Sisterhood Blog

Our Rack: The Sisterhood Reading List

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share

Beginning this month, The Sisterhood will feature a monthly roundup of book recommendations for our readers. We will include books that are geared toward Jewish women, along with other women’s-interest titles that we believe will be of interest to Sisterhood readers.

Nonfiction:

• A diverse group of writers share their feminist “aha” moments in the new anthology “Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists” (Seal Press), edited by J. Courtney Sullivan and Courtney E. Martin. For contributor Elisa Albert, the click came when she was cast as Vashti in her Jewish day school’s Purim-themed musical review; for Salon.com’s Rebecca Traister, it came while she was reading Katie Roiphe’s controversial treatise on date rape.

• In “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife” (Harper), Newsweek’s religion editor, Lisa Miller, writes about how we think about the world to come. She looks at heaven’s origins in ancient Jewish thought, the way ideas about the afterlife were shaped by different cultures over time and how the belief in heaven has influenced the way we live as individuals and societies.

• Literary critic Judith Shulevitz weaves together research about the history of the Sabbath with her personal relationship with the day of rest in “The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time” (Random House). She examines the Sabbath as both a utopian ideal and a ritual that has evolved in different religions over time. Read Mark Oppenheimer’s Forward review of “The Sabbath World” and Shulevitz’s op-ed on making the Sabbath “keep-able.”

• For her new book, “The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group” (Touchstone), Elle magazine senior editor Laurie Abraham spent more than a year following five couples as they attempted to work through their relationship troubles. The book, which originated as a New York Times article, employs psychology, literature and science to interpret the marriages. The unions alternately prove dysfunctional and surprisingly strong.

• The new translation of “The Second Sex” (Knopf), Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist masterpiece, includes passages left out of the original translation, completed nearly 60 years ago. The book’s political, sociological and cultural commentary on feminine “otherness” has aged well, and should fit right in with the nuanced ideas of feminism prevalent today.

Fiction:

• Between 1934 and 1942, the year she was killed, at age 39, at Auschwitz, Irène Némirovsky penned the 10 short stories featured in “Dimanche and Other Stories” (Vintage). In them, Némirovsky, who was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism, captures the atmosphere of prewar and wartime France with the pointillistic detail that won her acclaim for her accidentally discovered and posthumously published novel, “Suite Française.”

“The Murderer’s Daughters” (St. Martin’s Press), a haunting new novel by Randy Susan Meyers follows two Jewish girls, Lulu and Merry, in the three decades that follow their mother’s murder at the hands of their alcoholic father.

Memoir:

“Saving Henry: A Mother’s Journey” (Hyperion), depicts Laurie Strongin’s son’s ultimately fatal battle with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease that disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews. In order to try to help her son, Strongin and her husband used a controversial in vitro procedure to try to cure him, and in the process became advocates of stem-cell research.

• In “Devotion: A Memoir” (Harper) writer Dani Shapiro seeks answers of the higher sort from a yogi, a Buddhist and a rabbi. Shapiro, born to an Orthodox father and a secular Jewish mother, never arrives at easy answers, which is ultimately the book’s strength. Read the Forward’s coverage of “Devotion” here.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, Laurie Strongin, Lisa Miller, Rebecca Traister, Laurie Abraham, Judith Shulevitz, Irène Némirovsky, Heaven, Feminism, Fanconi Anemia, Elisa Albert, Dani Shapiro, Books

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.