Just in time for your summer reading, 7 new books by Jewish authors


It’s never a bad time to pick up a book, but summer might be the best time; that’s why  “summer reading” lists are so popular.

We’re pleased to do our part by offering the following list of new books by Jewish authors.

Fleishman is in Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Random House.

Brodesser-Akner is well-known for her celebrity profiles in the New York Times. In this, her debut novel, she tells the story of newly separated Toby Fleishman, who finds himself trying to juggle family, work and dating while also trying to figure out his wife’s mysterious disappearance. The book has been praised for its humor, insight and intelligence.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

With this book, bestselling author and psychotherapist Gottlieb offers a memoir of her work, both as a therapist and as a patient. People magazine described the memoir as funny, riveting and transformative, and called it “an addictive book that’s part Oliver Sacks and part Nora Ephron.”

Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman. William Morrow (publication date: July 23, 2019).

The latest entry from crime novelist Lippman is set in 1960s Baltimore and focuses on Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Maddie, having just fled her marriage, becomes a newspaper reporter and begins to investigate the murder of a young African American woman. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama.”

Strangers and Cousins, by Leah Hager-Cohen. Riverhead Books.

Ron Charles, of the Washington Post, called this novel “an unusually substantive comedy … funny and tender but also provocative and wise.” While the story focuses on the lead-up to Clem Blumenthal’s wedding, and the family chaos that surrounds that event, controversy is brewing in the background.

As ultra-Orthodox Jews begin to buy local property for a new Haredi community, swastikas appear on a construction trailer, forcing the people of Rundle Junction to make some difficult moral decisions.

The Flight Portfolio, by Julie Orringer. Knopf.

In 1940, American journalist Varian Fry traveled to France with $3,000 and a list of writers and artists he hoped to save from the Nazi regime, including philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt and artist Marc Chagall. In “The Flight Portfolio,” Orringer tells a fictionalized story of Fry’s efforts, include a forbidden-love subplot.

Reviews have praised the beauty of Orringer’s prose, as well as her scrupulous research.

Mrs. Everything, by Jennifer Weiner. Atria Books.

Weiner’s latest novel is a sprawling tale of love and loss, beginning in 1950s Detroit and continuing through 65 years of American societal and social change. The story centers on two very different sisters, Jo and Bethie Kaufman, and their struggle to find their places as women in this shifting landscape. “Mrs. Everything” has been praised for its realistic portrayal of the sisters’ stories, as well as for its timeliness in this #MeToo era.

The Queen, by Josh Levin. Little, Brown and Company.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan popularized the term “welfare queen,” referring specifically to Linda Taylor, who was alleged to have defrauded the government of more than $150,000 in a single year. Levin’s book represents six years of research, tracks the politics of the time while also providing an exhaustive look into Taylor’s life and crimes, which included kidnapping, fraud and allegations of attempted murder.

MICHAEL SCHEMAILLE (mschemaille@jewishallianceri.org) writes for Jewish Rhode Island and the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.