Books On My Reading List This Week – November 23, 2021

Read Along with Me

Happy Thanksgiving week! I hope you will be enjoying a return to in-person gatherings with family and friends to start off the holiday season.

I am looking forward to enjoying four books this week: one hardcover and three audio books. The hardcover was on a previous reading list a couple of weeks ago but I have a terrible habit of over-estimating how much time I have to spend reading. So I end up putting too many titles on these lists. But anyway, Roy Hoffman’s Chicken Dreaming Corn is back on my list this week. And this time, I will finish it!

My audio book list this week includes a book I anticipate to be the next Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I have been looking forward to reading Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann since it came out. Ancient historical fiction, like this book is among my favorite. Also on my list this week

is a book set during World War II, another favorite time period of mine. The Historians is unique to the genre in that it is set in Sweden, a country that remained neutral during the war. Finally, I’m looking forward to listening to The Witch Elm by Tana French. I haven’t indulged in a good suspense novel in a long while. Do you ever get cravings for a certain genre or author? For me, it’s usually Agatha Christie. But this week, I’m feeling the need for the shocking twists and turns of a good suspense.

What’s on your reading list this week?


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Books This Week

Chicken Dreaming Corn by Roy Hoffman
Click the image to find it on Amazon

In 1916, on the immigrant blocks of the Southern port city of Mobile, Alabama, a Romanian Jewish shopkeeper, Morris Kleinman, is sweeping his walk in preparation for the Confederate veterans parade about to pass by. “Daddy?” his son asks, “are we Rebels?” “Today?” muses Morris. “Yes, we are Rebels.” Thus opens a novel set, like many, in a languid Southern town. But, in a rarity for Southern novels, this one centers on a character who mixes Yiddish with his Southern and has for his neighbors small merchants from Poland, Lebanon, and Greece.

As Morris resides with his family over his Dauphin Street store, enjoys cigars with his Cuban friend Pablo Pastor, and makes “a living not a killing,” his tale begins with glimpses of the old Confederacy, continues through a tumultuous Armistice Day, and leads up to the hard-won victories of World War II. Along the way Morris sells shoes and sofas and endures Klan violence, religious zealotry, and financial triumphs and heartbreaks. With his devoted Miriam, who nurses memories of Brooklyn and Romania, he raises four adventurous children whose own journeys take them to New Orleans and Atlanta and involve romance, ambition and tragic loss.

At turns lyrical, comic, and melancholy, this tale takes inspiration from its title. This Romanian expression with an Alabama twist is symbolic of the strivings of ordinary folks for sustenance, for the realization of their hopes and dreams. Set largely on a few humble blocks yet engaging many parts of the world, this Southern Jewish novel is, ultimately, richly American.

The Historians by Cecilia Ekbäck

It is 1943 and Sweden’s neutrality in the war is under pressure. Laura Dahlgren, the bright, young right-hand of the chief negotiator to Germany, is privy to these tensions, even as she tries to keep her head down in the mounting fray. However, when Laura’s best friend from university, Britta, is discovered murdered in cold blood, Laura is determined to find the killer.

Prior to her death, Britta sent a report on the racial profiling in Scandinavia to the secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jens Regnell. In the middle of negotiating a delicate alliance with Hitler and the Nazis, Jens doesn’t understand why he’s received the report. When the pursuit of Britta’s murderer leads Laura to his door, the two join forces to get at the truth.

But as Jens and Laura attempt to untangle the mysterious circumstance surrounding Britta’s death, they only become more mired in a web of lies and deceit. This trail will lead to a conspiracy that could topple their nation’s identity—a conspiracy some in Sweden will try to keep hidden at any cost.

Click the image to find it on Amazon

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The Witch Elm by Tana French
Click the image to find it on Amazon

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann

A young woman survives the unthinkable in this stunning and emotionally satisfying tale of family, love, and resilience, set against the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Esther dreams of so much more than the marriage her parents have arranged to a prosperous silversmith. Always curious and eager to explore, she must accept the burden of being the dutiful daughter. Yet she is torn between her family responsibilities and her own desires.

Meanwhile, the growing turmoil threatens to tear apart not only her beloved city, Jerusalem, but also her own family. As the streets turn into a bloody battleground between rebels and Romans, Esther’s journey becomes one of survival. She remains fiercely devoted to her family, and braves famine, siege, and slavery to protect those she loves.

This emotional and impassioned saga, based on real characters and meticulous research, seamlessly blends the fascinating story of the Jewish people with a timeless protagonist determined to take charge of her own life against all odds.

Click the image to find it on Amazon

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