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Summer Reading

ct cover 12-2-11

By Stacey Dresner

Summertime is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. What to read? Here are some suggestions from people around the community.



Beverly Pava,

director of community relations,

Harold Grinspoon Foundation

“The best book I’ve read most recently is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It’s well worth the 5-Star rating that it received. It’s a beautifully written, heartwarming story,  that you will long remember.  And you too will recommend it to your friends.”

Stan Light, Commander,

Greater Springfield-Freedman Post 26 Jewish War Veterans

of the United States

“I will start a new book I just received entitled The Jewish Confederates by Robert N. Rosen. It’s all about Southern Jewry during the Civil War and Reconstruction era.”


the-orphan-masters-sonRichard Michelson, author, poet and owner of R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton

“I just finished The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, which was a heart wrenching look at life in North Korea. And I am a few pages into And The Mountains Echoed, the new novel by Khaled Hosseini. After that I have One Hundred Philistine Foreskins: A Novel by Tova Reich on my shelf. The cover is a Leonard Nimoy photograph from his Shekhina series, which the publisher saw at R. Michelson Galleries, and since we allowed usage based on Reich’s earlier works, I hope the novel will live up to the handsome design. Friends Ellie Lipman and Dale Kushner both have new novels out, (The Conditions of Love and The View from Penthouse B) and I plan to get to both of those this summer as well.

As Northampton’s current Poet Laureate, I have had the good fortune to read my work throughout the state and as always, I am meeting many poets and reading a lot of poetry by the many poets I am meeting.  I’ve recently finished new books by area poets Anne Love Woodhull and David Kherdian and as always I will reread Yehuda Amichai’s Open, Closed, Open again this summer.”


09ThingsFallApart2Rabbi Mark Shapiro,

Sinai Temple, Springfield

“Actually, if I could do it, I think I might like to spend large portions of the summer just roaming the stacks in the library.  Although I’ve read some books “electronically,” I am still attached to the physical qualities of individual books.  So…looking into the next few months…here are three books I hope to be holding in my hands.

First, a novel by the Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, who died only a few months ago.  The book is called Things Fall Apart.  It was published in 1958 and has apparently become a classic throughout all of Africa.  Knowing as little as I do about Africa and loving fiction as I do, I am eagerly anticipating discovering a new world when I begin this novel.

Secondly, I want to read a more serious book that asks what makes for success in children.  Why do some children succeed in school (and beyond)?  Why is it so difficult for others.  Paul Tough is the author of this book that looks into the lives of young people in our inner cities.  The book is called How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character..”

Finally, how can I not have some pure fun this summer.  I am looking forward to reading the newest book by Daniel Silva.  Silva has created a fascinating and complex character by the name of Gabriel Allon.  Allon is an expert in art restoration who also happens to work for the Israeli Mossad.  Spycraft and adventure follow.  I have read several Silva novels and I can’t wait to luxuriate in his newest one!


Rabbi Devorah Jacobson, director of pastoral care at Jewish Geriatric Services, Longmeadow

Three books for my summer reading: The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person by Rabbi Harold Kushner; In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Eric Larson; and My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor.


RV-1Judy Polan, award-winning writer and musician

“Books I’ve read, that I recommend as summer reading: Tepper Isn’t Going Out by Calvin Trillin:  Simply hilarious; the first ever “novel of parking in New York”. A great airplane read, as long as you don’t mind laughing out loud while sitting next to a total stranger; The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: a stunning memoir of the author’s feckless parents and peripatetic childhood; written — incredibly — without bitterness, but with love; 18 Bookshops by Anne Scott: a sweet gem of a book, about the author’s epiphanies at various bookshops in the UK and the U.S.

Books I want to read this summer: Let My RV Go by Nicole Nathan:  “A Jewish family decides to travel south for Passover in an RV packed with frozen brisket and enough matzoh to feed the entire Panhandle.” What could go wrong?

Never Leave Well Enough Alone by Raymond Loewy: this sounds like a fascinating and humorous autobiography of the man considered to be the father of American industrial design.

And Tel Aviv: Mythography of a City (Space, Place, and Society) by Maoz Azaryahu: I’m interested in this book, both as an architecture aficionado and a lover of cities. Tel Aviv is among my top five in the world.”


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