Circle Book Group

The Circle Book Group reads both fiction and non-fiction, and meets monthly on Sunday mornings for collegial and provocative discussion. Book selections are chosen by participants at least one month in advance of meetings.

At Marie's, there is one cat who is out of the way during the meeting.

Bagels and coffee are provided (with a suggested $2 donation). Email Marie [] to get on the Book Group mailing list.

Next Meetings:

Sunday, April 27, 10:15am - 12:15pm --  Betsy Groban’s --  (617) 492-8634 -- -- Contact Betsy for the address.

BOOK: The Family : three journeys into the heart of the twentieth century / David Laskin.

Traces the history of the 20th century through the story of an extraordinary Jewish family, recounting how the author's 19th-century ancestors were separated by period upheavals in western Russia and went on to become the founders of the Maidenform Bra Company, pioneers in the contentious birth of Israel, and victims of the Holocaust.

NOTE: There are many copies of the April book, The Family: three journeys into the heart of the twentieth century, in the Minuteman Library Network and 4 copies in the Boston Public Library. The Family is 383 pages and there is currently a waiting list for copies. It is best to place your library requests mid-March.

Sunday, June 1 (in place of May meeting) --  Marie Ariel’s --  (617) 492-2765 -- – 41 Amory St., Cambridge.
READING: “The Maurice Sendak you may not know.” We can read the Kushner photocopy (of pages 13-43 ofThe Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the present, see below. Copies were available at the March meeting and will be available at April meeting) and the 7 books listed below and watch the video. Watching the video first is a good idea.

A good interview with Bill Moyers. Covers Where the Wild Things Are (17 min.) and Brundibar (19 min.)

The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the present / Text by Tony Kushner. 2003. This is a big, heavy art book. It weighs 3+ lbs. If you take it out of the library, look particularly at pages 13-43. And, there will be photocopies of these pages available at the March & April meetings.

The three books listed below are discussed in the pages 13-43:

  • Outside Over There / text by Sendak (many copies in MLN)
  • Dear Mili / text by Wilhelm Grimm (many)
  • We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy / text by Sendak (many)

Because these are “dark” books, we should also read

  • Miami Giant by Arthur Yorinks which Sendak illustrated (many MLN copies)

the Sendak classics:

  • Where the Wild Things Are, and
  • In the Night Kitchen.


  • Brundibar / retold by Tony Kushner ; pictures by Maurice Sendak ; after the opera by Hans Krása and Adolf Hoffmeister (many)

These are short books – most/all 32 p.

Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:

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