We’re called “the People of the Book” for a reason. As Chanukah quickly approaches, our book buyer, Joanna, gives her top eight recommendations for the book-lover. Below you’ll find the perfect combination of book recommendations for all of your friends and family. Come pick up a book or two (or three or four!) to help celebrate the season.
#1: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
A New York Times bestseller, this book is an intimate, irreverent look at the feminist pioneer. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.
Best for: Your lawyer parent or the hipster next door
#2: Silent Hall by N.S. Dolkhart
Jewish allegorical fiction with dragons. And wizards. Written by the older brother of Kolbo’s photographer, Miriam, we may have picked it up because she was so proud of her brother, but we can’t put it down because it’s compulsively readable.
Best for: Teenagers who love to read or anyone who likes their fiction with an undercurrent of magic
#3: Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson
A moving tribute to Boston’s own Leonard Nimoy (may his memory live long and prosper), this picture book tells the story of a young man pursuing his dream while staying true to his roots. Unapologetically Jewish and yet universal, a story to inspire young children and to make those of us who grew up with Mr. Spock all ferklempt.
Best for: Your grandchild or any Trekkie/Trekker ever
#4: Old Jews Telling Jokes: 5,000 Years of Funny Bits and Not-So-Kosher Laughs by Sam Hoffman and Eric Spiegelman
We love watching people read this book in the store. Open to a random page, start reading, eyebrows go up at the bawdy bits, inevitable laughter, and then, “Hey Irving, read this joke!”
Best for: Folks who love a good joke (grownups recommended)
#5: My Grandfather’s Blessings and Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen
Okay, okay, these are two books. Written by a mind-body physician who is the granddaughter of a Hasidic rebbe, both of these books are full of poignant, insightful stories. Each chapter is only a few pages long, making it easy to read a chapter a day or a little snippet when you need a spiritual pick-me-up. Both are perpetual favorites.
Best for: The spiritual seeker or someone going through a tough time
#6: An Illumination of Blessings by Ilene Winn-Lederer
Made by a Pittsburgh artist who crowdfunded this publication, An Illumination of Blessings is just that: captivating illustrations of and engaging commentary about thirty-six Jewish blessings. A beautiful gift for anyone seeking a little inspiration.
Best for: Your artsy relative
#7: Lincoln and the Jews: A History by Jonathan Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
Part narrative history, part coffee table book, this highly regarded book uncovers a new aspect of Lincoln’s presidency: his relationship with American Jews. An exquisite array of photographs, hand-written documents, and maps make this a collector’s item.
Best for: The family history buff
#8: Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
Get ready to get hungry. This critically-acclaimed cookbook highlights the melting pot of Israeli cuisine with easy to follow recipes and drool-inducing photographs. Pro tip: Give it to someone who will have you over for dinner.
Best for: The family foodie