Circle Book Group

The Circle Book Group meets monthly on Sunday mornings to discuss fiction and nonfiction books with Jewish themes. This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world. Previously discussed books are listed below. Book selections are chosen by participates at least one month in advance of meetings. Ideally there are 8 or more Minuteman Library Network copies available. To be added to Book Group email list and for more information, contact Fredi Dworkin or Shelly Dein.

Meeting locations change. Please contact Sandy at info@circleboston.org for the address!
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UPCOMING MEETING: Sunday, February 25th, 2018

BOOK:  Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods by Michael Wex

A delightful excursion through the Yiddish language, the culture it defines and serves, and the fine art of complaint.

Throughout history, Jews around the world have had plenty of reasons to lament. And for a thousand years, they've had the perfect language for it. Rich in color, expressiveness, and complexity, Yiddish has proven incredibly useful and durable. Its wonderful phrases and idioms impeccably reflect the mind-set that has enabled the Jews of Europe to survive a millennium of unrelenting persecution . . . and enables them to kvetch about it!

Michael Wex—professor, scholar, translator, novelist, and performer—takes a serious yet unceasingly fun and funny look at this remarkable kvetch-full tongue that has both shaped and has been shaped by those who speak it. Featuring chapters on curse words, food, sex, and even death, he allows his lively wit and scholarship to roam freely from Sholem Aleichem to Chaucer to Elvis.

Perhaps only a khokhem be-layle (a fool, literally a "sage at night," when there's no one around to see) would care to pass up this endearing and enriching treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history, and folklore—an intriguing appreciation of a unique and enduring language and an equally fascinating culture. 

We meet from 10:15 AM until 12:15 PM, beginning with bagels, coffee and socializing. This is an open group that welcomes all readers interested in expanding their understanding of the wide variety of Jewish experiences throughout history and across the world.
 

Past Circle Book Group reading selections have included:

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn by Wendy Lesser

Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer

How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons by Bob Mankoff

Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper by Laurel Leff

Those Who Save Us, by Jenna Blum

Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number by Jacobo Timerman\

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Great House by Nicole Krauss

The Nazis Next Door: How America Became A Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau.

Enemies: A Love Story by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Tevye's Daughters by Sholem Aleichem

Frank by Barney Frank

An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris

On the Move by Oliver Sacks

Boogaloo on 2nd Avenue: A Novel of Pastry, Guilt, and Music by Mark Kurlansky

The Family: three journeys into the heart of the twentieth century

The Jew in the lotus : a poet’s rediscovery of Jewish identity in Buddhist India by Rodger Kamenetz

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz

The Bookie’s Son by Andrew Goldstein

Bech, a Book by John Updike

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me by Harvey Pekar and JT Waldman; epilogue written by Joyce Brabner; lettering by Charles Pritchett

Amerika : The Missing Person : a new translation, based on the restored text by Franz Kafka; translated and with a preface by Mark Hofmann, 2002

Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

The Difficult Saint by Sharan Newman

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Eric Larson

The Cross and the Pear Tree: A Sephardic Journey by Victor Perera

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Noah Gordon

The Adventures of Mottel: The Cantor’s Son by Sholem Aleichem

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar

The End of the Jews: A Novel by Adam Mansbach

The Story of Yiddish: How a Mish-Mosh of Languages Saved the Jews by Neal Karlen

Beyond the Pale: A novel by Elana Dykewomon (also known as Nachman/Dykewomon)

The Merchant of Venice: modern version side-by-side with full original text, edited and rendered into modern English by Alan Durband

Escape to Shanghai: a Jewish Community in China by James R. Ross

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman

Heading South, Looking North by Ariel Dorfman

The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers by Harry Bernstein

He, She and It by Marge Piercy

Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir by Carl Bernstein

Seize the Day by Saul Bellow

Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander

The Harlot by the Side of the Road by Jonathan Kirsch

Rashi’s Daughters, Book I: Joheved by Maggie Anton

The life of Gl├╝ckel of Hameln, 1646-1724, written by herself / Translated from the original Yiddish

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz

Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of The Cairo Geniza by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole

Peony by Pearl Buck

World's Fair by E.L. Doctorow

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton

The Girl from Human Street by Roger Cohen

Farthing (Small Change) by Jo Walton

The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert

At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora is Good for the Jews by Alan Wolfe

Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart

I Married a Communist by Philip Roth