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January 3, 2020 / Rabbi Laura

2019 in Books

I love to read, always have. I have vivid memories of enthusiastically participating in  elementary school read-a-thons in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Remember this guy?

MS Read-A-Thon (PSA, 1981) - YouTube

In recent years, between a career, raising children, volunteer work, and then my ambitious pursuit of a doctoral degree I wasn’t always able to find the time or energy to read as much as I would have liked, or read what I wanted to read.

2019 was the year I found my time to read again!  Having completed my doctoral work in April, I had more brain space and leisure time to read. Nowadays I find myself sometimes reading three books at a time:  One to listen to during the many hours a week I spend in my car; I am a devoted Audible subscriber. I try to read a professional book during my workouts at the gym. I find the combination of the two mutually reinforces and strengthens my discipline to take care of my body and my mind.  Finally, there is the book that sits by my bedside for nighttime reading.  I am also grateful for my wonderful book group, women of varying ages and experiences who come together to expand our knowledge of the world and of ourselves.  Those Thursday nights are often my favorite of the month!

So, like some of my other friends and heroes who read and share their lists at the end of the year, here is my list of reads from 2019.

  1. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
  2. Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
  3. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein HaLevi
  4. Sapeins: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
  5. The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
  6. After Anatevka by Alexandra Silber
  7. Circe by Madeline Miller
  8. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
  9. The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
  10. White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
  11. Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
  12. The Expats by Cris Pavone
  13. One is Not a Lonely Number by Evelyn Krieger
  14. Rabbi Akiba by Barry Holtz
  15. Witness: Lessons fro Elie Wiesel’s Classroom by Ariel Burger
  16. Refugee by Alan Gratz
  17. Portraits of Jewish Learning ed. by Diane Tickton Schuster
  18. Brave not Perfect by Reshma Saujani
  19. Starting Strong by Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler
  20. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  21. The Inspired Teacher: How to Know One, Grow One or Be One by Carol Frederick Steele
  22. A Full Measure of Happiness by Kenneth Golde
  23. Temple Mount by Keith Raffel
  24. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  25. Daring to Lead by Brene Brown
  26. Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results by Drew Boyd & Jacob Goldenberg
  27. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  28. Immigrant City by David Bezmozgies
  29. The Dreamt Land by Mark Arax
  30. Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky
  31. Going Online with Protocols: New Tools for Teaching and Learning by Joseph P. McDonald, Janet Mannheimer Zydney, Alan Dichter
  32. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  33. The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead
  34. Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life–in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There) by Sara Hurwitz
I am hoping that 2020 will afford me even more time to read and my list will be even longer next year.  I already have a long list of titles awaiting.


  1. Beverly Cohen / Jan 3 2020 8:07 pm

    I’ve read, 1, 3, 4, 24 ,And 27. If not already on your list, I’d recommend Wehre the Desert Meets the Sea.

  2. / Jan 4 2020 6:31 am

    I am blown away. You must listen while driving. I have read two books – one about the Red Sox and one written by one of the actresses in Will and Grace.


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