Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ten Jewish books to read before you die

One opinion – what would you add, what would you delete?

1.     THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL  Anne Frank
A record of a young girl thoughts whilst in hiding from Nazis during the occupation of Holland.

2.    THE TRIAL  Franz Kafka
The ultimate experience of a world that’s now universally understood as ‘Kafkaesque’ – the story of a man, arrested, prosecuted by a remote authority. A study in powerlessness.

3.    TEVYA THE DAIRYMAN Shalom Aleichem
Amidst our collective suffering and angst, we need to be reminded to laugh.

From Europe to Palestine, from a childhood in Jerusalem to time in the IDF, his Israeli story is one that resonates for many.

5.    HOWL  Allen Ginsberg
A celebrated poem by one of the leading figures of the Beat generation. It denounces the damaging forces of conformity and rampant capitalism. “Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstacies! gone down the American river!”

6.    FUGITIVE PIECES  Anne Michaels
A Jewish child in Poland escapes the Nazis, and is rescued by a Greek geologist. The narrative peels back layers of time and change, exploring trauma, loss, memory and migration in poetic language that successfully straddles the personal and the scientific.  

The ultimate memoir.

8.    WHO KILLED DANIEL PEARL?  Bernard-Henri Lévy
Through telling the story of the journalist Daniel Pearl’s murder, Lévy provides a comprehensive overview of the jihadist movement and the profound affect their violent actions have had on the early 21st century.

9.    GOODBYE, COLUMBUS Philip Roth 
Captures the zeitgeist of the North American Jewish community in the late 1950s, and deals with the problems that have resulted from the successful assimilation into the broader culture.  

10.  JULY'S PEOPLE  Nadine Gordimer
A study of racism and shifting power in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa.

11.  TORAH
Fear of retribution if we leave the Holy Book out.

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