Our Picks for Summer Reading
With the arrival of warm weather and vacation days comes a host of new books by Jewish authors that avid readers should add to their list of beach reads. No matter your preferred genre, there’s a book here for you.
Guesthouse for Ganesha: A Novel by Judith Teitelman (She Writes Press)
Esther Grünspan is 17 when she sets out in 1923 on a decades-long journey through Europe to find a place of peace and tranquility. She hides her Jewishness when Holocaust violence erupts around her. At the same time, the Hindu Kali Yuga, or age of darkness, brings its own challenges. Traveling with Esther is Ganesha, an elephant-headed Hindu god who narrates this tale of a young woman determined to survive.
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner (Atria Books)
Jewish sisters Jo, a bookish activist, and Bethie, a traditional housewife, grew up against the backdrop of the women’s movement, the Vietnam War and Woodstock. As adults, they find that they have yet to truly achieve their dreams and are determined to make changes to their lives that will finally lead them to the futures they’ve always wanted.
Naamah by Sarah Blake (Riverhead Books)
Everyone knows the biblical story of Noah and the Flood, but Sarah Blake’s new novel goes beyond the titular husband to focus on his wife, Naamah, and the sacrifices she made while aboard the ark. Naamah deals with complicated feelings of love, self-determination and living up to expectations.
House of Gold by Natasha Solomons (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
In this historical fiction, Greta is forced to move from Austria to England to marry a distant cousin, Albert. Initially, she hates having her husband chosen for her, but she begins to fall in love with him as they get to know each other. Then World War I intervenes, forcing Greta to choose between her new family and the one she left behind.
Newcomers in an Ancient Land: Adventures, Love, and Seeking Myself in 1960s Israel by Paula Wagner (She Writes Press)
Born to an American Jewish father and a non-Jewish British mother, Paula Wagner had the opportunity to live in both countries as a youngster. But her life changes when she and her twin sister visit Israel at age 18 to learn more about their father’s Jewish roots and to master Hebrew in a kibbutz ulpan.
Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon (Harper)
In 2016, Michael Chabon brought his young son Abraham to Paris for men’s fashion week. Seeing his son’s enjoyment as a spectator at the colorful show inspired in Chabon a new kind of love for him. He writes about that trip in one of seven essays included in this compilation that shows Chabon’s appreciation for fatherhood.
Even if Your Heart Would Listen: Losing My Daughter to Heroin by Elise Schiller (SparkPress)
Elise Schiller’s youngest daughter, Giana, died of a heroin overdose. In working through her grief, she chose to look into how her daughter’s treatments failed. Examining Giana’s planner, journals and letters, Schiller begins to see not only where her daughter’s treatment plan went wrong but, more broadly, the failures of America’s system of drug rehabilitation.