|As the weather slowly warms up and the days grow longer, the team at Melbourne Jewish Book Week has one thing on our minds: summer reading. Books to excite and challenge us on those long, light evenings. Books to escape into whilst relaxing on the beach or by a pool. Stories to share and debate with friends over summertime catch-ups in Melbourne or wherever we may find ourselves.|
We also look forward to Chanukah, the festival of lights, which tells the story of Jewish liberation against forces of oppression. It is a time when we reflect on the perseverance and resilience of the Jewish people, and the importance of religious freedom historically and in the modern world. With pride and visibility in mind, Melbourne Jewish Book Week strives to showcase and highlight both local and international Jewish thinkers and writers.
Please enjoy a sneak peak of our Summer Reading Guide, a selection of books chosen by the inimitable minds of Tali Lavi, Bram Presser, and Elissa Goldstein for your summer reading pleasure. For the full list, including podcasts, art, and picture books, visit our website www.melbournejewishbookweek.com.au and sign up to receive our free newsletter.
We wish our community a very happy Chanukah, where the lighting of candles brings together family and community in celebration of survival and hope.
The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen
Mixing fiction with non-fiction, the campus novel with the lecture, The Netanyahus is a wildly inventive, genre-bending comedy of blending, identity, and politics – ‘An Account of A Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Incident in the History of a Very Famous Family’ that finds Joshua Cohen at the height of his powers. Recommended by Elissa Goldstein
The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg
The Dry Heart begins and ends with the matter-of-fact pronouncement: “I shot him between the eyes.” As the tale—a plunge into the chilly waters of loneliness, desperation, and bitterness—proceeds, the narrator’s murder of her flighty husband takes on a certain logical inevitability. Stripped of any preciousness or sentimentality, Natalia Ginzburg’s writing here is white-hot, tempered by rage. She transforms the unhappy tale of an ordinary dull marriage into a rich psychological thriller that seems to beg the question: why don’t more wives kill their husbands? Recommended by Bram Presser
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuko
From the award winning author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine, a tour de force of economy, precision, and emotional power about what happens to a group of obsessed recreational swimmers when a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool. Recommended by Tali Lavi
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro
From the best-selling author of Inheritance, a gripping new novel about two families bound together across generations by an unspeakable tragedy.
Recommended by Bram, Elissa and Tali
The Glass Pearls by Emetic Pressberger
This thrilling tale of an ex-Nazi surgeon hiding in plain sight in 1960s London by the celebrated filmmaker is a lost gem with ‘the morbid tension of a thriller’
Recommended by Bram Presser
The Jane Austen Remedy by Ruth Wilson
The Jane Austen Remedy is a beautiful, life-affirming memoir of love, self-acceptance and the curative power of reading. Published the year Ruth turns ninety, it is an inspirational account of the lessons learned from Jane Austen over nearly eight decades, as well as a timely reminder that it’s never too late to seize a second chance. Recommended by Elissa Goldstein
Timecode of a Face By Ruth Ozeki
What did your face look like before your parents were born? Who are you? What is your true self? These are the questions in Ruth Ozeki’s mind as she challenges herself to spend three hours gazing into her own reflection, recording every thought and detail.
Recommended by Tali Lavi