Independent Bookstore Day is this weekend! If you’re visiting your local bookstore to support your local literary anchor on Saturday — or any day of the week — let us be your guide: check out the books Jewish Book Council’s staff recommends to our readers for April 2017!
Disobedience: A Novel by Naomi Alderman extremely interesting story of a young woman who fled her ultra-Orthodox life, only return for the first time after the death of her father, the head rabbi of a London Jewish community. This story deals with her re-connection of what was and how she deals with this past and her current life. I highly suggest this thoroughly thought-provoking book. Can’t wait to see how they make this into an upcoming movie!
In Joshua Cohen’s Moving Kings, two directionless Israelis, Yoav and Uri, have just completed their army service and get jobs working in Yoav’s uncle’s moving company in Queens. Cohen’s portrayal of the grim, gritty, often brutal world they inhabit — and the one they inhabited in the IDF — is boldly drawn in what is often insanely insightful and mordantly funny prose. Hard-hitting and entertaining, this is Cohen’s most accessible novel yet.
The Tincture of Time: a Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty by Elizabeth L. Silver is one of the most poignant and thought-provoking memoirs I’ve read. As an infant, Silver’s daughter has an unexplained brain bleed. While she relentlessly seek medical answers, Silver also looks for solace in religion, literature, history, and the law. All of these references are fascinating, but none can provide complete reassurance — much like the book itself. This memoir is a beautiful exploration of situations in which the only thing that can provide a definite answer is time.
After the Fire by Lauren Belfer is a great read for book clubs — it even won the Book Club category in the 2016 National Jewish Book Award — as it raises all sorts of larger questions about obligation, religion, culture and art, and responsibilities.
I’m head-over-heels in love with Elan Mastai’s science fiction novel All Our Wrong Todays, the chronicles of a hapless accidental time traveler from “the world we were supposed to have,” 2016. Mastai fuses humor with poignancy, human foible with heroism in a cast of flawed, sympathetic characters hurtled toward and away from one another by the full range from passion to the pettiest of pursuits. Steered by a series of successive failures and fail-safes, the novel takes readers on a rare, captivating caper across the channels of time, deftly hinting at the inevitable without exposing the unforeseen — or relying on cheap plot twists.
I’m also in the middle of Sonora: A Novel by Hannah Lillith Assadi, a hazy yet cutting account of adolescence and displacement in the Arizona desert, where the daughter of a Palestinian father and Israeli mother discovers sex, drugs, dreams, and premonitions of death.