More 2022 Interesting Books For Jewish Readers
Book FestivalOpinion

More 2022 Interesting Books For Jewish Readers

New titles this month and over the last year reveal challenging titles that cover a wide variety of interests.

October sees the publication of three titles many Jewish book readers may find interesting. Due this month is a rare fictional work by American Jewish Nobel laureate, Louise Glück, a biography by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and a new novel by best-selling author Dani Shapiro.

Glück, the 79-year-old poet and essayist who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in literature, has created what she calls a prose narrative about the first year of life of twin girls, “Marigold and Rose, A Fiction,” which was released on Oct.11. For the author, who is best known for her published collections of poetry and her two volumes of essays, the slim, 66-page book is her first work of fiction.

Her publicists breathlessly called it, “Simultaneously sad and funny, and shot through with a sense of stoic wonder, this small miracle of book…is unlike anything Glück has written, while at the same time it is inevitable, transcendent.” In addition to her Nobel Prize, the author has collected just about every major writing award offered to an American author.

The long-awaited memoir by the controversial and long-serving former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming Oct. 18 and is entitled, “Bibi: My Story.” The book promises “eye-opening candor” about the life and long career of the political leader who had a highly contentious relationship with President Barack Obama and a much different one with his successor, which culminated in the important diplomatic agreement between Israel and four Arab states in 2020.

The book comes at a time when the Israeli leader is fighting for his political life as the leader of Likud, Israel’s largest political party, during the upcoming national elections scheduled for Nov. 1. The Book Festival of the MJCCA is part of a virtual presentation by the Streicker Center of Temple Emanu-El and the National JCC Literary Consortium on Oct. 20. You must buy his book through the festival to attend.

A new novel by Dani Shapiro, “Signal Fires,” an author with a strong following in Atlanta, is due the same day as the Netanyahu autobiography, Oct. 18. Shapiro attracted a large crowd when she spoke at Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs four years ago about her previous book, the nonfictional “Inheritance,” about the tangled story of her conception through artificial insemination.

Her latest book is set in summer evening during the mid-1980s, when three teenagers, who have been drinking are involved in an automobile accident that alters the lives of everyone involved. Shapiro, is also back for her fourth season of her highly successful podcast, “Family Secret,” which launched last month. The production, which is created in Atlanta, has collected 25 million downloads over the past several years.

Another popular writer, Gary Shteyngart, has a new humorous novel, “Country Friends,” about a diverse group of eight friends who gather in a country house in New York’s Hudson River Valley to spend six months waiting out the pandemic. It was inspired in part by Shteyngart’s love of a fellow Russian writer, Anton Chekhov, who was strongly influenced by life in the countryside. The host, Sasha Senderovsky, like Shteyngart, a Russian-Jewish-American writer, calls the setting the “Dacha of Doom.” The novel, which has more than a few belly laughs, has generated strong reviews, particularly from the New York Times which called it Shteyngart’s “finest yet.” It was an Amazon Best Book selection.

More serious readers may find the latest book by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, “The Hidden Order of Intimacy,” her provocative reflections on the biblical Book of Leviticus. Zornberg was also a guest a Temple Sinai several years ago. In the past, she has written highly original works on the books of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers as well as a popular work about Moses in Yale University’s Jewish Lives series.

Zornberg, who has a PhD in English literature and taught at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, draws upon a broad selection of literature, philosophy and psychoanalytic theory as well as more traditional sources and rabbinic midrash. Publishers Weekly describes how “this outstanding exegesis builds on its penetrating analysis of the Golden Calf and a surprising roster of sources—including Aristotle, George Eliot and Sigmund Freud—to arrive at an original and persuasive take on Leviticus.”

The Jewish Publication Society offers Edward Feld’s work on Biblical history, “The Book of Revolutions: The Battles of Priests, Prophets and Kings That Birthed the Torah.” It describes the Torah as an epic historical story of ancient Israel full of wars and conflicts that were resolved into three important legal codes: the Covenant Code of Exodus, the Deuteronomic Code of Deuteronomy, and the Holiness Code of Leviticus. They have all been important forces in shaping contemporary Judaism.

read more: