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Plenty good reads to keep you occupied during the holidays




Jewish Interest

City of Secrets by Stewart O’Nan (Allen and Unwin) is a moral thriller set in the build up to Israel’s independence in Jerusalem after the Second World War.

Brand, a Holocaust survivor, is a taxi driver in Jerusalem and a member of an underground cell. He falls in love with Eva, a fellow survivor and a member of his cell. But in his increasingly dangerous missions, he begins to suspect he is being used by the cell leader, Asher.

A full understanding of the truth comes too late, once a history changing tragedy cannot be averted.


Irena’s Children by Tilar J Mazzeo (Simon & Schuter) is the gripping account of a young woman, Irena Sendler, who took staggering risks to save thousands of children from death and deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto.

This is a full-length biography of a truly courageous woman, to whom thousands of Jews owe their existence.


Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H Balson (St Martin’s Press), the new novel by the author of Once we were brothers, was inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor’s quest to return to Poland and fulfil a promise.


The Undoing Project: A friendship that changed the world by Michael Lewis (Allen Lane) tells the story of novel laureate Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two gifted young psychology professors who met in war-torn 1960s Israel.

Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker and The Big Short, tells the extraordinary story of a relationship that became a shared mind, created the field of behavioural economics and revolutionised everything from big data to medicine, from high finance to football, and helped shape the world in which we live.


Where the Jews aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region by Masha Gessen published by Shocken.

This is the previously untold story of Birobidzhan, a sparsely populated area in the Russian Far East that was set aside in 1929 by the Soviet Government for settlement by Jews. Gessen’s account of the creation and destination of Birobidzhan is a microcosm of 20th century Soviet Jewry.


Jewish Interest/ Business

Chutzpah and Chutzpah: The Audacity and Ambition that created Saatchi and Saatchi: The Insiders’ Story by Richard Meyers, Simon Goode and Nick Darke (Michael O’Mara Books).

This is the story of the most famous-and-infamous advertising agency, started by the maverick and fearless Saatchi brothers.

Including over 200 astonishing first-hand accounts by Saatchi people, this is one of the most entertaining and revealing business books of 2016.


Literary fiction

Nell Zink is the American literary phenomenon of the moment. Her novels are zany, funny and real to life.

In Nicotine (4th Estate), Penny Baker, a recent business school graduate, has rebelled against her family her whole life by being conventional. Then her hippy father dies and she inherits his New Jersey house, which has been occupied by friendly, pot-smoking anarchists.

What follows is a microcosm of the culture-wars between baby-boomers and millennials, between the have-nots and the want-mores.


A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles (Hutchinson) is truly a gem of a novel. Witty, elegant, charming and sophisticated.

Count Alexander Rostov is a Russian aristocrat who returned to his homeland after the Communists took power. He is sentenced by the Bolsheviks to indefinite house arrest in the Hotel Metropol, Moscow’s most famous hotel.

What follows is the unforgettable literary highlight of the year.



Local occupational therapist Shushana Shear is releasing her e-book Healing Life Through Activity – An occupational therapist’s story to educate medical students, professionals and the public about the value of OT and as a celebration of the life of her late grandfather, Professor Vincent Louis Granger, who worked with disabled South Africans. Available on Amazon as an e-book.


Middle East

The Hostage’s Daughter by Sulome Anderson (William Morrow) is the memoir of Sulome, Terry Anderson’s daughter.

Terry, an American journalist in Beirut, was held as a hostage for six years during the Lebanese civil war. Sulome recounts the trauma of the years her father was the world’s most famous hostage, of the trauma of recreating a family after his release and ultimately of her decision to become a journalist, like her father, based in Beirut.



I Contain Multitudes: – the Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (Bodley Head).

Never before have microbes been so interesting and compelling as they are in this extremely enjoyable and accessible natural science book.

Yong will challenge your views on bacteria, viruses and other microscopic organisms as he proves how dependent on them we, and all life forms, truly are.



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1 Comment

  1. A Progressive

    Jan 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Sorry user – you couldn’t go to jail for that outrageously illegal comment as you chose to hide your identity. But we sure could if we allowed it!  -ED

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