The Jewish Books We're Reading This Summer – Kveller
Skip to Content Skip to Footer


The Jewish Books We’re Reading This Summer

Sorry to your TBR stack.

kveller headers (1200 x 800) (50)

Hot take: Summer is for reading a book by a body of water. (OK, fine, maybe that’s not a controversial opinion.) Even better? When your book of choice is Jewish, or even just Jew-ish. Here are some books we’ve read or are looking forward to reading that feel like the perfect Jewish summer reads.

“Behind Every Good Man” by Sara Goodman Confino: Miss “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?” This novel set in the 1960s, with a protagonist just as sassy as the upstart comedian, could scratch that itch with a little extra feminism and romance! After Beverly Diamond catches her husband, Larry, the campaign manager for first term Maryland senator Sam Gibson, cheating with his secretary, the Jewish DC housewife and now divorced mom of two concocts the best plan for revenge. She joins the campaign of Michael Landau, his underdog opponent, and uses everything she knows to help Michael win. —Lior

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin: I love to sink my teeth into a longer, immersive story over the summer (ask me about my “Infinite Jest” summer) and after hearing just about everybody I love and respect rave about this book, I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did. While the novel follows a group of friends who begin a successful video game company, you don’t have to care about video games (I don’t) to love this book, which has some richly drawn Jewish characters and a plot that will suck you in. Ultimately, it’s a friendship story, so get some friends to read it with you and talk about it together. —Molly

“Sandwich” by Catherine Newman: Catherine Newman has the most effervescent way of elevating mundane situations — from making a sandwich to fumbling with technology to arguing with your spouse. I’ve loved every Catherine Newman book I’ve read — from her nearly 10-year-old parenting memoir “Waiting for Birdy” to her devastatingly sad (and hilarious) novel “We All Want Impossible Things” — and this one, about the undeniable weirdness of raising adult children and caring for aging parents (all while spending a week at the beach) is no exception. —Daci

Magical Meet Cute” by Jean Meltzer: The newest romance from the author of “The Matzah Ball” is a golem tale about a former lawyer turned potter set in Woodstock, New York. After a failed singles event at her local synagogue and a slew of antisemitic flyers hit her town, Faye Kaplan turns to the comfort of her pottery studio, fashioning a golem based on her perfect man, only to meet him the next day. I feel like I don’t need to say much more than that, but I have to admire both the excellent man-bun and tallis on this cover. —Lior

“Worry” by Alexandra Tanner: Jewish anxiety is perfectly distilled in this quick read about two 20-something sisters trying to figure out their lives and how to best fit each other into them. There may be some too-close-for-comfort moments for those of us who self-diagnose as “chronically online” but the humor and singularity of voice make it an excellent pool-side read. —Molly

“Till There Was You” by Lindsay Hameroff: This normal person/celebrity rom-com featuring a Jewish protagonist has been on my TBR stack for awhile, but I’ve been waiting to devour it on a hammock or by a lake. I think now is the time, who wants to read it with me? — Daci

“Jackpot Summer” by Elyssa Friedland: From the author of the wonderful “Last Summer at the Golden Hotel” and “The Floating Feldmans” comes a Jewish family tale set on the Jersey Shore about four siblings packing up their childhood beach home after the unveiling of their mother’s grave. Despite being raised to be frugal by their recently deceased matriarch, the four Jacobson siblings’ lives are in financial disarray. When three of the four of them go in on a Powerball drawing and win millions, the solution to their troubles seems to be at hand — but money can’t solve everything, and as many Jewish people know, the truest sense of wealth comes from family. —Lior

“Long Island Compromise” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner: Midway through the first chapter of this extremely Jewish novel from the author of “Fleishman Is In Trouble,” I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. But once I got to know the characters (who are all so, so flawed but who I wish I could spend another 500 pages with) I flew through this dense book and all of its twists and turns.  —Daci

Cue the Sun” by Emily Nussbaum: New Yorker TV critic and Pulitzer winner Emily Nussbaum is releasing her second book this summer, this time about the early history of reality TV. Anything Nussbaum writes is a must-read, but “Cue the Sun” also features some Jewish tidbits, including the story of reality TV pioneer Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera.” —Lior

“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume: Maybe it’s all the ice cream and swimming pools, but summer always makes me feel a little bit like a kid again, which makes it feel like the perfect time to revisit this classic that I don’t think I really need to describe for you. We must, we must, we must increase our ability as adults to tap into the messy, endearing psyche of tweens! —Molly

“The Singer Sisters” by Sarah Seltzer: Are you a fan of the Tony-award winning “Stereophonic?” Then this book by former Kveller editor Sarah Seltzer is the musical novel you need. It explores being a woman in the music world through the relationship between ‘90s alt-rocker Emma Cantor and her mother, ‘60s folk icon Judie Cantor, who one day just stopped making music. —Lior

“Finn and Ezra’s Bar Mitzvah Time Loop” by Joshua S. Levy: This one is for your middle grade kids, although I read this out loud to my 9-year-old and had a great time. As the title suggests, this book follows two boys who are stuck in a time loop on the weekend of their bar mitzvahs. My daughter laughed hysterically and begged me to read one more chapter every night (I did).  —Daci

“Einstein in Kafkaland: How Albert Fell Down the Rabbit Hole and Came Up With the Universe” by Ken Krimstein: As you may or may not know, I am currently obsessed with the “Kafka” miniseries, and so I absolutely need to read this graphic novel of the meeting of two Jewish greats in 1910s Prague, which is coming out this August. —Lior

“The Place of All Possibility: Cultivating Creativity Through Ancient Jewish Wisdom” by Rabbi Adina Allen: Summer’s the perfect time to jumpstart your creativity and I love the frame that this book provides and its belief that we can all pursue art as a way to make sense of the world. —Molly

“The Sins on Their Bones” by Laura R. Samotin & “The Familiar” by Leigh Bardugo: These books came out in May and April but I think this is the summer to immerse yourself in some Jewish fantasy. “The Sins on Their Bones” is a super sexy and super dark Jewish queer fantasy debut novel set in an alternative 19th century Europe. “The Familiar” is a dark fantasy set in the Spanish Golden Age from the celebrated author of “Shadow & Bone.” If you love fantasy, these should both be on your summer reading list.  —Lior

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content