Thursday Thirteen — The Jewish Literature Challenge

Thirteen things about the Jewish Literature Challenge

With Passover ending on Saturday, it’s time for the Jewish Literature Challenge to end. That means I need to bring you guys up to date on what I’ve read and all that.

1. I read a ton, but the Jewish Lit began with Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum‘s A Day of Small Beginnings.

2. It was a beautiful book. I can’t recommend it enough.

3. Then it was on to one of my favorites: Linda Fairstein and Bad Blood.

4. She’d seen me mention how much I like her, and had sent me the book to say thanks. It did NOT disappoint. In fact, it might be one of my favorites in the series.

5. I loved learning about New York City. That’s one of the trademarks of her books, in fact.

6. After many years of sitting on my night table, I read On Her Way Home, by Harriet Rochlin. This was the last in a trilogy about a woman who moves to the desert Southwest and helps found a town.

7. I still think my favorite was the middle book, The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates.

8. The problem with picking up a series midway through is that often, the author has improved with age. Such was the case with Daniel Silva and his The Mark of the Assassin.

9. On to the next, which was another book club choice: Getting Old is Murder, by Rita Lakin. What a fun read! I don’t know if the series will grow long in the tooth for me before it does for Lakin or her core readership, but I’ll definitely be finding out.

10. What Jewish Lit list would be complete without my hero, Joann Sfar? I finally finally got my mitts on a copy of The Professor’s Daughter. I adore Sfar, and this collaboration with Emmanuel Gilbert didn’t disappoint.

11. Another book that had been here forever (I hate to say it, but five years! In a book’s life, that’s an eternity) was Frances Sherwood‘s The Book of Splendor.

12. I liked her earlier book, Green, so much that it’s still on my shelves. Sadly, I couldn’t say the same for this one.

13. And to wrap up, I’m currently reading Naomi Alderman‘s Disobedience. Yet another book club pick, I’m really into it and can’t wait to see what happens next.

That’s a total of eight books read for the challenge. If you’ve got any good suggestions for more books by Jews or featuring Jewish characters, leave ’em in the comments. I’m up to something (for a change)…

Do you miss Trevor? He and the guys will be back for next week. Or go visit the link that’s his name and read some of the fiction I’ve written featuring him. I miss him, too.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will try to link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



  1. Jill

    April 23, 2008 8:27 pm

    Me your first commenter??Wow that is rare!BR/I don’t know all of those writer or book!!But then I don’t remember most of the author, and read almost only in french!BR/And I still laughing from the dos cacahuete thing! The Lady of peanut!!

  2. On a limb with Claudia

    April 23, 2008 9:32 pm

    Sounds like you’ve reseted a bit from your conference! It was fun to see your name some where… sorry I don’t remember where – you were funny there! 😉 Thanks for the book review – it’s very helpful.

  3. Nicholas

    April 23, 2008 10:00 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know any of those 🙁

  4. Kaige

    April 23, 2008 10:04 pm

    Interesting list, Susan. I don’t think I’ve heard of let alone read any of them. Still chuckling over the Lady of Peanut. BR/BR/Happy TT!

  5. Julia Smith

    April 23, 2008 10:08 pm

    I like that cover for ‘The Professor’s Daughter’. What a great list of books – a lot of them look like I’d really love them. Like ‘The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates’.

  6. pussreboots

    April 23, 2008 10:17 pm

    If you’d like to add some kid’s lit to your list, I highly recommend All-of-a-kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. BR/BR/Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is another good one aimed at younger readers.BR/BR/For nonfiction, Blood Matters by Masha Gessen is good. It’s about advances in genetics from a Jewish perspective.BR/BR/On the fiction side, Immortal by Traci Slatton has some interesting Jewish characters.

  7. Adelle

    April 23, 2008 10:21 pm

    Looks like some great reading there. I’ll have to check some of them out. Happy T13!

  8. shaunesay

    April 23, 2008 10:47 pm

    I got a late start this week, mine is a bit picture extensive, and for the first half of the evening, said pictures were missing in action! Yay hubby for finding them! Anyway, you mentioned the Southwest in your #6, and that happens to be what my TT #4 is about! 😉 BR/BR/I may have to look some of these up, I think I have a Fairstein book in my mystery section already, so I’ll have to give it a try!BR/BR/Happy Thursday! *hugs*

  9. Lori

    April 23, 2008 11:00 pm

    Sounds like some great stuff!! I will have to check a few of them out. Happy TT my friend:)

  10. Nicole Austin

    April 23, 2008 11:01 pm

    Great list. I haven’t read any of these but plan on checking them out. Thanks!BR/BR/It was wonderful to finally meet you in person. Hopefully we’ll get more time to chat next year in Orlando!

  11. Phyllis Sommer

    April 23, 2008 11:11 pm

    this is a great list. i haven’t read most of them…which says a lot because i try to read most of the “jewish fiction” out there! i am doing a book discussion tomorrow on “away” by amy bloom, and i thought it was an interesting read. i also recently enjoyed “the people of the book” by geraldine brooks. i will check out some of your choices too, and i’m sad that i missed the jewish literature challenge!

  12. storyteller

    April 23, 2008 11:27 pm

    I’m with Nicholas and Kaige this evening … but this is the first time I’ve published my T-13 on Wednesday evening and my mind is MUSH … so methinks I’ll stop and leave the blog visiting for tomorrow morning.BR/Hugs and blessings,

  13. bunnygirl

    April 23, 2008 11:39 pm

    I have The Professor’s Daughter on my “to read” list, but I’m not familiar with the other books you mention.BR/BR/Suspecting that I had read a lot of Jewish authors without making particular note of it (it’s all about the story, you know), I did a web search and found quite a few Jewish novelists I had read, including Saul Bellow, E.L. Doctorow, Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, and J.D. Salinger, among others.

  14. Nap Warden

    April 23, 2008 11:40 pm

    I’m with Nicholas…don’t know any:(

  15. The Gal Herself

    April 23, 2008 11:54 pm

    I love Linda Fairstein! Not just as an author (but I enjoyed The Deadhouse very much) but also as a woman. Way back in the 1980s when she prosecuted Robert Chambers for killing Jennifer Levin in New York, she also defended Jennifer’s memory. That case, and Linda’s strong ethical stand, has stayed with me. I think it’s so cool that she sent you her book!BR/BR/Nora Ephron is a very good essayist, but I’d recommend her fiction book, Heartburn, for your Jewish Literature Challenge. It’s a very smart, very sad and still very witty novel about the end of a marriage.BR/BR/Yes, of course I miss Trevor. Does he miss me — I mean, US? Your literary creation does seem to enjoy attention …

  16. Thomma Lyn

    April 24, 2008 2:56 am

    Wow, via your links, I’ve checked out the descriptions of those books, and they sound so intriguing — and I’m putting A Day of Small Beginnings on my To-Read list!BR/BR/Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

  17. anthonynorth

    April 24, 2008 4:39 am

    I must admit I’m not familiar with those. I think I’ll have to get so.

  18. SandyCarlson

    April 24, 2008 5:13 am

    Thanks for bringing Linda Fairstein to my attention. I’ll have to have a look! I enjoyed this post very much.

  19. Tilly Greene

    April 24, 2008 6:24 am

    I’m a recent convert Linda Fairstein…there’s always something new to learn about along with the mystery.BR/BR/And of course you’ll get a free copy if they take them!

  20. Shelley Munro

    April 24, 2008 6:46 am

    The only writer I know is Linda Fairstein.

  21. Darla

    April 24, 2008 9:16 am

    I swear I’ve read something by Linda Fairstein, but I can’t figure out what. It must have been before I started blogging about books. I have something by Daniel Silva in my TBR pile. BR/BR/I’ve no idea if Laurie R. King is Jewish, but the main character of her Mary Russell series is. That’s all I can think of at the moment, though I know I’ve read more.

  22. susiej

    April 24, 2008 9:50 am

    Susan, I’ve sadly not read these… but my sons had a wonderful week learning about Passover at school. Food was brought in, books were read, and history was explained. I was impressed with the teacher.

  23. Bethanie

    April 24, 2008 10:17 am

    Well, I feel so lame – I have neither read nor heard of any of those! But they all sound interesting… goodness, my I-oughta-read-that list just got a wicked lot longer… 🙂

  24. karen!

    April 24, 2008 1:21 pm

    I can’t wait to hear what you (and the book club ladies) think of ‘Disobedience’. I’ve been wondering whether that one was on your list.

  25. Sue

    April 24, 2008 2:13 pm

    Sounds like a great list! Happy TT and thanks so much for stopping by!

  26. Celticlibrarian

    April 24, 2008 3:33 pm

    Barbara Rosenblat is a fabulous books on tape actress, and she is Jewish. Does that count?BR/BR/Happy TT!

  27. Denise Patrick

    April 24, 2008 4:59 pm

    Sounds like some wonderful reading. I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, and I try not to read when I’m writing because it’s too easy to copy something I love in a book. As soon as I finish this story, I’m going to hit the library.BR/BR/Happy TT!


    April 24, 2008 5:56 pm

    I’m joining the lame crowd. Looks like I need to be reading! Happy TT

  29. L^2

    April 24, 2008 6:37 pm

    Sounds like you’ve been busy! BR/BR/I need to get back to my to-be-read pile. I think I’ve only made it through one book so far this year.

  30. marci

    April 24, 2008 8:51 pm

    Happy Thursday! BR/BR/Besides Fairstein (who I also adore, but hate that her newer books are in that icky paperback format, so I haven’t purchased them), I’ve only read one other on your list – The Book of Splendor. BR/BR/While it started out slow, I really enjoyed the book. When I went to Prague last year it was so neat to see the places in the book. I keep meaning to re-read it having been there now, but there’s just so many other books!

  31. It's All Good!

    April 24, 2008 9:11 pm

    I’ll have to read some of those you listed.BR/Thanks for stopping by!BR/God bless,BR/Brenda 🙂

  32. It's All Good!

    April 24, 2008 9:11 pm

    I’ll have to read some of those you listed.BR/Thanks for stopping by!BR/God bless,BR/Brenda 🙂

  33. It's All Good!

    April 24, 2008 9:11 pm

    I’ll have to read some of those you listed.BR/Thanks for stopping by!BR/God bless,BR/Brenda 🙂

  34. Gattina

    April 25, 2008 1:15 am

    Can’t say that much about books in English, everything is in french over here.

  35. Alice Audrey

    April 25, 2008 1:27 am

    I’m not familiar with any of these. Looks like you’ve been busy reading.

  36. Robin L. Rotham

    April 25, 2008 2:26 am

    Wow, way to make me feel shallow and uncultured, LOL! I obviously need to be reading fewer ebooks and more real books.

  37. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 25, 2008 7:54 am

    Hey! E-books ARE real books!

  38. auria cortes

    April 27, 2008 3:54 pm

    Add me to the list of people who haven’t read any of the books on your list.

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