Book Club

Our Temple Shalom Book Club is back for its 18th year! Join Janice Zalen and Stu Bassin for lively discussions of quality books. Sessions are on Sunday mornings -- discussion with bagels and coffee. Free and usually quite interesting. Join us.

Selections for 2017-2018 Book Club Discussions

The Far Side of the Sky

far-side

by Daniel Kalla

Historical fiction about a Viennese surgeon who escapes Austria soon after Kristellnacht and resettles with other Jewish refugees in war-time Shanghai.  The book focuses upon the conflicts between the established Jewish community and the refugees, between the Chinese natives and the Japanese invaders, between the German anti-semites and their Japanese allies, and within disparate elements of Chinese society.  The challenges to survival in a war-time environment and an unlikely love story form the backdrop to this engrossing tale.

All Who Go Do Not Return

all-wh-goby Shulem Deen
National Jewish Book Award Winner

The author is a devoted member of an isolated Hasid community who begins to explore the world beyond the community.  When the community’s leaders learn of his heretical interests, his place in his family, his happy home, his faith, and the only world he has ever known are threatened.  How will he (and the community) reconcile the norms of the community with the author’s interests?

Moonglow

by Michael Chabon
Washington Post, NPR, and Amazon Editors’ Best Book of the Year Winner

A sweeping work which constructs a broad tapestry of Jewish life both here and abroad during the last century through a dying man’s fragments of memory and hallucinations.  The novel takes us from the slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of the “American Century.”  A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.

Denial

denialby Deborah Lipstadt

When the author, an American university professor, challenges the work of a “Holocaust denier,” she is sued for libel in the British courts.  Combining high-profile courtroom drama with the author’s efforts to debunk the claims that the Holocaust is a myth, the story represents a challenge to the author and the historical record by the purveyors of “alternative facts.”   The story has been retold as a movie, which we will screen in conjunction with our discussion.

1177 BC—The Year Civilization Collapsed

1177by Eric Cline
Widely praised history written by a Temple Shalom member.

Professor Cline tells the gripping story of the decline of Egypt at the end of the Bronze Age through invasion, revolt, earthquakes, drought, and the cutting of international trade routes.  Bringing to life the vibrant world of ancient Egypt and other ancient civilizations, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires and their dramatic collapse, which led to a dark age that lasted centuries.  Subject to scheduling, we are hoping to arrange for Professor Cline to join our discussion.

Dates and Times to be Announced

Please contact the bookclub with any questions at bookclub@templeshalom.net