 Sephardic recipes – a “fusion of flavors incorporating Ottoman Turkish, Greek, Hispanic, African and other influences”. The book itself is a work of art, with a multitude of personal stories, photographs and original illustrations from Sephardic cuisine expert Stella Cohen – who lives and has raised her family in the Sephardic community of Rhodesia (known today as Zimbabwe).

 

New Children’s Picture Books:

Grandma Rose’s Magic – by Linda Elovitz Marshall

Grandma Rose “creates magic” with her needle and thread, and is always sewing and making things for others. She saves up the money from her sewing to buy a new set of dishes for Shabbat. When she finally goes to the store, Grandma Rose finds that the dishes have been sold. Heartbroken, she returns home, only to find her entire family waiting for her at home, each presenting her with a piece of the coveted dish set in a truly beautiful and magical moment of how one’s good deeds come back to you.

Happy Hanukkah, Curious George! – by H.A. Rey

Finally – Curious George and Hanukkah make a happy pair! In this tabbed board book, Curious George celebrates the eighth day of Hanukkah with his friends by eating latkes, playing dreidel, and lighting the menorah.

The Mitzvah Magician – by Linda Elovitz Marshall

Gabriel’s mitzvah wand gets him into trouble until he learns that a Mitzvah Magician is the most powerful type of magician, using good deeds to get results.

Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast – by Jamie S. Korngold

Big sister Sadie, with her little brother Ori, decide to keep busy and let their parents sleep in. They prepare to have breakfast in the sukkah with some very special guests – their stuffed animals!

Sammy Spider’s New Friend – by Sylvia A. Rouss

Josh and Sammy, the spider in Josh’s home, welcome new Israeli neighbors with a mitzvah. It was traditional to bring over a loaf of bread with salt, wishing new neighbors many happy meals together. Josh and Sammy decide to bring over pita and chumus (a salty food) to make their new neighbors feel at home.

The Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other – by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Best selling author Rabbi Sasso uses a 12th century rabbinic debate to tell the story of a town whose inhabitants can not agree on which position is proper to put up the mezuzzahs in their doorways. They finally agree to ask the rabbi – who tells them to read the shema in the mezuzah to learn the answer.

 A Song for My Sister – by Lesley Simpson

A picture book about a Simchat Bat – a naming ceremony for a new baby girl. Mira was very excited about getting a new sister. When the baby comes, she seems to cry all the time – until Mira can give her sister a very special gift that leads to her new name.