“My task is not to debate whether I’m a Jew or not, but to figure out what kind of Jew I am. For me, finding a secular Jewish community with progressive politics fits my version of that identity.”
Circle Book Group
The Circle Book Group meets monthly on Sunday mornings to discuss fiction and nonfiction books with Jewish themes. This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world. Previously discussed books are listed below. Book selections are chosen by participates at least one month in advance of meetings. Ideally there are 8 or more Minuteman Library Network copies available. To be added to Book Group email list and for more information, contact Marie Ariel, firstname.lastname@example.org
MEETING LOCATIONS CHANGE. PLEASE READ THE MEETING PLACE INFORMATION CAREFULLY.
Sunday, September 27, 10:20-12:20 at the Runkle School, 50 Druce St, Brookline, MA 02445, www.runkle.org
BOOK: The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert.
This epic 20th century novel is set in South Africa. The Lion Seeker brings us Isaac Helger, son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II. Are you a stupid or a clever? Such is the refrain in Isaac Helger's mind as he makes his way from redheaded hooligan to searching adolescent to striving young man on the make … Will you find a way to lift your family out of Johannesburg's poor inner city, to buy a house in the suburbs, to bring your aunts and cousins from Lithuania? Meanwhile, South Africa's history, bound up with Europe's but inflected with its own accents -- Afrikaans, Zulu, Yiddish, English -- begins to unravel … We are caught, hearts open and wrecked, between the urgent ambitions of a mother who knows what it takes to survive and a son straining against the responsibilities of the old world, even as he is endowed with the freedoms of the new. [Minuteman Library Network summary]
Sunday, October 25 meeting, 10:20-12:20 will be at a member’s home in Jamaica Plain.
BOOK: At Home in Exile:why diaspora is good for the Jews by Alan Wolfe.
"The Holocaust followed by Israel's creation constituted a kind of civil religion for Jews, reminding them of their eternal vulnerability while offering salvationin the form of statehood. Memories inevitably change, however, and as the impact of these two titanic events fade, an increasingly number of Judaism’s next generation is starting to reject the particularism associated with both eventsin favor of a rebirth of the universalism that once characterized life in the diaspora.In this book I argue that this is a positive moment, both for Jews and the non-Jews with whom they live"-- Provided by publisher.
Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:
Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue: A Novel of Pastry, Guilt, and Music by Mark Kurlansky
The Family: three journeys into the heart of the twentieth century
The Jew in the lotus : a poet’s rediscovery of Jewish identity in Buddhist India by Rodger Kamenetz.
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz
The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein
Bech, a book by John Updike
Einstein : his life and universe by Walter Isaacson
Not the Israel my parents promised me by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; epilogue written by Joyce Brabner; lettering by Charles Pritchett.
Amerika : the missing person : a new translation, based on the restored text by Franz Kafka; translated and with a preface by Mark Hofmann, 2002.
Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
The Difficult Saint by Sharan Newman.
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson.
The Cross and the Pear Tree : a Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera
The Sacrifice of Isaac by Noah Gordon
The adventures of Mottel: the cantor’s son by Sholem Aleichem
My father's paradise : a son's search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar
The end of the Jews : a novel by Adam Mansbach
The story of Yiddish : how a mish-mosh of languages saved the Jews by Neal Karlen
Beyond the Pale : a novel by Elana Dykewomon (also known as Nachman/Dykewomon)
The Merchant of Venice: modern version side-by-side with full original text, edited and rendered into modern English by Alan Durband
Escape to Shanghai: a Jewish Community in China by James R. Ross
The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman
Heading South, Looking North by Ariel Dorfman
The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein
He, She and It by Marge Piercy
Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir by Carl Bernstein
Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander
The Harlot by the Side of the Road by Jonathan Kirsch
Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved by Maggie Anton
The life of Glückel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself / Translated from the original Yiddish
A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of The Cairo Geniza by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole
Peony by Pearl Buck
World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Florence Gordon by Brian Morton
The Girl from Human Street by Roger Cohen
Farthing (Small Change) by Jo Walton