Books I’m Excited to Read in March

Read Along With Me

Today, I’m excited to share with you the books I’m looking forward to reading in March. These are the titles that will be appearing in my weekly book review posts throughout the month.

What books are on your list this month? I hope you’ll add your suggestions in the comments.

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At the End of the World, Turn Left by Zhanna Slor

A riveting debut novel from an unforgettable new voice that is both literary, suspenseful, and a compelling story about identity and how you define “home”.

Masha remembers her childhood in the former USSR, but found her life and heart in Israel. Anna was just an infant when her family fled, but yearns to find her roots. When Anna is contacted by a stranger from their homeland and then disappears, Masha is called home to Milwaukee to find her, and where the search leads changes the family forever.

In 2008, college student Anna feels stuck in Milwaukee, with no real connections and parents who stifle her artistic talents. She is eager to have a life beyond the heartland. When she’s contacted online by a stranger from their homeland―a girl claiming to be her long lost sister―Anna suspects a ruse or an attempt at extortion. But her desperate need to connect with her homeland convinces her to pursue the connection. At the same time, a handsome grifter comes into her life, luring her with the prospect of a nomadic lifestyle.

Masha lives in Israel, where she went on Birthright and unexpectedly found home. When Anna disappears without a trace, Masha’s father calls her back to Milwaukee to help find Anna. In her former home, Masha immerses herself in her sister’s life―which forces her to recall the life she, too, had left behind, and to confront her own demons. What she finds in her search for Anna will change her life, and her family, forever.

Finding Home: In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers by Jill Arlene Culiner

The Fusgeyers were the thousands of Romanian Jewish men and women who, unwilling to tolerate anti-Semitism, left their country on foot between 1899 and 1907, and headed for North America. Destitute but resolute, they supported themselves by giving theatrical performances, or by selling stories and poems. In North America, some worked as peddlers, shopkeepers, café and restaurant owners, actors, and writers in the famous Yiddish theatre; others worked in the gold and silver mines, helped build the railway west, or created the Jewish agricultural communities in Western Canada. Walking in their footsteps across Romania, and following the immigrant trail across through Hungary, Austria, Germany, Holland, England, and North America, Jill Culiner’s Finding Home is a detailed account of Romanian Jewish history and a touching reminder of the courage of our ancestors.Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers won The Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Prize in Canadian Jewish History, and was shortlisted for the ForeWord Magazine Prize Book of the Year Award.

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King Genghis I by Jonathan Yalon

King Genghis I is a wild, biting satire, blending all-too-real scenarios with a dizzying adventure.

When life is dull and tinged in gray, when you’re fired from your job and your girlfriend has just jumped ship—there’s nothing like a thrilling adventure in a faraway land to elevate your spirits. Or at least so thought Turan—a New Yorker who travels from the heart of Western civilization to Genghistan—a small, hermetic Asian kingdom, ruled firmly but kindly by an affable, self-appointed benevolent dictator, who like other compassionate dictators is concerned principally with the well-being of his people.

The bond between the two men upsets the kingdom’s conventional wisdom, alters fates, and changes Turan from a broken-hearted and gloomy young man to a love-struck hero. Because, apparently, there’s nothing like the confines of a spunky little dictatorship to spark a new love.

King Genghis I is the first novel by Jonathan Yalon and his first English-translated book. His previous book was a collection of short stories called Beloved by the Girls. More recently, he published The Last Prince, a historical novel about Cyrus the Great.

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Mannahatta: A Sequel by Sherry V. Ostroff

From award-winning author, Sherry V. Ostroff, comes the historical novel, Mannahatta, the sequel to Caledonia.

Abandoning the ship was risky. It meant Anna never returning to Scotland and reuniting with her daughter. Instead, Anna and her Highlander, Alain MacArthur, faced an uncertain future in colonial Manhattan, where they knew no one, except for an old adversary seeking revenge.

Anna’s story would have remained unknown if it were not for Hanna Duncan’s dogged pursuit of the truth about her ancient ancestor. But first, her journey will take Hanna and the man she loves through the Central American jungle, infiltrated by blood-thirsty gangs; the Scottish Highlands and a scheming family; and the glass and steel canyonlands of New York City.

Mannahatta continues the story of these two strong women living three-hundred years apart. They are bound by mysterious circumstances that slowly unravels an unexpected connection.

Trojan Horse by S. Lee Manning

American operative Kolya Petrov is tracking Mihai Cuza, a direct descendant of Vlad the Impaler. Kolya suspects him of planning meltdowns of nuclear power plants around the world, but every time Kolya gets close, a member of his teamdies in agony. Margaret Bradford, the head of Kolya’s agency, seizes upon a devious plan to place a “Trojan horse”—a digital virus—on Cuza’s computer. But for the plan to succeed, she must betray one of her own agents. Margaret chooses Kolya Petrov—a Russian-Jewish immigrant with no family—for the honor. Kolya is initially unaware that he’s been set up for kidnapping and torture. When he realizes the truth, he must choose between stopping a plot that could kill thousands, and protecting his own life and the life of the woman he loves.

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The Hotel on St. James Place: Growing up in Atlantic City between the Boardwalk and the Holocaust by Molly Golubcow

By the early 1970s Atlantic City, New Jersey had seen better days. Its heyday was decades in the past, and the uncertain promise of casinos had not yet become a reality. Shabby, rundown and even seedy were often terms used to describe the once attractive seaside resort city.

Atlantic City was not without its charms, however. The ocean and the steady sea breeze is always hard to resist. The famous Boardwalk with its shops and the Steel Pier still drew visitors. It remained a destination for mostly bargain vacationers. Once in town, travelers mixed with the drug dealers, runaways, pimps, con artists and others to create a strange tapestry.
It was vastly different than the small shtetl in Poland where Holocaust survivors Harry and Sonia Golubcow once lived. That world had been totally destroyed. When they became the proprietors of the Seacrest Hotel on St. James Place, a small walk up hotel situated less than a block from the Boardwalk, they brought their memories with them and maintained their old world ways.

Harry would often say, “Hitler was a strange matchmaker” describing his new life. Indeed, the hotel’s colorful clientele became a sort of family, with the couple demonstrating their incredible capacity to interact with strange and quirky quests with empathy and understanding– adapting to lifestyles so foreign and opposite to their strict Jewish upbringing and alien compared to the horrors that they experienced. Along the way, they became friends, substitute parents, teachers, and in some cases, saviors to those who came to the Seacrest.

Observing all of this is Harry and Sonia’s young teenage daughter, Molly. The comings and goings of the Seacrest’s unforgettable characters unfold before her like a bizarre soap opera. Each person that passes by Harry’s front desk begins a new tale about a Seacrest Hotel guest who made an impression on Molly. Some are sad and others dangerous, but they all have a story to tell. And they lead Molly—and us– into a darker, misfit world of Atlantic City in those days.
Let’s go to St. James Place and pay a visit to the Seacrest Hotel, as Molly Golubcow vividly remembers it. It will be an unforgettable journey.


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