Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Book Challenge!

So for the first time, I'm going to participate in a reading challenge.

I'm a little late to the dance, but the idea is to read at least five books on Judaism or Jewish subjects between Hannukah and the end of Passover 5768, or December 4, 2007 to April 26, 2008. I read five Jewish books yesterday, so I think I'm good.

The hardest part is deciding where to start, so I'll start with the most recent.

Hana's Suitcase, by Karen Levine, published in 2007, is the true story of a young Czech girl named Hana Brady, who was taken away by the Nazis along with her older brother George, and that of her suitcase, which through a chain of events ended up in Japan. It is also the story of a Japanese woman's efforts to find out about Hana- who she was and what happened to her. The book is incredibly moving. Illustrated with photographs of Hana and her family as well as the Holocaust center in Japan where her suitcase is found, Levine tells Hana's story in parallel with the story of the efforts to learn about her. This structure sets up two crushing waves of emotion that left me in tears by the end. It's bittersweet tragedy, told with beauty and sensitivity.

Click on the picture to buy from your local Booksense-affiliated bookseller. I'd highly recommend it.

You can learn more about the Jewish Literature Challenge here.

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