A Reading List for Jewish Book Month 2022

For Jewish Book Month, observed annually during the month before Hanukkah, we asked our members—independent presses, literary journals, and others—to share with us some of the books and magazines they recommend reading in celebration. Learn more about Jewish Book Month.




Red by Melanie Braverman

Perugia Press | 2002

Winner of the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Prize, Braverman’s poetry collection “is unselfconsciously about the search for love and security in the face of grief and within the queer community.”




Chair in the Desert by Richard Chess

University of Tampa Press | 2000

According to Cynthia Ozick, “Here is the language of life—life conditioned, bound, tangled, yet illumined and clarified by a transcendent Eye.”




The Patron Saint of Cauliflower by Elizabeth Cohen

Saint Julian Press | 2022

Cohen’s poetry collection “explores both safety and danger; twinning domesticity with apocalyptic fantasies.”




Reborn in Ink by Laura Cesarco Eglin

Translated from the Spanish by Jesse Lee Kercheval and Catherine Jagoe

The Word Works | 2019

In these poems, Eglin “explores the death of her father, the beauty of her country, her Jewish ancestry, and the invisible connections between the living and what’s ‘beyond.’”




Headstone by Mark Elber

Passager Books | 2022

In this poetry collection, according to Molly Peacock, Elber “draws us in with wordplay, long Ginsbergian lines, angst, and charm.”




The Disappearing Letters by Carol Edelstein

Perugia Press | 2005

This poetry collection “is an instruction manual on how to pay very close attention while daydreaming.”




Decanting: Selected & New Poems, 1967-2017 by Stuart Friebert

Lost Horse Press | 2017

This poetry collection “is a poetic biography of arachnids, boats, cemeteries, damfoolskis, eggs, funerals, grandparents, hairy woodpeckers, innocent gazing, jabalinas, Kornjuden, lilies, marbles, Nazis, oysters,” and more.




The Great Canopy by Paula Goldman

Gival Press | 2014

According to Roger Weingarten, “The classics aren’t dead: they’re alive and well and living in Paula Goldman’s poems. From Greek tragedy to Roman myth, from Madame Bovary to Renaissance painters.”




Canción by Eduardo Halfon

Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn

Bellevue Literary Press | 2022

In Canción, Halfon’s “eponymous wanderer is invited to a Lebanese writers’ conference in Japan, where he reflects on his Jewish grandfather’s multifaceted identity.”




Our Mother, the Mountain by Alexander Shalom Joseph

Middle Creek Publishing & Audio | 2022

According to Mike Parker, “these wonderful prose poems remind us to look up and within the healing of a life lived close to Mother Nature.”





In Our Beautiful Bones by Zilka Joseph

Mayapple Press | 2021

In this poetry collection, Joseph “creates powerful collages from mythology, folklore, fairy tales, Scripture, world history and culture, literature, music, food, and current events.”




The Ghetto by Tamara Kamenszain

Translated from the Spanish by Seth Michelson

Veliz Books | 2018

This poetry collection “reveals a speaker living in a liminal space, typical of exiles and migrants, where various languages, cultures, and identities are in constant dialog.”




I’m Half of Your Heart: Selected Poems, 1967-2017 by Julian Kornhauser

Translated from the Polish by Piotr Florczyk

Lost Horse Press | 2018

This collection “follows a poet’s vision for fifty years, witnessing the unfolding of his intelligence, humor, and religious attention to the ordinary items of our shared world.”




Grief by Donald Lev

Ten Penny Players | 2006

This chapbook includes the poems “The Trail,” “Just Think,” “Another Day,” “101st Poem of Love,” and more.




Grandfather’s Mandolin by Fran Markover

Passager Books | 2021

Grandfather’s Mandolin is a collection of poems “deeply rooted in family and what has come before.”




Useful Junk by Erika Meitner

BOA Editions | 2022

In her latest collection of poems, Meitner “explores memory, passion, and the various ways the body sees and is seen.”




The Naomi Letters by Rachel Mennies

BOA Editions | 2021

Structured as an epistolary narrative, this poetry collection “chronicles the relationship between a woman speaker and Naomi, the woman she loves.”




My Oceanography by Harriet Levin Millan

CavanKerry Press | 2018

The poems in this collection “engage the reader and connect us to the demands of work, marriage and the everyday.”




There’s Only One God and You’re Not It by Stephen Paul Miller

Marsh Hawk Press | 2011 

According to Alicia Ostriker, this poetry collection is “the most swingin’, rockin’, jazzy history of Judaism, Jews, and our favorite one and only God there is, that you will ever read.”




Honey and Ginger by Gertrude Morris

Ten Penny Players | 2007

This chapbook includes the poems “What Was Taken,” “Old Things,” “Other Rooms,” “Reflections,” and more.




Grip by Yvette Neisser

Gival Press | 2014

According to Clifford Bernier, this poetry collection “explores the ‘arc out of thinking’ between a dawn that ‘trembles with faint prayers’ and death like a ‘fluidity of grain.’”




Late Beauty by Tuvia Ruebner

Translated from the Hebrew by Lisa Katz and Shahar Bram

Zephyr Press | 2017

Ruebner’s poetry “is pervaded with a sense of both public and personal loss, including that of his first homeland, culture, and family in the Holocaust, and later on, his first wife and son.”




Again, the Dawn: New and Selected Poems by Grace Schulman

Turtle Point Press | 2022

This collection “ranges across decades of prize-winning books, and yet, as its title exclaims, the poetry of Grace Schulman is as new as the rising sun.”




Works by Danny Shot

CavanKerry Press | 2018

This collection of poems “traverses a course from the swamps of New Jersey to the endless possibilities of the open road.”




Triptychs by Sandra Simonds

Wave Books | 2022

The poems in this collection “invite readers to recall painterly constructions and news headlines, wherein each pillar is in conversation with another, sequentially and simultaneously.”




Travelers Aid Society by Jeff Sirkin

Veliz Books | 2016 

Travelers Aid Society is “a collection of poems intimately related to music, cities, and the insightful perceptions of a peripatetic speaker.”




I. by Gerald Stern

Ayin Press | 2022

Stern’s long poem “is an intrinsically New York poem, concerned with shifting structures of place and identity in the face of time and rapid change.”




Kill Class by Nomi Stone

Tupelo Press | 2019

The poems in this collection “reveal the nuanced culture and violence of the war machine–alive and well within these basecamp villages, the American military, and, ultimately, the human heart.”




Aunt Bird by Yerra Sugarman

Four Way Books | 2022

This poetry collection “confronts the Holocaust as it was experienced by a young Jewish woman: the author’s twenty-three-year-old aunt, Feiga Maler, whom Sugarman never knew.”




Wilder Centuries by Yael Veitz

Fifth Wheel Press | 2022

This chapbook “scatters across a vast, dreamlike, and oddly familiar universe through the narrator’s journey into processing and self-reflection.”





Changeable Gods by Richard Wollman

Slate Roof Press | 2022

In these love poems, “the changing hues of early morning and the gods themselves emerge and recede, only to reemerge under the poet’s painterly eye.”




Songs for Schizoid Siblings by Lionel Ziprin

The Song Cave | 2017

According to John Zorn, this book is “a fantabulous treasure trove of magic poetry and mystical limericks from downtown legend Lionel Ziprin.”




Soundmachine by Rachel Zucker

Wave Books | 2019

Zucker “sweeps all the corners in this maximalist project of poems and prose, navigating love, loss, and personal and political despair.”






My Mother’s Secret: A Novel of the Jewish Autonomous Region by Alina Adams

History Through Fiction | 2022

This novel “is rooted in detailed research about a little known chapter of Soviet and Jewish history while exploring universal themes of identity, love, loss, war, and parenthood.”




The Shoemaker’s Tale by Mark Ari

Zephyr Press | 2000

This novel “traces the episodic journey of an orphaned 18th-century cobbler in search of the legendary Jewish rabbi and miracle worker, the Baal Shem Tov.”




Grape! by Gabriel Arquilevich

Regal House Publishing | 2019

In this novel for young readers, “Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there’s a lot of trouble to choose from.”




Revenge of the Scapegoat  by Caren Beilin

Dorothy, a publishing project | 2022

Revenge of the Scapegoat is “a darkly hilarious novel about familial trauma, chronic illness, academic labor, and contemporary art.”




Pretend It’s My Body by Luke Dani Blue

Feminist Press | 2022

This story collection “informed by the author’s experience in and between genders… blurs fantasy and reality, excavating new meanings from our varied dysphorias.”




Stealing: A Novel in Dreams by Shelly Brivic

Frayed Edge Press | 2018

In this novel, “two brothers growing up in the 1950s Bronx navigate a toxic home environment headed by an emotionally abusive father and an unhappy mother.”




Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen

Ig Publishing | 2020

Adults and Other Children “follows four women as they navigate life from the confusion and innocence of childhood to the bizarre and darkly humorous complexities of adulthood.”




Rowing Home by Sybil Terres Gilmar

Wising Up Press | 2022

In this novel, a Jewish family living in Berlin in 1933 “is faced with events that make them question what the future holds for them and the country.”




Crushing the Red Flowers by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

Ig Publishing | 2019

This novel for young readers “is the story of how two ordinary boys cope under the extraordinary circumstances of Kristallnacht.”




Dissonance by Lisa Lenard-Cook

Santa Fe Writers Project | 2014

According to Kevin McIlvoy, this novel “is bold in its scale, placing us at different eras in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and in the scientific world of Los Alamos, New Mexico.”




Wild Milk by Sabrina Orah Mark

Dorothy, a publishing project | 2018

According to Jen George, this story collection is “a narrative spell book; by reading it you’re conjuring madcap mothers, lice infestation, changeling children, slow moving floods, embodied jokes, and the disintegration of lucid structure into the ordinary world.”




The Man Who Loved His Wife by Jennifer Anne Moses

Mayapple Press | 2020

The characters in this short story collection “grapple with God, their loved ones, fate, death, hope, Hitler, transcendence, and the 4000 year old history of Judaism.”




Binocular Vision: News & SelectedStories by Edith Pearlman

Lookout Books | 2011

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction, this short fiction collection shows Pearlman’s “classic sensibility and lasting artistry, the cruelties, the longings, and the rituals that connect human beings across space and time.”




Returning from Silence: Jenny’s Story by Michèle Sarde

Translated from French by Rupert Swyer

Swan Isle Press | 2022

Sarde’s novel “tells the story of a Jewish family in World War II and reaches deep into Jewish history.”



Lies Will Take You Somewhere by Sheila Schwartz

Etruscan Press | 2009

Schwartz’s first novel “navigates through the psychological and spiritual shoals of modern life where ancient wisdom urges hope and redemption from despair.”




Yearning for the Sea by Esther Seligson

Translated from the Spanish by Selma Marks

Frayed Edge Press | 2021

This book by the celebrated Mexican writer is “a feminist retelling of Homer’s Odyssey that centers Penelope and her feelings of loss and desire.”




Walking the Dog by Elizabeth Swados

Feminist Press | 2016

Walking the Dog is a “novel about a prodigy turned convict turned dog walker in her 40s.”




Ripped Away by Shirley Reva Vernick

Regal House Publishing | 2022

This novel “is based on real historical events, including the Ripper crimes, the inquests, and the accusations against immigrants.”




The Silverberg Business by Robert Freeman Wexler

Small Beer Press | 2022

In this novel set in Texas in 1888, “a Chicago private eye gets caught up in much darker affairs and ends up in the poker game to end all poker games.”




Some Day by Shemi Zarhin

Translated from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan

New Vessel Press | 2013

In this novel, “Young Shlomi, who develops a remarkable culinary talent, has fallen for Ella, the strange neighbor with suicidal tendencies.”






Still by Rebecca E. Bender and Kenneth M. Bender

North Dakota State University Press | 2019

This book “is a history of five generations, a family we meet first as they flee Odessa and last as they make their ways as American Jews . . . and as Dakota farmers, as students and storekeepers, as soldiers and lawyers.”




Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger

Santa Fe Writers Project | 2021

According to Melissa Febos, this book is “a daughter’s heartrending tribute, a love story riddled by addiction, a mystery whose solution lies at the intersection of art and memory.”




Landings: A Crooked Creek Farm Year by Arwen Donahue

Hub City Press | 2022

In these 130 ink-and-watercolor drawings, “the story of one year on a family farm in Kentucky unfolds in captured moments of daily life.”




Surrendering Oz by Bonni Friedman

Etruscan Press | 2014

This memoir in essays “charts the emotional awakening of a bookish Bronx girl.”





I Belong to Vienna: A Jewish Family’s Story of Exile and Return by Anna Goldenberg

Translated from the German by Alta L. Price

New Vessel Press | 2020

This memoir is “a probing tale of heroism, identity and belonging, marked by a surprising freshness as a new generation comes to terms with history’s darkest era.”




Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreams by Jill Hammer

Ayin Press | 2022

This book “offers a transformative approach to contemporary dreamwork, grounded in embodied experience and ancestral wisdom, that connects us to spirit and inspires us to heal our world.”




A Sturdy Yes of a People: Selected Writings by Joan Nestle

Sinister Wisdom | 2022

This volume features Nestle’s “persistent involvement in liberation movements, LGBTQ histories, erotic writing, and archives that document gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives.”




To Reach the Spring: From Complicity to Consciousness in the Age of Eco-Crisis by Nathaniel Popkin

New Door Books | 2020

Popkin’s book asks, “In the shadow of an escalating eco-crisis—a looming catastrophe that will dwarf the fallout from COVID-19—how can we explain our society’s failure to act?”




Country of Ash: A Jewish Doctor in Poland, 1939-1945 by Edward Reicher

Translated from the French by Magda Bogin

Bellevue Literary Press | 2013

Country of Ash is “the gripping chronicle of a Jewish doctor who miraculously survived near-certain death, first inside the Lodz and Warsaw ghettoes, where he was forced to treat the Gestapo, then on the Aryan side of Warsaw, where he hid under numerous disguises.”




Because the World Is Round by Jane Saginaw

Deep Vellum Publishing | 2022

This memoir is “a story of global travel, personal growth, and family responsibility through the lens of 15-year-old Jane in 1970.”




What Came Before by Matthew Schultz

Tupelo Press | 2020

“Combining and blurring the genres of myth, essay, and poetry,” the essays in this collection ”explore subjects as diverse as the death of Moses, the special relationship between gay men and cats, the movie Titanic, rock collections, and the afterlife.”




Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust by Jerry Stahl

Akashic Books | 2022

Stahl’s memoir “stands out as a triumph of strange-o reporting, a tale that takes us from gang polkas to tour-rash to the truly disturbing snack bar at Auschwitz.”




Girl Left Behind by Judy Temes

Saint Julian Press | 2021

This memoir follows a child, left behind by her family “escaping Hungary’s totalitarian regime… who would go on to live with her grandmother in a tiny lakeside Hungarian village.”




Literary Magazines


“First the Bridge” by Jane Bernstein

Under the Sun | 2022

This essay begins, “In 1954, the year I turned five, my parents moved to New Jersey, and for the next forty years, whenever they were asked where they lived, they said, ‘Twelve miles from the George Washington Bridge.’”




“The Judaism of Eleanor Davis’ The Hard Tomorrow” by Daniel Elkin

SOLRAD | 2020

In this review of the graphic novel by Eleanor Davis, Elkin writes, “The Hard Tomorrow ostensibly echoes what Jews historically embrace: hope for a future in spite of violence, oppression, and hate.”




Seven Poems by Zuzanna Ginczanka

Translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak Huss

The Hopkins Review | 2022

These poems were published in 1936 in Ginczanka’s only collection, titled On Centaurs.




“Because It Is Elul” by Rabbi Mónica Gomery

Southeast Review | 2022

This poem begins, “I drove two long silent hours to get here, / cut through an August green as lust…”




“Imaginary Child” by Janet Gool

Under the Sun | 2022

This essay begins, “The doctor, her hair tied back in a ponytail, a miniature teddy bear hanging from her stethoscope, looked too young to pronounce our fate.”




“A Stitch in Time” by Lydia Kann

Kitchen Table Quarterly | 2022

This essay begins, “Her fingers stitch in and out, in and out. First the woolen suits, Vogue quality, herringbone, gray and white squares, collarless, boxy.”




“The Runners” by Natan Last

Cincinnati Review | 2021

This poem begins, “is what the Community Board called us, gentrifiers / returned to our city but not the neighborhoods we grew up in…”




“Ordinary Psalm with Sylvia Plath on the Radio” by Julia B. Levine

West Trestle Review | 2022

This poem begins, “I carry my transistor outside to listen. / A bloated moon breaches the sky.”




“Remote Mourning” by Jackie Lieske

Kitchen Table Quarterly | 2022

This essay begins, “We’ll be reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish at one o’clock for Brandy.”




Four Poems by Miller Oberman

The Hopkins Review | 2022

“Joshua Was Gone” begins, “And in his place one royal-blue Ked / on the floor of Papa’s closet…”




Paper Brigade

Published by the Jewish Book Council, this literary magazine “reflects today’s diverse Jew­ish lit­er­ary land­scape in Amer­i­ca and abroad.”




“Snow Fields” by Meghan Sterling

West Trestle Review | 2022

This poem begins, “Out of my past flew a crow, / its wing broken, its wing blue-black as ink…”