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Welcome to MyJewishBooks.com, where we list new, diverse, and eclectic books of Jewish interest and sort them by publication date (we do not categorize by fiction and non-fiction). All net proceeds go to tzedaka. Look at the hyperlinks to the left for books by publication data or season.

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MAZAL TOV TO THE RECIPIENTS OF THE 2016 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD from the Jewish Book Council. Awards were announced January 11, 2017, and awards will be accepted at a ceremony in Manhattan in March 2017

Honorees include:

[gordis bookcover] [moonglow bookcover] [boh bookcover]














[modernity bookcover] [but u did not bookcover] [inthedarkroom bookcover]














[and after the fire bookcover] [i dissent bookcover] [rabbi jaffee bookcover]














[ bookcover] [  bookcover] [love finer wine bookcover]
















[book] MOONGLOW
A NOVEL
BY MICHAEL CHABON
November 2016
Harper Collins

Ever since Michael Chabon severely criticized the State of Israel and its policies, and embarked on a collection of writings critical of the State of Israel, his popularity among Jewish readers has diminished. But here is his latest novel. Will it be rejected by several Jewish book clubs? I wonder.

The keeping of secrets and the telling of lies; sex and desire and ordinary love; existential doubt and model rocketry - all feature in the new novel from the author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

Moonglow unfolds as a deathbed confession. An old man, tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, tells stories to his grandson, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried. (The novel is inspired by Chabon’s visits with his dying grandfather)

From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of a New York Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of "the American Century," Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring and his most moving.

PW writes: Chabon’s (Telegraph Avenue) charming and elegantly structured novel is presented as a memoir by a narrator named Mike who shares several autobiographical details with Chabon (for one, they’re both novelists who live in the Bay Area). Mike’s memoir is concerned less with his own life than with the lives of his deceased maternal Jewish grandparents, who remain unnamed. His grandfather—whose deathbed reminisces serve as the novel’s main narrative engine—is a WWII veteran with an anger streak (the stint he does in prison after a workplace assault is one of the novel’s finest sections) and a fascination with V-2 rockets, astronomy, space travel, and all things celestial or skyward. Mike’s grandmother, born in France, is alluring but unstable, “a source of fire, madness, and poetry” whose personal history overlaps in unclear ways with the Holocaust, and whose fits of depression and hallucination result in her institutionalization (also one of the novel’s finest sections). Chabon imbricates his characters’ particular histories with broader, detail-rich narratives of war, migration, and technological advances involving such figures as Alger Hiss and Wernher von Braun. This move can sometimes feel forced. What seduces the reader is Chabon’s language, which reinvents the world, joyously, on almost every page. Listening to his grandfather’s often-harrowing stories, Mike thinks to himself, “What I knew about shame... would fit into half a pistachio shell.”




















[book] HERE I AM
A NOVEL
By Jonathan Safran Foer
September 6, 2016
FS&G

Publishers Weekly says: “Great-grandfather Isaac Bloch's voice opens Foer's intensely imagined and richly rewarding novel. What follows is a teeming saga of members of the patriarch's family: Isaac's son, Irv, a xenophobic, self-righteous defender of Israel who claims that "the world will always hate Jews"; his grandson, Jacob, achingly aware that his decade-plus marriage to Julia is breaking down; and Jacob and Julia's son Sam, whose imminent bar mitzvah may be cancelled if he doesn't apologize for the obscene material discovered in his desk at Hebrew school. The Blochs are distinctively upper-middle-class American in their needs, aspirations, and place in the 21st century. Foer excels in rendering domestic conversation: the banter and quips, the anger and recrimination, and Jacob and Julia's deeply felt guilt that their divorce will damage their three sons. Things are bad enough in the Bloch family when world events intervene: a major earthquake levels the Middle East, spreading catastrophic damage among the Arab states and Israel. In an imaginative segment, Foer depicts the reaction of the media when Israel ceases helping its Arab neighbors to save its own people and the Arab states unite and prepare for attack. The irony is evident: Irv, the fearmonger, has been proven correct. Foer (Everything Is Illuminated) fuses these complex strands with his never-wavering hand. Throughout, his dark wit drops in zingers of dialogue, leavening his melancholy assessments of the loneliness of human relationships and a world riven by ethnic hatred. He poses several thorny moral questions, among them how to have religious faith in the modern world, and what American Jews' responsibilities are toward Israel. That he can provide such a redemptive denouement, at once poignant, inspirational, and compassionate, is the mark of a thrillingly gifted writer. “
















[book] Judenstaat
by Simone Zelitch
June 21, 2016
Tor
An alternate history that makes sense
What if, in 1948, a Jewish state was created in Germany
The very place we faced our deaths is where we will build our lives
The flag is made from an Auscwitz striped uniform with a yellow Jewish star in the middle
What happens when you lose everything, but have to go on living, What will you become and do to live?

On April 4th, 1948 the sovereign state of Judenstaat was created in the territory of Saxony, bordering Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia .

Forty years later, Jewish historian Judit Klemmer is making a documentary portraying Judenstaat's history from the time of its founding to the present. She is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband, Hans, a Saxon, shot by a sniper as he conducted the National Symphony. With the grief always fresh, Judit lives a half-life, until confronted by a mysterious, flesh-and-blood ghost from her past who leaves her controversial footage on one of Judenstaat's founding fathers--and a note:
"They lied about the murder."

Judit's research into the footage, and what really happened to Hans, embroils her in controversy and conspiracy, collective memory and national amnesia, and answers far more horrific than she imagined.






















[book] MY OWN WORDS
By Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice
With Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams
2016
Simon and Schuster
The first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993—a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture.
My Own Words offers Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. Justice Ginsburg has written an introduction to the book, and Hartnett and Williams introduce each chapter, giving biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted. This is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women.


































[book] HUNGRY HEART
Adventures in Life,
Love, and Writing
by Jennifer Weiner
October 2016
Atria
Jennifer Weiner is many things: a best-selling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an "unlikely feminist enforcer" (The New Yorker). She's also a mom, a daughter, and a sister, a former rower and current clumsy yogini, a wife, a friend, and a reality-TV devotee. In her first essay collection, she takes the raw stuff of her life and spins it into a collection of tales of modern-day womanhood as uproariously funny and moving as the best of Nora Ephron and Tina Fey. Born in Louisiana, raised in Connecticut, educated at Princeton, Jennifer spent years feeling like an outsider ("a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch world") before finding her people in newsrooms, and her voice as a novelist, activist, and New York Times columnist.
< No subject is off-limits in these intimate and honest stories: sex, weight, envy, money, her mother's coming out of the closet, her estranged father's death. From lonely adolescence to modern childbirth to hearing her six-year-old daughter say the f-word—fat—for the first time, Jen dives deep into the heart of female experience, with the wit and candor that have endeared her to readers all over the world.
Hilarious and moving, Hungry Heart is about yearning and fulfillment, loss and love, and a woman who searched for her place in the world, and found it as a storyteller.



































[book] You'll Grow Out of It
by Jessi Klein
(head writer of Inside Amy Schumer)
July 2016
Grand Central Publishing
Does the Victoria's Secret catalog make you feel diqualified from being a woman in America? Does the store make you feel like you are walking into someone else's vagina? Do you obsess over your wedding dress and feel that as a owman you must know how to use the ballet barre
YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT hilariously, and candidly, explores the journey of the twenty-first century woman. As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein (who wrote for SNL) grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity.
In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").
Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice.





























[book] JUDAS
A Novel
By Amos Oz
Translated from Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange
November 2016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Winner of the International Literature Prize, the new novel by Amos Oz is his first full-length work since the best-selling A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Jerusalem, 1959. Shmuel Ash, a biblical scholar, is adrift in his young life when he finds work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man named Gershom Wald. There is, however, a third, mysterious presence in his new home. Atalia Abarbanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her forties, entrances young Shmuel even as she keeps him at a distance. Piece by piece, the old Jerusalem stone house, haunted by tragic history and now home to the three misfits and their intricate relationship, reveals its secrets.

At once an exquisite love story and coming-of-age novel, an allegory for the state of Israel and for the biblical tale from which it draws its title, Judas is Amos Oz's most powerful novel in decades.

PW writes: Oz raises fundamental questions concerning Israeli politics, religion, ethics, and history in this novel about a young Jewish scholar adrift in 1959 Jerusalem. Graduate student Shmuel Ash decides to abandon his studies and perhaps leave Jerusalem; when his parents can no longer support him, his girlfriend marries her ex-boyfriend, and even his Socialist discussion group breaks up. Answering an advertisement for a live-in companion in an old Jerusalem neighborhood, Shmuel finds a welcome retreat in the home of Gershom Wald, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher suffering from an unnamed degenerative disease. Gershom’s primary caregiver is his son’s widow, Atalia, and Shmuel’s job consists mainly in providing Gershom with spirited debate. The old man’s favorite topic—the formation of the state of Israel—proves somewhat sensitive in that Atalia’s father, David Ben-Gurion opponent Shealtiel Abravanel, had opposed the idea of establishing a Jewish state without first addressing Arab concerns adequately, a position for which he was deemed a traitor. Gershom and Shmuel also discuss the famous traitor that Shmuel has been studying, Judas Iscariot. As Shmuel researches Abravanel and Judas, Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness) suggests each might be less a traitor than an idealist with an alternate point of view. Oz’s appreciation for multiple perspectives underlies powerful descriptions of Judas at the crucifixion, the brutal murder of Atalia’s husband’s during Israel’s War of Independence, and Shmuel with Atalia at King David’s tomb. Through the story of one young man at a crossroads, Oz presents thought-provoking ideas about traitors, a moving lament for the cost of Israeli-Arab conflict, and a heartfelt call for compassion.



BY THE WAY… AMOS OZ Recommends the following books for November 2016:

FIVE SEASONS by A. B. Yehoshua

LENIN’S KISSES by Yan Lianke

Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel by Anita Shaira

Khirbet Khizeh: A Novel by S. Yizhar

Infiltration: A Novel by Yehoshua Kenaz
















[book] The Gefilte Manifesto
New Recipes for
Old World Jewish Foods
by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern
September 13, 2016
Flatiron Books
The founders of the world-famous Gefilteria revitalize beloved old-world foods with ingenious new approaches in their debut cookbook.
Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz are on a mission to reclaim and revolutionize Ashkenazi cuisine. Combining the inventive spirit of a new generation and respect for their culinary tradition, they present more than a hundred recipes pulled deep from the kitchens of Eastern Europe and the diaspora community of North America. Their recipes highlight the best of Ashkenazi home and storefront cuisine, tapping into the enduring Jewish values of resourcefulness and seasonality.
Drawing inspiration from aromatic Jewish bakeries (Classic Challah with a Marble Rye Twist, Seeded Honey Rye Pull-Apart Rolls), neighborhood delis (Home-Cured Corned Beef and Pastrami, Rustic Matzo Balls, and Old World Stuffed Gefilte Fish), old-fashioned pickle shops (Crisp Garlic Dilly Beans, Ashkenazi Kimchi), and, of course, their own childhood kitchens, Yoskowitz and Alpern rediscover old-world food traditions, helping you bring simple and comforting recipes into your home.
Dishes like Spiced Blueberry Soup, Kasha Varnishkes with Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Lokshen Kugel with Plums celebrate flavors passed down from generation to generation in recipes reimagined for the contemporary kitchen. Other recipes take a playful approach to the Old World, like Fried Sour Pickles with Garlic Aioli and Sour Dill Martinis. The Gefilte Manifesto is more than a cookbook. It’s a call to action, a reclamation of time-honored techniques and ingredients, from the mind-blowingly easy Classic Sour Dill Pickles to the Crispy Honey-Glazed Chicken with Tsimmes. Make a stand. Cook the Manifesto. The results are radically delicious.





















[book] The Angel
The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel
by Uri Bar-Joseph
(University of Haifa)
August 2016
Harper
A gripping feat of reportage that exposes—for the first time in English—the sensational life and mysterious death of Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian senior official who spied for Israel, offering new insight into the turbulent modern history of the Middle East.
As the son-in-law of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and a close advisor to his successor, Anwar Sadat, Ashraf Marwan had access to the deepest secrets of the country’s government. But Marwan himself had a secret: He was a spy for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Under the codename “The Angel,” Marwan turned Egypt into an open book for the Israeli intelligence services—and, by ALERTING the Mossad in advance of the joint Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur in 1973, saved Israel from a devastating defeat.

Drawing on meticulous research and interviews with many key participants, Uri Bar Joseph pieces together Marwan’s story. In the process, he sheds new light on this volatile time in modern Egyptian and Middle Eastern history, culminating in 2011’s Arab Spring.
Professor Bay-Joseph also chronicles the discord within the Israeli government that brought down Prime Minister Golda Meir.
However, this nail-biting narrative doesn’t end with Israel’s victory in the Yom Kippur War. Marwan eluded Egypt’s ruthless secret services for many years, but then somebody talked. Five years later, in 2007, his body was found in the garden of his London apartment building. Was it suicide in London? Did the people whom he swindled in business deals kill him? Was it Egyptian spies who killed him?
Scotland Yard suspected he had been thrown from his fifth-floor balcony, and thanks to explosive new evidence, Bar-Joseph can finally reveal who, how, and why (or does he?).




















[book] The Book of Esther
A Novel
by Emily Barton
June 14, 2016
Tim Duggan Books
What if an empire of Jewish warriors that really existed in the Middle Ages had never fallen—and was the only thing standing between Hitler and his conquest of Russia?
Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.
After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania's disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.
Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.
The Book of Esther is a profound saga of war, technology, mysticism, power, and faith. This novel—simultaneously a steampunk Joan of Arc and a genre-bending tale of a counterfactual Jewish state by a writer who invents worlds “out of Calvino or Borges” (The New Yorker)—is a stunning achievement. Reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, The Book of Esther reaffirms Barton’s place as one of her generation’s most gifted storytellers.






















[book] ZAHAV
A World of Israeli Cooking
by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
October 2015
HMH
The James Beard Award–winning chef and co-owner of Philadelphia's Zahav restaurant reinterprets the glorious cuisine of Israel for American home kitchens.
Ever since he opened Zahav in 2008, chef Michael Solomonov has been turning heads with his original interpretations of modern Israeli cuisine, attracting notice from the New York Times, Bon Appétit, ("an utter and total revelation"), and Eater ("Zahav defines Israeli cooking in America").
Zahav showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. Solomonov's food includes little dishes called mezze, such as the restaurant's insanely popular fried cauliflower; a hummus so ethereal that it put Zahav on the culinary map; and a pink lentil soup with lamb meatballs that one critic called "Jerusalem in a bowl." It also includes a majestic dome of Persian wedding rice and a whole roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas that's a celebration in itself. All Solomonov's dishes are brilliantly adapted to local and seasonal ingredients.
Zahav tells an authoritative and personal story of how Solomonov embraced the food of his birthplace. With its blend of technique and passion, this book shows readers how to make his food their own.

Highlights include “My Mom's Coffee-Braised Brisket” (unfortunately brisket is no longer cheap... my grandmother made her brisket with carrots, potatoes, and Heinz Chili Sauce... My mother added coffee – she doesnt remember wh, but she's pretty brilliant, actually. Unlike stock... that takes hours to make, coffee is ready in minutes. And its deep roasted flavors work really well with beef (coffee makes a great addition to bbq sauce, too.) I add cardamom to evole Turkish coffee. I've also replaced the sweetness of that chili sauce with dried apricots....); Israeli Salas with Mango, Cucumber, and Sumac Onions; Tehina (The Secret Sauce); and Hummus.
Chapters include (1) Tehina (The Secret Sauce); (2) Salatim; (3) Beyond Chicken Soup; (4) My Grandmoter's Borekas; (5) Mezze; (6) Live Fire; (7) Ben Gurion's Rice; (8)Mesibah (Party Time); (9) Milk and Honey.
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Mazal Tov to the winners of the Jewish Book Council's Jewish Book Awards Click Here to See The Winners and the Finalists






The deli... a place where uncouth could be uncouth, and waiters could treat customers with complete disdain and arrogance. Made Jewish people feel at home :-)
[book] PASTRAMI ON RYE
An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli
by Ted Merwin
Associate Professor of Religion
and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College
September 2015
NYU Press
For much of the twentieth century, the New York Jewish deli was an iconic institution in both Jewish and American life. As a social space it rivaled—and in some ways surpassed—the synagogue as the primary gathering place for the Jewish community. In popular culture it has been the setting for classics like When Harry Met Sally. And today, after a long period languishing in the trenches of the hopelessly old-fashioned, it is experiencing a nostalgic resurgence.

Pastrami on Rye is the first full-length history of the New York Jewish deli. The deli, argues Ted Merwin, reached its full flowering not in the immigrant period, as some might assume, but in the interwar era, when the children of Jewish immigrants celebrated the first flush of their success in America by downing sandwiches and cheesecake in theater district delis. But it was the kosher deli that followed Jews as they settled in the outer boroughs of the city, and that became the most tangible symbol of their continuing desire to maintain a connection to their heritage. Ultimately, upwardly mobile American Jews discarded the deli as they transitioned from outsider to insider status in the middle of the century. Now contemporary Jews are returning the deli to cult status as they seek to reclaim their cultural identities.

Richly researched and compellingly told, Pastrami on Rye gives us the surprising story of a quintessential New York institution..








































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