Looking for good summer reading fare? Check these out

So, what’s on your reading list this summer? If you’re at a loss for book titles, here are some that might pique your interest. We asked notable members of the local Jewish community what they’re reading, and here are their answers.


Molly Antopol, author, San Francisco

Three books I’ve loved this summer are “The Good Spy” by Kai Bird, “The Great Glass Sea” by Josh Weil and “Bobcat and Other Stories” by Rebecca Lee.

Zack Bodner, CEO, Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto

“Menachem Begin” by Daniel Gordis — for some Zionist history

“Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah” edited by Roger Bennett — for my Jewish soul

“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain — for my obsession with war novels

“Inferno” by Dan Brown — for some lighthearted fiction

Michael Chabon, author, Berkeley

“I, Claudius” by Robert Graves

“The Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut

Howard Freedman, director, Jewish Community Library, San Francisco

“The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky and “Ulysses” by James Joyce have been atop my list for years, but I am not sure that I’m any closer to reading either.

  I’m more likely to read Judith Frank’s novel “All I Love and Know.”

Joanne Greene, director, Center for Jewish Peoplehood at Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael

I’ve just started an advance copy of “The Betrayers” by David Bezmozgis.

Also on my night-table pile, “The Art Forger” by B.A. Shapiro and “Capital” by John Lanchester.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that “My Promised Land” by Ari Shavit should top everyone’s list if they haven’t yet read it.


Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, scholar-in-residence, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco

“Hasidic Spirituality for a New Era: The Religious Writings of Hillel Zeitlin,” edited and translated by Arthur Green

Philip Levine, 2011 U.S. poet laureate, Fresno

Like most writers I read a lot. Right now I’m halfway through “Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War” by Amanda Vaill.

For perspective I reread a better book, a great book, “Homage to Catalonia” by George Orwell.

I’m still in the thick of “All the Odes” by Pablo Neruda. This is Neruda at his most joyful.

And a marvelous short story collection by Charles Baxter, “Gryphon.”

Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker, Marin County

“The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Rabbi Judy Shanks, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette

I’m looking forward to reading “Little Failure” by Gary Shteyngart and I would recommend his previous book, “Super Sad True Love Story,” as well.

Lori Starr, executive director, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

  “Love and Treasure” by Ayelet Waldman

“A Tale of Love and Darkness” by Amos Oz

“A Replacement Life” by Boris Fishman

  I am very eagerly anticipating the September release of David Bezmozgis’ new book, “The Betrayers,” and “The Zone of Interest” by Martin Amis.

Ayelet Waldman, author, Berkeley

“City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s” by Otto Friedrich

“Secrets of the Flesh” by Judith Thurman


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