Baltimore Reads:
Best Books for Summer


The lazy days of summer are upon us. As our life slows down, and we spend time at the beach, by the pool or near the lake, there is nothing like a great book to help us escape. 

We asked local Baltimoreans what they recommended for this summe,r and this is what they suggested: 

Jessica Fink

Jessica Fink, Executive Director, the New Jewish Library 

Naomi Ragen just released An Observant Wife, which is the continuation of her first novel, An Unorthodox Match. With both of our two copies of An Observant Wife flying off the shelves, I felt it was time that I read the original. I’m only a few chapters into An Unorthodox Match, but I’m already hooked on the love story between the newly observant Leah, and Yaakov, the newly widowed Torah scholar! 



Barak Hermann, CEO, JCC 

I really like Why do Jewish by Zack Bodner. Zack Bodner offers a compelling roadmap for the future of Jewish life. By sharing personal stories and deep insights from Judaism’s greatest thinkers, he answers the burning question of how the Jewish people can thrive in the modern world. As a JCC, we strive to ensure we are doing our significant part in establishing and sustaining Jewish community in Baltimore and Zack offers provocative approaches that need our consideration! 

Harriette Wienner, Co-chair, Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership

I recently read two books that I love. The first is The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. The book is based on the extraordinary life of Belle deCosta Greene. Belle was an African American woman passing as white who was the personal librarian to JP Morgan, and eventual Director of the Morgan Library. It’s a fascinating tale of how Belle’s skill and perspective not only provided for her family but also propelled her into a society that would never have accepted her if her secret was revealed.  

 My other selection is If You Tell by by Gregg Olsen. When you’re reading this book, keep reminding yourself this is a completely true story. It’s a harrowing story of abuse, murder, manipulation and family. It will keep you shaking your head at the main character’s ability to shock you. Read more about Harriette Weinner.

 

Bekah Waltemeyer

Bekah Waltemeyer, 2021-22 IMPACT CHAT Host   

 My recommendation is The Cook-Up by D. Watkins. This book powerfully narrates loss, poverty and racism. I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about society’s systemic injustices and the experiences of growing up in East Baltimore during the crack era. This book is an excellent introduction to D. Watkins, and I highly recommend anything else written by him! 

Brian Litofksy, Shalom Baltimore Co-chair

Two of my favorites are Mother Land by Leah Franqui and Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien. I’m looking for other great ideas when I travel to Israel this summer with Kesher. Learn more about Brian Litofksy.


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