New Books for Your Reading List – August 16, 2022

Read Along with Me

New books on my reading list this week including Departure Stories, Shattered Faith, The Silent Patient, and The Maid

I have some great books on my reading list this week.

The first is a new release coming out on October 4th – Departure Stories: Betty Crocker Made Matzoh Balls (and other lies) by Elisa Bernick. In her memoir, Bernick revisits her traumatic upbringing in Minnesota. In addition to exploring her family history, she also takes a look at Minnesota’s antisemitic history.

My second book is a survivor story. Wells was a young boy, growing up in a Polish shtetl when the Nazis invaded destroying his life and disillusioning his once deep faith.

The last two selections on my reading list this week are audiobooks once again selected based on their popularity among the Bookstagram community. I’m looking forward to listening to The Silent Patient and The Maid.

Join the conversation! Tell me what’s on your reading list this week in the comments.


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Reading List

Departure Stories: Betty Crocker Made Matzoh Balls (and other lies) by Elisa Bernick
Click the image to find it on Amazon

“We weren’t religious per se. The most frequent mention of God in our house was my mother yelling ‘Goddammit!'”

Elisa Bernick grew up “different” (i.e., Jewish) in the white, Christian suburb of New Hope, Minnesota during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the center of her world was her mother, Arlene, who was a foul-mouthed, red-headed, suburban Samson who ultimately shook the walls of their family until it collapsed. Poignant and provocative, Departure Stories peers through the broader lens of Minnesota’s recent history to reveal an intergenerational journey through trauma that unraveled the Bernick family and many others.

Deftly interweaving reporting, archival material, memoir, jokes, scrapbook fragments, personal commentary, and one very special Waikiki Meatballs recipe, Bernick explores how the invisible baggage of place and memory, Minnesota’s uniquely antisemitic history, and the cultural shifts of feminism and changing marital expectations contributed to her family’s eventual implosion. 

Departure Stories: Betty Crocker Made Matzoh Balls (and other lies) is a personal exploration of erasure, immigrants, and exiles that examines the ways departures―from places, families and memory―have far-reaching effects.

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New books on my reading list this week including Departure Stories, Shattered Faith, The Silent Patient, and The Maid
Shattered Faith: A Holocaust Legacy by Leon Weliczker Wells

As a boy growing up in a small Jewish shtetl in southern Poland, Leon Wells was part of a large and warm family whose strong religious faith provided the focus for all aspects of life. Then came the Nazi takeover of Poland that forever destroyed that life.
Wells begins this poignant memoir by recounting in loving detail the daily life of the shtetl, focusing on the celebration of Yom Kippur in the years before the Nazi occupation. Much of his gift to readers lies in the wealth of memories of a now-vanished way of life and the good and gentle people who lived it.

Click the image to find it on Amazon

But Wells’s theme is a darker one: “What was was and is no more.” By recalling the Yom Kippurs of his years of war, imprisonment, lonely wandering, and eventual settlement in America, he demonstrates the progressive losses of all he held dear: not only his mother, his father, his sisters and brothers, and all seventy members of his extended family but also his religious faith. Reared in an atmosphere of unquestioning adoration of God, Wells found that everything in his subsequent life refuted that belief. Alone, his life and hopes shattered, he was left to endure a lifelong quarrel with the God who had abandoned him and his people.
This is a questioning memoir that makes an important contribution to the literature of the Holocaust. It is also a story of the passage of a young boy through the fires of Hell and his emergence from the ashes with an almost unbearable burden of disillusion and occasional anger. Wells draws discomforting parallels between the exclusive “chosenness” of the Children of Israel and the same claims made by the Aryan “master race.” The result is a moving work that disturbs through its questioning, even as it informs through its evocation of a way of life vanished in the whirlwind.

New books on my reading list this week including Departure Stories, Shattered Faith, The Silent Patient, and The Maid

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The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose
Click the image to find it on Amazon

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband – and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive. 

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening, her husband, Gabriel, returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face and then never speaks another word.  

Click the image to find it on Amazon

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. 

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations – a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Past Reading Lists

Amazing Books for Your Reading List – July 26, 2022

Read Along with Me I am very much looking forward to the books on my list this week. There are some great books on it this week. The first book on my list is an advanced copy of Sarah Birmbach’s upcoming memoir, A Daughter’s Kaddish. Scheduled for release in September, Birmbach explores her own experience […]

New Books for Your Reading List – August 2, 2022

Read Along with Me I am very much looking forward to the new books on my list this week. The first book on my list is one I picked up from the gift shop on a visit to the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, in New Orleans. The museum is dedicated to sharing the […]

New Books for Your Reading List – August 9, 2022

Read Along with Me I have some great books on my reading list this week. The first is a new release coming out on September 30th – The Book of Jewish Knowledge by The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. This 400+ page volume is a collection of all aspects of Judaism including major life events, Jewish […]

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New books on my reading list this week including Departure Stories, Shattered Faith, The Silent Patient, and The Maid

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