Getting ready for December reading

In December our armchairs will take us to Israel.  Here are some titles to get you thinking about what you’d like to read.

How about a trip back in time to the beginning of the current state – Exodus by Leon Uris the towering novel of the twentieth century’s most dramatic geopolitical event.  Leon Uris magnificently portrays the birth of a new nation in the midst of enemies—the beginning of an earthshaking struggle for power.  Here is the tale that swept the world with its fury: the story of an American nurse, an Israeli freedom fighter caught up in a glorious, heartbreaking, triumphant era.  Here is Exodus —one of the great best-selling novels of all time.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan – In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Based on extensive research, and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air in 1998, Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.

Amos Oz – according to Wikipedia – is regarded as Israel’s most famous living author.  He has published 38 books including 13 novels, 4 collections of stories, children’s books and nine books of articles and essays.  His memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness was named best Jewish Book of the Year in 2005.

A family saga and a magical self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history. A Tale of Love and Darkness is the story of a boy who grows up in war-torn Jerusalem, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. The story of an adolescent whose life has been changed forever by his mother’s suicide. The story of a man who leaves the constraints of his family and community to join a kibbutz, change his name, marry, have children. The story of a writer who becomes an active participant in the political life of his nation.

6 thoughts on “Getting ready for December reading

  1. I actually picked up Amos Oz’s book on Friday. Herman Wouk has 2 books on Israel – the Hope. The Glory. D A Mishani is an Israeli mystery writer.

    • Have you read him before? Trying to remember if I have. Another Israeli mystery writer is Batya Gur. Her detective, Michael Ohayon, is a complex intellectual and a somewhat morose policeman who is Sephardi, a relative outsider in Israeli society.

  2. Anita Diamant–Day After Night. Set in 1945, in the summer immediately following the end of World War II in Europe, Day After Night tells the stories of four young Jewish women—survivors of four different kinds of hell. They make their way to the land of Israel where they confront an uncertain future haunted by the past.

    The protagonists — Leonie, Tedi, Shayndel and Zorah — are interned when they arrive, locked up behind barbed wire fences in a place called Atlit, a prison camp run by the British, who ruled Palestine at the time. In Atlit, the women meet and befriend one another as they grapple with a new life in a new land.

  3. Excellent suggestion – for anyone not familiar with Anita Diamant’s work she is a local author with a number of books to her credit including a number on living a Jewish life. Her best known novel is The Red Tent.

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