While my last suggested reading list was on the heavy side, today’s list is a little lighter while still not your usual “beach reading.”
While talking with Bonnie during our recent Panim-el-Panim meeting, she mentioned her interest in reading some contemporary Jewish fiction.
There exists a slew of wonderful contemporary Jewish writers of fiction. For some of them, Jewish people and settings provide the background for their imaginations. For others, Jewish life, religion and/or thinking are central to their concerns. Many of them move back and forth between the two. And while few of them still count as young, they are our contemporaries and, as such, reflect on the world in which we live – distinct from earlier Jewish writers whose Jewish and American worlds were significantly different from ours. Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth (z’l) and Elie Wiesel (z’l) are from an earlier generation, but write/wrote quite currently.
I think that you will find them to be profound, inventive, humorous and insightful. I think they provide some of the best writing in America today, Jewish or otherwise.
Given the ease with which you can find them, their books and information about them, I won’t write any further here. And, of course, there are others; the list is far from complete. The names are in alphabetical order and I put an asterisk next to those I’ve especially enjoyed. Most are alive and writing today.
- Michael Chabon *
- Nathan Englander *
- Joseph Epstein
- Jonathan Safran Foer *
- Rebecca Goldstein
- Allegra Goodman
- Dara Horn
- Rachel Kadish – The Weight of Ink *
- Nicole Krauss
- Cynthia Ozick
- Philip Roth *
- Gary Shteyngart
- Steve Stern *
- Ayelet Waldman
- Elie Wiesel *
Let me know what you choose to read. And let me know what you think about it. Perhaps we can share books and responses via this network.
I hope you enjoy your reading and your summer.