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Recommended books for adults
By Debra Rubin

In no particular order:
F = Fiction; N-F = Non-Fiction

  Shifra Horn – Ode to Joy (F)

This novel presents us with an authentic picture of contemporary Israeli society – this human story is told with warmth, humour and compassion. Even though it covers a terrorist explosion in Jerusalem, I found this story of loss, betrayal and desire a hope filled story.


  AB Yehoshua – Mr Mani (F)

Each of the five speakers in this work describes the secret life of a Mr Mani – but a different generation’s Mani each time. The 1st story starts in 1982 and the last, 130 years earlier. Each part takes us another step backward through the history of Jews and of the Mani family. Each section is cleverly executed – the stories unravel through one side of a conversation.


  Elinor Lipman – The Inn at Lake Devine (F)

In 1962, 12 year old Nathalie Marx’s family find that their last name prohibits them from securing a reservation at The Inn at Lake Devine. This rebuff sparks Nathalie’s curiosity about anti-semitism and a fascination with people who despise Jews.

This novel becomes a comedy of manners with a series of romantic upheavals.


  Alan Isler – The Prince of West End Ave (F)

This novel stars Otto Korner, a resident of New York’s Emma Lazarus Retirement Home. He was once a sensitive poet who, somewhere between Kristallnacht and the death of his family, stopped caring enough about others to engage with anyone. It takes a libidinous physical therapist for him to come to life……….


  Edeet Ravel – Ten Thousand Lovers (F)

This is a stunning book – the 1st in a trilogy – not so much of characters, but more of interlinking ideas. In essence, it is a love story but also a story which shows us Ravel’s passion for justice, humanity and the state of the world. There are also linguistic meditations on ancient and modern Hebrew. A forceful thought provoking novel.


  Lilly Brett – Too Many Men (F)

Lily Brett is tremendous at character development and at stirring the readers´ emotions, from laughing until you cry to anger to pity to anticipation to deep sympathy - and everything in between.

There are moments of mad humour throughout the book that have the effect not only of lightening the burden of the father Edek and daughter Ruth working hard to reconnect to each other, but also of the true horror of the historical facts of the holocaust--. Set in New York, Poland and a far away Australia.


  Edda Servi Machlin – The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews 1 (N-F)

The subtitle is “Traditional Recipes and Menus and a Memoir of a Vanished Way of Life”.

Even if cooking is not your thing, the 1st 36 pages are worth reading. Machlin was brought up in Pitigliano, Tuscany where there has been a Jewish presence since the 14thC. The next 40 pages are a detailed description on how this community celebrated the Jewish holidays. I found it all fascinating reading and the recipes…………wonderful!


  Jonathan Safran Foer – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (F)

This is a beautiful and touching story, set in post 9/11 New York. The characters are intriguing and unique. I enjoyed that the primary story is told through the eyes of an odd little nine year old boy struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of his father. If you tend to lean towards the non-conventional, you will be drawn into this book.


  Geraldine Brooks – Foreign Correspondence (N-F)

What does the world look like from a backyard 2000 miles below the equator? In Sydney, Australia, Geraldine Brooks grows up longing to find out. This is her memoir of how she did it with a little help from her global pen pals. It is a lively, humorous memoir of a girl´s family life in a working-class suburb Down Under during the 1950s & 1960s and her eventual meeting with the pen pals of her youth.


  Martin Gilbert – Letters to Auntie Fori (N-F)

This is a kind of “Cliff notes” to 5000 years of Jewish history. Great overview of history and traditions and each topic covered in just a few pages. A pleasure to read.

Excellent index.

 
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