COVID-19 has changed the face of the world in just a few short weeks, and many forms of entertainment and education have been suspended, changed or cancelled. Books, however, are not only not cancelled, as a business, they are flourishing. Whether you’ve been quarantined, are recovering or are social distancing, your plentiful time spent at home is bound to be a mix of productivity and relaxation. Instead of spending time online (other than seeing our great content on Jew in the City), if you need an escape from our current reality or if you need a break for Shabbos, here are some wonderful books by Orthodox Jewish authors that you can read. If you have other suggestions for authors for our own TBR (to be read) pile, please leave them in the comments!
Faye and Jonathan Kellerman
This Orthodox couple from Los Angeles has made an internationally bestselling name for themselves in the mystery genre. Orthodox Jewish All Star Faye Kellerman writes the Decker / Lazarus series, featuring a frum detective solving crimes with a Shabbos-observant twist. There are well over twenty million copies of Faye Kellerman’s thirty novels in print internationally. The Decker/Lazarus thrillers include SACRED AND PROFANE; MILK AND HONEY; DAY OF ATONEMENT; FALSE PROPHET; GRIEVOUS SIN; SANCTUARY; as well as her New York Times Bestsellers, JUSTICE, PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD – listed by the LA Times as one of the best crime novel of 2001; bestselling MURDER 101 and more.
A former psychologist turned novelist, Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, THE BUTCHER’S THEATER, BILLY STRAIGHT, THE CONSIPRACY CLUB, TWISTED and TRUE DETECTIVES. The Los Angeles Times has rated him the most evocative L.A. author since Raymond Chandler. Together, the Kellermans have written DOUBLE HOMICIDE and CAPITAL CRIMES, and he has also collaborated with their son, Jesse Kellerman, to bestselling effect.
While we previously featured Rena Rossner on our radio show and website, her groundbreaking fantasy THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD snagged Israel-based literary agent Rossner her own book deal. Fusing a mix of poetry and narrative, the book is a haunting exploration of what would happen if Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market came to life. “Rossner’s fairy tale is creepy and moving by turn, full of heart, history, and enchantment,” said Publisher’s Weekly’s Starred Review. Kirkus raved, “Rossner’s debut weaves a richly detailed story of Jewish identity and sisterhood… emotionally charged, full of sharp historical detail and well-deployed Yiddish phrases…Ambitious and surprising.”
Ruchama King Feuerman
Author of New York Times-praised SEVEN BLESSINGS and American Library Association Honor Title IN THE COURTYARD OF THE KABBALIST, Feuerman paints literary portraits of observant Jews in three-dimensional relief. From the shidduch-seekers of BLESSINGS, to the flawed-but-loveable rabbi at the center of KABBALIST, Feuerman is a master at characterization. KABBALIST was optioned to be made into a movie, and chosen as Best Jerusalem Novel in Tablet. One of her short stories was just awarded the Lawrence Foundation Prize. Her work has been recognized by fellowships from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Of KABBALIST, the Wall Street Journal says, “Best novel I’ve read all year…sophisticated and engaging…it treats an endlessly tangled topic—relations between Palestinian Arabs and Jews—with intelligence and originality…a manifestly terrific novel!”
The beloved author of This Is My God who passed away last year was also an accomplished novelist. THE WINDS OF WAR, WAR AND REMEMBERANCE, THE CAINE MUTINY and MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR might have been his best-known and are classics in the WWII drama genre. His non-fiction, particularly THIS IS MY GOD, touched on his observance in an impactful way.