Our Book Club

Our next books:

Title Author Meeting date and time
This Magnificent Dappled Sea David Biro June 26, 2024, 7:30 pm
Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother:  Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld September 25, 2024, 7:30 pm
Song Yet Sung James McBride October 23, 2024, 7:30 pm
Moonflower Murders: A Novel Anthony Horowitz November 20, 2024, 7:30 pm
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store James McBride December 18, 2024, 7:30 pm

Scheduled every month on the Fourth Wed, until Dec 18, 2024 at 7:30: (Well, November 20 and December 18 are the third Wednesday because of holidays in the fourth week.)

Books that we already read:

Title Author Meeting date
The Art Forger
Barbara A. Shapiro April 26, 2023
All About Me Mel Brooks May 24, 2023
We Were the Lucky Ones Georgia Hunter June 28, 2023
The Weight of Ink Rachel Kadish September 27, 2023
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Gabrielle Zevin October 25, 2023
The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives
of Christine Granville
Clare Mulley December 27, 2023
The Matchmakers Gift Lynda Cohen Loigman January 24, 2024
The Dressmakers of Auschwitz Lucy Adlington February 28, 2024
Madam Debbie Applegate May 1 , 2024, 7:30 pm
The Storyteller Jodi Picoult May 22, 2024, 7:30 pm

Book Club Meeting


This Magnificent Dappled Sea

by David Biro
Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 7:30 pm

 

Two strangers—generations and oceans apart—have a chance to save each other in this moving and suspenseful novel about family secrets and the ineffable connections that lead us to one another.

In a small Northern Italian village, nine-year-old Luca Taviano catches a stubborn cold and is subsequently diagnosed with leukemia. His only hope for survival is a bone marrow transplant. After an exhaustive search, a match turns up three thousand miles away in the form of a most unlikely Joseph Neiman, a rabbi in Brooklyn, New York, who is suffering from a debilitating crisis of faith. As Luca’s young nurse, Nina Vocelli, risks her career and races against time to help save the spirited redheaded boy, she uncovers terrible secrets from World War II—secrets that reveal how a Catholic child could have Jewish genes.

Can inheritance be transcended by accidents of love? That is the question at the heart of This Magnificent Dappled Sea, a novel that challenges the idea of identity and celebrates the ties that bind us together.

 

We are taking a break for the summer and will resume our JGASGP Book club on the 4th Wednesday of the September with the following titles.

Please note that November and December Dates are on the 3rd week due to holidays.


Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother:  Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker

by Barry Sonnenfeld

Wednesday, September 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM

This outrageous and hilarious memoir follows a film and television director’s life, from his idiosyncratic upbringing to his unexpected career as the director behind such huge film franchises as The Addams Family and Men in Black.

Barry Sonnenfeld’s philosophy is, “Regret the Past. Fear the Present. Dread the Future.” Told in his unmistakable voice, Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother is a laugh-out-loud memoir about coming of age. Constantly threatened with suicide by his over-protective mother, disillusioned by the father he worshiped, and abused by a demonic relative, Sonnenfeld somehow went on to become one of Hollywood’s most successful producers and directors.

Written with poignant insight and real-life irony, the book follows Sonnenfeld from childhood as a French horn player through graduate film school at NYU, where he developed his talent for cinematography. His first job after graduating was shooting nine feature length pornos in nine days. From that humble entrée, he went on to form a friendship with the Coen Brothers, launching his career shooting their first three films.

Though Sonnenfeld had no ambition to direct, Scott Rudin convinced him to be the director of The Addams Family. It was a successful career move. He went on to direct many more films and television shows. Will Smith once joked that he wanted to take Sonnenfeld to Philadelphia public schools and say, “If this guy could end up as a successful film director on big budget films, anyone can.” This book is a fascinating and hilarious roadmap for anyone who thinks they can’t succeed in life because of a rough beginning.

 


Song Yet Sung

by James McBride

Wednesday, October 23, 2024 at 7:30 PM

In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate.

Filled with rich, true details—much of the story is drawn from historical events—and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.

 


Moonflower Murders: A Novel

by Anthony Horowitz

Wednesday, November 20, 2024 at 7:30 PM

 

Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a brilliantly complex literary thriller with echoes of Agatha Christie from New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted. But is it? She’s exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told, she’s beginning to miss London.

And then the Trehearnes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married—a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Farlingaye Halle—fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts.

One of her former writers, the late Alan Conway, author of the fictional Magpie Murders, knew the murder victim—an advertising executive named Frank Parris—and once visited Farlingaye Hall. Conway based the third book in his detective series, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, on that very crime.

The Trehearne’s, daughter, Cecily, read Conway’s mystery and believed the book proves that the man convicted of Parris’s murder—a Romanian immigrant who was the hotel’s handyman—is innocent. When the Trehearnes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to England and find out what really happened.

Brilliantly clever, relentlessly suspenseful, full of twists that will keep listeners guessing with each revelation and clue, Moonflower Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction from one of its greatest masterminds, Anthony Horowitz.


The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store

by James McBride

Wednesday, December 18, 2024 at 7:30 PM

 

In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.


Let us know if you have other titles to recommend written by Jewish authors or are about Jewish content.

Books are available in the public library, and on Amazon, eBay, etc. Check our website for the comprehensive list of future book club titles.

Please RSVP to membership@jgasgp.org if you want to be on our book club list.