Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jewish Literature Challenge 2009

December 21, 2008 to to April 27, 2009.

"Read at least four books by Jewish authors or about Judaism".

Full details from Callista.
Books completed are highlighted in blue or linked to reviews.
The Gravedigger's Daughter**** by Joyce Carol Oates
The Museum Guard**** by Howard Norman
The Rabbi's Cat 2*** by Joann Sfor
Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes***** by Tamar
Completed Feb.28, 2009.
A Mad Desire to Dance by Elie Wiesel
Books on hand tbr:
The Jewel Trader of Pegu by Jeffrey Hantover
Tightrope by Michael Karpin
All Other Nights by Dara Horn
Strand of a Thousand Pearls by Dorit Rabinyan
Look For Me by Edeet Ravel
Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth by Edeet Ravel
The Entropy of Aaron Rosclatt by James Sandham
Scheisshaus Luck by Peierre Berger (non-fiction)
The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman (non-fiction)
Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
Return From Darkeness by Nina Vida
A Scrap of Time by Ida Fink
Snow in August by Pete Hamill
Soumchi by Amos Oz
Giving up America By Pearl Abraham
The Seventh Beggar by Pearl Abraham
Kaddish for a Child Not Born by Imre Kertesz (Nobel author)
A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell
Fima by Amos Oz
The Ghost of Hannah Mendes by Naomi Ragen
The Final Opus of Leon Solomon by Jerome Badanes
American Jewish Fiction Guide by Josh Lambert (Feb. 2009)

Starred reviews of those previously read:

Highlighted titles are linked to fuller reviews.

The Septembers of Shiraz**** by Dalia Sofer (US)
My Father's Paradise***** by Ariel Sabar (US)
The Clothes on Their Backs**** by Linda Grant (UK) (Booker Prize shortlist 2008)
Dictation: A Quartet**** by Cynthia Ozick (US) (short stories)
The Angel of History**** by Bruno Arpaia (Italy)
Who By Fire by Diana Spechler**** (US)
A Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel***** (Canada)
The History of Love***** by Nicole Krauss (US)
The Attack***** by Yasmina Khadra (Algeria)
Let it Be Morning**** by Sayed Kashua (Israel)
The God-Fearer**** by Dan Jacobson (South Africa/UK)
Disobedience***** by Naomi Alderman (UK) Orange Prize New Writers Award:
People of the Book***** by Geraldine Brooks (Australia)
A Pigeon and a Boy***** by Meir Shalev (Israel)
Bearing the Body**** by Ehud Havazelet (Israel) NYTimes Notable book 2007
Memory***** by Philippe Grimbert (France) Prix Goncourt and the Prix Wizo:
The Revisionist**** by Helen Schulman (Australia)
The Dawning of the Day***** by Haim Sabato (Israel):
The Yiddish Policeman's Union**** by Michael Chabon (US):
The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfor*****, graphic novel, (France):
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak***** (Australia)
The Diary of Anne Frank***** Netherlands) (non-fiction)
The Painted Bird***** by Jerzy Kosinski (US)
The Last of the Just***** by Andre Schwarz-Bart (France)
The Deadwood Beetle**** by Mylene Dresser (US)
The Sunflower***** by Simon Wiesenthal (non-fiction)
Seize the Day***** by Saul Bellow (US)
anything by Elie Wiesel (France)
anything by Primo Levi (Italy)
anything by Amos Oz (Israel)
anything by Meir Shalev (Israel)
anything by Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)
anything by Cynthia Ozick (US)
anything by Aryeh Lev Stollmann (Canada)
murder mysteries set in Israel by Batya Gur (Israel)
Murder on a Kibbutz****
Literary Murder****
Murder in Jursalem
Saturday Morning Murder: A Psychoanalytical Case
Bethlehem Road Murder
Musical Murder

I am open to suggestions of good literary fiction on this or any other theme. What have you read? I do not write full reviews of everything I read. But I am happy to answer questions or comment on anything I've read or recommended. Feel free to comment on any books listed here, no spoilers please.

If you've written reviews or comments of any books on these lists, please leave a link, I'd love to read them.


  1. hmm.. i would like to try read one book and see if I like it before saying YES to this challenge :)

  2. Wow that is a comprehensive list. I bet you that some of these would also qualify for the WWII reading challenge Anna and I are hosting in 2009.

    You should check out the challenge here:

    We'd love to have you. Thanks for popping over my blog. I love reading your reviews.

  3. I've read a bunch of these as you know from reading my blog. I'll be interested in your take on them, both the ones I've read and those I haven't. Rabbi's Cat 2 was great; I'll be reading A Pigeon and a Boy by Meir Shalev soon, as well as Light Fell by Evan Fallenberg (which I don't think is on your list). I'd also suggest Surprised by God by Danya Ruttenberg, which I just started. it's a memoir & it's terrific. :-)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. *Serena, thank you for the invitation. I'll check out what's available that will qualify , although I am strict about not reading anything that glorifies war. I'm doing quite a few challenges but I will stop by and let you know.
    *Marie, I have read Light Fell by Evan Fallenberg, an unusual story, full of compassion and so well written.
    I will put Surprised By God by Danya Ruttenberg on my to-be-considered list. Thank you for your suggestions. And I can't wait to hear what you think of A Pigeon and a Boy.

  6. This looks like an interesting challenge. I've always been fascinated by Jewish lit, and you've got a nice list compiled already. I need to prioritize my 2009 reading goals, but I'll fit this in if I can and sign up accordingly.

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed my reviews. I'll add your blog to my blog list.

  7. Sandra :) I have an award for you :)

  8. I've read several of the books on your list.

    I am going to join the challenge, and am glad I found your site, directing me to the Jewish Literature Challenge.



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