Books On My Reading List This Week – March 15, 2022

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There’s something a little crazy about checking your Goodreads 2022 Reading Challenge and seeing that you’re 49 books ahead of schedule. I’m only twelve titles away from completing my goal of 75 books for the year. My progress is largely due to the number of audiobooks I’ve enjoyed this year. And I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made in getting my ‘Want to Read’ list under control.

First, on my list this week is The Resurrector by Moshe Mikanovsky. Mikanovsky explores Jewish traditions of grief, mourning, and healing family ties. Next, I’ll be reading Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto by Emmanuel Ringelblum. This journal offers an eyewitness account of life inside the wall.

I’ve also added a couple of audiobooks to my list. My reward for

completing around 60% of my ‘Want to Read’ list. I’m looking forward to Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. I’ve heard a lot about this book from other readers in the Bookstagram community. And I’ll be listening to Another Woman’s Husband. This is a duel time period story that jumps between the untimely death of Princess Diana and the life of Wallis Simpson leading up to her marriage to the Duke of Windsor. I have some mixed feelings about this one, given Simpson’s well-known sympathies with the Nazis but I’ll give it a try.

Finally, in celebration of “Middle Grade March”, I’ve added three graphic novels to my list. The first has been making headlines lately when a school board in Tennessee voted to remove it from school libraries. Maus presents the Holocaust in an accessible and age-appropriate way at a time when this period of history needs to be taught. The other two are also timely for Women’s History Month: “Nice” Jewish Girls and RBG’s Brave & Brilliant Women celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of notable Jewish women throughout history.

Join the conversation! Tell me your thoughts on any of your favorites on this week’s list in the comments.


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Books This Week

The Resurrector by Moshe Mikanovsky
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Can someone be brought back from the dead? Could it change the life of the living?

The Levi family is in their darkest hour. The sudden death of Nir, the middle child, launches a dark journey filled with moments of light and hope. An estranged father and son, a loving older brother, and a religiously devout but sad younger sister, are threaded together by family ties, in a religious enclave in Israel and the greater unknown. The traditions of Judaism, grief, loss, and mysticism come to life through their eyes.

At the Jewish week-long mourning period—the shiva, a mysterious stranger arrives and sets into motion a series of events that are both tangible and otherworldly. It is a journey to discover the bonds that have both broken and healed this family. It is up to the reader to decide what power the Resurrector has, but one thing is certain—it is important to heal relationships with loved ones before it is too late.

Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto by Emmanuel Ringelblum

Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto is the moving account of the horror of the Warsaw Ghetto—written by the recognized archivist and historian of the area while he lived through it. Through anecdotes, stories, and notations—some as brief as was slapped today in Zlota Street,—there emerges the agonizing, eyewitness accounts of human beings caught in the furor of senseless, unrelenting brutality. In the Journal, there is the whole of life in the Ghetto, from the erection of the Wall, in November 1940, for hygienic reasons, through the brief period of deceptive calm to the eventual mass murders. It is a portrait of man tested by crisis, stained at times by the meanness of avarice and self-preservation, illumined more often by moments of nobility.

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Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting the healthy, the sick, the old and the young alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on. A young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is just taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.

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Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul
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As the world mourns the loss of Diana, Princess of Wales, one young woman uncovers a forgotten story of passion, betrayal, and a scandal surrounding the British crown in this unforgettable novel by the bestselling author of The Secret Wife.

Two women who challenged the Crown.

Divided by time. Bound by a secret…

1911: When fifteen-year-old Mary Kirk meets Wallis Warfield at summer camp, she’s immediately captivated by her fearless, brazen, and self-assured personality. And Wallis has a way with the boys who are drawn to her like moths to a flame. Though Mary’s family isn’t crazy about her new best friend, she steadfastly stands by her side—even years later when they’re adults and rumors swirl about Wallis and her reckless behavior with none other than the Prince of Wales. But when Mary’s loyalty to Wallis comes into question, their friendship will be put to the ultimate test.

1997: After a romantic proposal in Paris, Rachel and her fiancé Alex are in a cab when suddenly the car ahead crashes. They’re stunned to learn Princess Diana is in the car. By the wreckage, Alex finds a heart pendant with an engraved letter “J” and Roman numerals XVII and gives it to Rachel to hold. Haunted by the crash and Diana’s subsequent death, Rachel is intrigued when she discovers that Di had visited the last home of Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the accident. Eventually, the revelation of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world…

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Books for Middle Grade March

RBG’s Brave & Brilliant Women: 33 Jewish Women to Inspire Everyone by Nadine Epstein

This collection of biographies of brave and brilliant Jewish female role models–selected in collaboration with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and including an introduction written by the iconic Supreme Court justice herself– provides young people with a roster of inspirational role models, all of whom are Jewish women, who will appeal not only to young people but to people of all ages, and all faiths.

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The fascinating lives detailed in this collection–more than thirty exemplary female role models–were chosen by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG, as she was lovingly known to her many admirers. Working with her friend, journalist Nadine Epstein, RBG selected these trailblazers, all of whom are women and Jewish, who chose not to settle for the rules and beliefs of their time. They did not accept what the world told them they should be. Like RBG, they dreamed big, worked hard, and forged their own paths to become who they deserved to be.
 
Future generations will benefit from each and every one of the courageous actions and triumphs of the women profiled here. Real Wonder Women, the passion project of Justice Ginsburg in the last year of her life, will inspire readers to think about who they want to become and to make it happen, just like RBG.

“Nice” Jewish Girls by Julie Merberg
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Thirty-six mini biographies of groundbreaking, outspoken, odds-defying Jewish women explore their fascinating lives, as well as the ways in which they were shaped by their heritage.

Probing the lives of historic icons like Anne Frank and Emma Goldman to contemporary heroines such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Janet Yellen the book also provides an overview of modern Jewish history. Subjects ranging from Anna Freud, the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology to fashion mogul Diane von Furstenberg to comedian Sarah Silverman offer a fascinating window into the ways Jewish women have approached their fields and embraced their identities. The captivating stories of luminaries from the worlds of politics, literature, activism, the arts, business, science, and more show how these women—in many cases—overcame the obstacles of being both Jewish and female to make their unique mark, and how being Jewish impacted their journeys. 

Maus by Art Spiegelman

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. 

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.

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