2023-2024 Book Club Picks

Find your local library to check out any of our picks! Sign up to receive emails about author features throughout the year.

#UsToo: How Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Women Changed Our Communities

By Keren McGinity

#UsToo examines the relationship between sexual harassment, gender, and multiple religions, highlighting the voices of women of different faiths who found their voices and used them for the betterment of their communities. 

An Ordinary Life: Journeys of Tonia Lechtman

By Anna Müller

One woman’s national, political, ethnic, social, and personal identities impart an extraordinary perspective on the histories of Europe, Polish Jews, Communism, activism, and survival during the twentieth century. 

Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter

By Rachel Shteir

Feminist writer and activist Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, was powerful and polarizing. In this biography, the first in more than twenty years, Rachel Shteir draws on Friedan’s papers and on interviews to create a nuanced portrait. 

Burning Girls and Other Stories

By Veronica Schanoes

In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center. 

Canine Pioneer

By Susan Kahn

Rudolphina Menzel was a Jewish scientist whose pioneering research on canine behavior shaped the ways dogs came to be trained and understood. Teaching Jews to like dogs and training dogs to serve Jews became Menzel’s unique kind of Zionist mission. 

Daughter of History: Traces of an Immigrant Girlhood

By Susan Rubin Suleiman

At once an intellectual autobiography and a reflection on the nature of memory, identity, and home, Daughter of History invites us to consider how the objects that underpin our lives become gateways to our past. 

Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair

By Rosa Lowinger

Dwell Time, the first memoir ever written by a practicing art conservator, is a Cuban-Jewish immigrant family story seen through an entirely new lens, connecting the material to the personal and helping us see what is possible when one opens one’s heart to another person’s wounds.

Feminists Reclaim Mentorship

By Tahneer Oksman and Nancy K. Miller, eds

The stories gathered in Feminists Reclaim Mentorship challenge assumptions about mentorship, illuminating the obstacles that make it difficult to connect meaningfully while reimagining possibilities for reciprocity. It arrives at a moment when forming feminist connections between generations couldn't feel more urgent. 

Golda Meir: Israel’s Matriarch

By Deborah Lipstadt

In tracing the life of Golda Meir, author Deborah Lipstadt explores the history of the Yishuv and Jewish state from the 1920s through 1973 while highlighting the contradictions and complexities of a person who was only the third woman to serve as a head of state in the twentieth century. 

Happily 

By Sabrina Orah Mark

A beautifully written memoir-in-essays on fairy tales and their surprising relevance to modern life written by a Jewish woman raising Black children in the American South. Revelatory, whimsical, and utterly inspired, Happily is a testament to the ability of the fantastical to reveal essential truths about life, love, and the meaning of family. 

In Other Lifetimes All I've Lost Comes Back to Me

By Courtney Sender

Populated with lovers who leave and return, with ghosts of the Holocaust and messages from the dead, Courtney Sender's debut collection speaks about the longings of contemporary love. The world of these fourteen interlocking stories is suffused with magic, wit, and humor. 

Kantika

By Elizabeth Graver

A dazzling Sephardic multigenerational saga that moves from Istanbul to Barcelona, Havana, and New York, Kantika explores displacement, endurance, family as home, identity, place and exile. It also reveals how the female body serves as a site of both suffering and joy. 

Like the Sea and the Sky: A Mysterious Mollusk and Its Magical Blue Ink

Written by Jordan Namerow and illustrated by Michelle Simpson

Seven-year-old Zinni loves learning about the world—especially the ocean and the wondrous creatures that live there! When Zinni’s mommy, a rabbi, tells her the story of a mysterious ancient mollusk whose vivid blue ink is sacred to the Jewish people, Zinni is determined to find it…even if the only place she can search is in her dreams. 

Longings: Poems of a Life

By Merle Feld

What do we long for as we carry the traumas of our past and look into the future with guarded hope? In Longing: Poems of a Life, acclaimed poet Merle Feld tells an intensely personal story that evokes profound human experience. 

Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole

By Julia Watts Belser

A transformative spiritual companion and deep dive into disability politics that reimagines disability in the Bible and contemporary culture, Loving Our Own Bones is an essential read that will foster and enrich conversations about disability, spirituality, and social justice. 

Once We Were Home

By Jennifer Rosner

Filled with luminosity and anguish, Once We Were Home reveals a little-known history. Based on the true stories of Jewish children stolen during World War II, this heart-wrenching novel raises questions of complicity and responsibility as it confronts what it really means to find home. 

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry: The Case for Good Apologies

By Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy

In Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Marjorie Ingall and Susan McCarthy explain why a good apology is hard to find and why it doesn’t have to be. Writing with humor and erudition, they lay out steps to a good and meaningful apology and explore the forces that often get in the way. 

Spellbook for the Sabbath Queen

By Elisheva Fox

How can we build meaningful lives within limits beyond our control? Spellbook for the Sabbath Queen explores this question across several themes: intimate relationships, religious belief, and our own longings for home. 

The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World

By Sharon Brous

With original insights and practical tools, The Amen Effect translates foundational ideas into simple practices that connect us to our better angels, offering a blueprint for a more meaningful life and a more connected and caring world.

The Jews of Summer

By Sandra Fox  

In the decades following the Holocaust, American Jewish leaders debated how to preserve and produce authentic Jewish culture. They pinned their hopes on summer camps for Jewish youth. The Jews of Summer demonstrates how a cultural crisis birthed a rite of passage that remains a significant influence in American Jewish life. 

The Postcard

By Anne Berest 

Fifteen years after a postcard is delivered, Anne is moved to discover who sent it and why. She embarks on a journey to discover the fate of the Rabinovitch family: their flight from Russia and, their journey to Latvia, Palestine, and Paris. What emerges is a moving saga that shatters certainties about Anne’s family, her country, and herself.

The Racism of People Who Love You

By Samira Mehta 

In this powerful and provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, Samira Mehta reflects on facets of being multiracial. The Racism of People Who Love You invites people of mixed race into the conversation on race and the melding of found and inherited cultures of hybrid identity.

The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda

By Shoshana Nambi

Sukkot is Shoshi's favorite Jewish holiday. She and her brothers love to decorate their sukkah. But who will win the Ugandan Abayudaya community's annual sukkah contest? While only one sukkah can be the best, everybody wins when neighbors work together.

The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home

By S.L. Wisenberg 

With wit, verve, blood, scars, and a solid dose of self-deprecation, S.L. Wisenberg wanders across the expanse of continents and combs through history books and family records in her search for home and meaning.

The Wolf Hunt

By Ayelet Gundar-Goshen 

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen returns with a timely and suspenseful exploration of the fault lines in a community, a school, and a family, as a mother begins to suspect her teenage son of committing a terrible crime. 

There is No Place Without You

By Maya Bernstein 

Maya Bernstein’s debut volume presents poems rigorously composed and delicately honed. It reveals the sensitive spirit and sharp mind of a mature speaker exploring the gaping space between the infinitude of the divine and the finite nature of human existence.

Thistlefoot

By GennaRose Nethercott 

In the tradition of modern fairy tales like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver comes an immersive fantasy saga, a debut novel about estranged siblings who are reunited after receiving a mysterious inheritance. 

Two Tribes

By Emily Bowen Cohen 

In her poignant debut graphic novel inspired by her own life, Muscogee-Jewish writer and artist Emily Bowen Cohen embraces the complexity, meaning, and deep love that comes from being part of two vibrant tribes. 

Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America's Revolutions

By Mattie Kahn 

A heartening inspiration, Young and Restless shares the untold story of the people who have helped spark America’s most transformative social movements throughout history: teenage girls.  

Your Hearts, Your Scars

By Adina Talve-Goodman 

Adina Talve-Goodman was born with a heart condition and survived multiple operations over the course of her childhood. In these essays, she tells the story of her chronic illness and her search for meaning. Published posthumously, Your Hearts, Your Scars is the work of a writer wise beyond her years and a testament to hope. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "2023-2024 Book Club Picks." (Viewed on April 20, 2024) <http://jwa.org/programs/bookclub/bookshelf>.