JCC MetroWest Book Group
Our book group is free, open to both members and non-members, and you can join and begin attending at any time! Click button below for the Book Group archives. For more information contact, Sarah Diamond, 973-929-2938, [email protected]
Wednesday, December 11, 12pm
The Liar, by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
From the author of Waking Lions, this provocative Israeli coming-of-age story about the consequences of a split-second decision will raise questions of morality for which there are no easy answers. A psychological page-turner, rich in setting, character, and wisdom.
Thursday, January 16, 12pm
The Song of the Jade Lily, by Kirsty Manning
Australian author Manning makes her American debut with this superb take on a lesser known aspect of WWII: some European Jews, fleeing from the Nazis, received asylum in Japanese-occupied Shanghai after being denied it elsewhere. Set in 1939 Vienna and Shanghai, and 2016 Melbourne, Australia, the dual narrators Romy and her granddaughter, commodities trader Alexandra, find their narratives blended when a family secret is revealed.
Tuesday, February 11, 12pm
The Magnificent Esme Wells, by Adrienne Sharp
Esme Wells, Sharp’s winsome narrator, is the child of two renegades dazzled by tinsel and danger. Her beautiful, unstable mother, Dina Wells, born Dorothy Wolfkowitz, is desperately trying to capitalize on her showgirl roles in Busby Berkeley films, while Esme’s handsome gambler father, Ike Silver, bonds with powerful Jewish gangsters, including Bugsy Siegel, who is building the first palatial Vegas casino. Esme’s dramatic and irresistible story sparkles with psychological nuance, sumptuous detail, and vivid historical perceptions as Sharp tracks the high-wattage success and violence of tough Jews building movie and casino empires while Hitler bloodied Europe.
Wednesday, March 18, 12pm
Three Floors Up, by Eshkol Nevo
What do former Israeli officer Arnon, off-kilter mother-of-two Hani, and newly retired judge Devora Edelman have in common? They all live in the same upscale Tel Aviv apartment building, and though their lives barely touch, their stories do, as best-selling Israeli author Nevo explores issues of personal and parental responsibility in a smart and absorbing read.
Friday, May 1, 12pm
Feast Your Eyes, by Myla Goldberg
(Myla Goldberg is scheduled to appear at the J on May 1, and we will meet to discuss the book just prior to her presentation.)
Aspiring photographer Lillian Preston moves from Cleveland to New York for college and spends her first few months there pining over her crush who left home to fight in the Korean War. Soon, however, Lillian turns her camera toward documenting Brooklyn’s streets, and, almost in desperation as a single mother with a young child, the minutiae of her life with her daughter, Samantha. When her first big break — a solo exhibition at a woman-owned gallery — garners more notoriety than fame (her nude photographs of her daughter, which form much of the exhibit, are labeled as obscene), Lillian comes to realize that her own ambition may come at the expense of Samantha’s innocence and their relationship as mother and daughter.
Wednesday, June 3, 12pm
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted, by Robert Hillman
A tender and wise novel about love, family, and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, in which a lonely farmer finds his world turned upside down by a vibrant woman determined to open the first bookstore his town has ever seen — and to leave her haunting memories of the Holocaust far behind.
Thursday, July 9, 12pm
The Wartime Sisters, by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The new novel from the author of The Two-Family House is about two estranged sisters working in a WWII armory in Springfield, Massachusetts, each with a deep secret. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from their Brooklyn past reemerges in their lives.
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An Afterlife – Intense – 4-Star – “Many books have been written about the Holocaust but not that many about the survivors and their life afterward. This book follows Ruby and Ilya, first in a DP camp in Germany and then trying to make a new life for themselves as refugees in New Jersey.” -Gaye Olin