Any recommended Jewish novels?

Home Forums Seforim, Books, & Reading Any recommended Jewish novels?

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  • #591744

    ShragaF
    Member

    Hi everyone,

    As a bookworm who is trying very hard to wean himself off of Goyishe novels, I find myself frustrated over and over again when trying to read a “frum” novel. The vast majority of the ones I’ve tried to read either

    1. Have a unrealistic plot,

    2. Are sloppy, i.e. plot holes and/or bad research,

    3. amateurishly written or translated.

    I really want to stick to Jewish books/writers, but two pages in I invariably get nervous from the writing.

    So: Can anyone here please recommend some good, professionally written frum novels…?

    Thanks!

    #1125528

    I have the same problem. I hate reading because of this and I don’t have patience to check out which goyish books are okay. I always get stuck on book reports.

    #1125529

    you might want to try Sun Inside Rain by ? Bassarah. Sorry, I can’t remember the first name. It’s a bit on the edge romantically speaking, but well written

    #1125530

    charliehall
    Participant

    Try Herman Wouk. Great writer, great subjects, and frum! In addition to his many novels he has also written three books about Judaism that are even used by rabbis in kiruv.

    #1125531

    dveykus613
    Member

    I HIGHLY recommend the book “Alef Shin” by Sender Ze’ev, as well as it’s prequel “Ten Lost”…As I am also an avid bookworm who stopped reading goyish novels 12 yrs ago, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did many friends I recommended it to, who still unfortunately read goyish novels and they raved about it as well!

    #1125532

    ShragaF
    Member

    Dveykus613, thanks, I’ll check them out!

    Charliehall, are his books “kosher”? That’s my main problem with the non-Jewish novels.

    #1125535

    lakewoodwife
    Member

    Also try “Every Man a Slave.” Amazing book, everyone I know who read it thoroughly enjoyed it.

    #1125536

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    I think “Alef Shin” and “Every Man a Slave” were written by the same author.

    #1125537

    emoticon613
    Member

    they are, and he’s amazing!!!! not stam! i also get very nervous from a lot of frum writing which made it very hard to stop reading non jewish books – but alef shin, ten lost, and every man a slave are fantastic!!

    also, sun inside rain – by m. (no first name) bassarah is amazing! one of my favorite books.

    heir to the throne by rothstein is terrific also.

    #1125538

    d a
    Member

    I wrote this on the http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/good-jewish-books thread:

    You gotto read Pyramid Base by Eli Shekhter. You read the book and think you know the end when suddenly . . .

    Other books by this awesome author:

    The Banker’s Trust (Out of Circulation and Not Available for Purchase)

    The Most Wanted List (Out of Circulation and Not Available for Purchase)

    Plan B (this one I didn’t read yet)

    Pyramid Base -THE BEST!!!- (Out of Circulation and Not Available for Purchase)

    Eli, if you read this post, you should know that your the best!

    By now, I have read Plan B. Another great book!!!

    #1125539

    Brucklyn Jewess
    Participant

    Shraga, take it from a veteran of your problem. The best jewish novels (in my opinion) are those of marcus lehmann. Some are republished today (albeit with slight censure which sometimes defeats the purpose) and many are out of print. The older the edition you can get your hands on, the better. They’re expensive to buy but some libraries should have them. Henye Meyer is also great but as far as I know she only had two novels out: Fall of the Sun G-d and exiles of crocodile island. David Zaritzky is also really good He wrote Beyond the Sun (a novel) and other articles. I do not think these books will dissapoint you in terms of what you mentioned.

    #1125540

    Brucklyn Jewess
    Participant

    And by the way, here is a list of probably all of marcus lehmann’s novels and novelettes:

    -bustenai

    -Akiva

    -Out of the depths

    -rabeinu gershom

    -the count of coucy

    -vanished

    -family y aguilar

    -portrait of two families

    -Ithamar

    -the agunah

    -faith and courage(aka the adopted princess)

    -stranger at the gate (for kids)

    -del monte

    -the penknife

    -between two worlds

    -just in time

    -unpaid ransom

    -rabbi joselman of rosheim (2 volumes)

    #1125541

    philosopher
    Member

    I love Meyer Bendet’s books, but I have not seen them around for quite a while.

    He wrote True Identity and the sequel Double Identity

    The Orphan – two books

    Our Man in Russia

    The Accused – two books- this is definitely the BEST novel I have ever read!

    There’s another great book that he wrote but I forgot the title

    He is definitely the best frum author in my opinion.

    Marcus Lehman’s books are also good.

    #1125542

    Right when I saw the topic of this chat, I immediately wanted to recommend “Every Man a Slave” and I’m definitely not surprised that it’s already been recommended. It is a phenomenal masterpiece that I couldn’t put down. I have read plenty of classic goyish novels and have found this particular book to be extremely well written and researched (since it’s based on historical fiction).

    Enjoy!!

    #1125543

    ihear
    Member

    Unfortunately I have to agree with SHRAGAf . I have only read one book that I liked but the writing was not professional and the writing wasn’t so good just the story line was good

    #1125544

    anonowriter
    Participant

    I agree with brucklyn jewess – i really liked marcus lehman’s books.

    One day and forever (forgot who wrote it – i think sarah birnhack) is very well written.

    The pomegranate pendant is also excellent.

    The broken bracelet was pretty good.

    I absolutely loved most of ruth benjamin’s books, but she writes mostly for teens. (on a golden chain, yesterday’s child, all the hidden children, stranger to her people)

    Nothing but the truth – i do not recall who wrote it, but it’s fantastic. and not much fluff either.

    search my heart – haven’t read it for a while, but i remember liking it.

    the search for miri & family secrets – i think they were both written by libby lazewnik. really her best books in my opinion.

    i have to think… maybe i’ll remember more.

    and now i want to go and find those books so i can read them all again…

    🙂

    #1125545

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    emoticon613-

    Supposedly he wrote another book, “Samson’s Lion” but under a pseudonym.

    #1125546

    Definitely Sun Inside Rain by Miriam BAssarah. The best book I’ve ever read.

    Mayer Bendet’s books.

    Meir Uri Gottesman’s books-Deep Blue-The Harp-Morning Star

    #1125547

    kapusta
    Participant

    anonowriter, do you mean “Forever and a Day” by Libby Lazewnik? (It was about a family living in California, the father was away for business…) In any case that was a very good one, definitely recommended.

    *kapusta*

    #1125548

    emoticon613
    Member

    dr pepper – samson’s lion is aleph shin for the secular reader and it’s under the pseudonym alex wolf – get it? it’s great actually, that book, just a little less…sheltered. like the theological discussions are expanded upon and there’s some stronger language in there.

    meir uri gottesman’s books are amazing!!!

    nachman seltzer’s books are pretty good, good plot, good writing style, a little fantastic (as in fantasy) in my opinion.

    ananowriter – THE POMEGRANATE PENDANT IS THE BEST!! i’d forgotten about it, but it’s sooo realistic, true to the people and to the times, and the writing style is stunning!

    still thinking…

    #1125549

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    I think I get it: Zev = Wolf?

    #1125550

    emoticon613
    Member

    sender=alexander=alex

    he’s good.

    more later iy”H

    #1125551

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    A novel about his pseudonym alone would make a best seller.

    #1125552

    NCO Chassid
    Member

    The Will by Chaim Greenbaum is a couple cuts above your standard frum fare. It’s also 704 pages.

    #1125553

    emoticon613
    Member

    dr. pepper – lol!!

    the coming revolution by zamir cohen is not a novel, it’s a science book, but it’s amazing! first of all you CANNOT tell it’s translated. second, it brings in meforshim that prove that we already knew what science is telling us today, while reminding the reader that torah came first and science doesn’t prove it; it proves science. it’s a reallllly good book!

    #1125554

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Naomi Ragen

    #1125555

    pomeranz
    Member

    My favourites are Hearts of Gold 1 and 2

    #1125557

    emoticon613
    Member

    sjs – what did she write?

    #1125558

    hereorthere
    Member

    One thing I do not understand so well.

    If people want something ‘frum’ to read, why not study Torah?

    Or read the midrash says?

    #1125559

    hi there
    Member

    i agree that pyramid base and the will are very good books. they are my favourite. busy reading now ‘betrayel’ apparently there has not been such a good book for a long time.

    #1125560

    ShragaF
    Member

    Hereorthere,

    Without getting into too much detail, there are places where one can not learn Torah 🙂

    #1125561

    mosherose
    Member

    “Without getting into too much detail, there are places where one can not learn Torah 🙂 “

    How much time do you spend there? not long enough to read a book.

    #1125562

    I read non-jewish novels, and I actually found The Jewish Kingdom of Kuzar interesting.

    #1125563

    Dave Hirsch
    Participant

    I second d a’s picks. Eli Shekhter’s books are indeed amazing, dunno if it substitutes non-Jewish ones (especially the writing-style), but they’re good. However, it’s been a while since he wrote anything. If you want something different (and more on a professional level) you might wanna try Meir Uri Gottesman’s books. While I enjoyed The Will, I felt it was very immature and unrealistic and while I love Yair Weinstock’s way of writing, I think his plots are stupid and unrealistic.

    Bottom line: No Frum novel will replace a good non-Jewish book in all aspects. It will be missing something. Research is something that needs much improvement.

    #1125564

    ShragaF
    Member

    Mosherose,

    Unfortunately you’re wrong. I happen to have severe digestion problems for many years now, which sometimes keep me in the bathroom for quite a while. (Obviously not long enough to finish a book in one session, but I doubt thats what you meant…)

    #1125565

    hereorthere
    Member

    Mosherose, you are right of course.

    I had not thought of that.

    But in that case, wouldn’t a frum novel possibly at some point mention some halacha or something a character learned somewhere and thus make the novel, Assur to read, in such a place?

    #1125566

    emoticon613
    Member

    hereorthere – besides what shraga said, they are some people who just can’t sit and read midrashim. i personally have problem with the lashon hakodesh, and the english translations i’ve found with the exeption of a few aren’t that great unfortunately – if a/o knows of any good ones, tell me!

    #1125567

    hereorthere
    Member

    ShragaF I had meant to thank you for letting me know what I was missing in my thinking.

    Thanks 🙂

    But I repeat; But in that case, wouldn’t a frum novel possibly at some point mention some halacha or something a character learned somewhere and thus make the novel, Assur to read, in such a place?

    #1125568

    faywee
    Member

    I agree with you ShragaF- most jewish novels are boring junk.

    You can say you like them- because that’s your opinion, but it takes more than just your opinion to make a book be well written.

    But Meir Uri Gottesman “The Harp” is completely kosher and a complete masterpiece! Deep Blue is also fantastic.

    I also loved “Every Man a Slave”- nobody can complain about research there…

    The thing is most of these books are old. If you’ve already read all the oldies and goodies- you can’t expect anything that just came out to be good…

    Though- Yael Mermelstien’s “Moonlight” is not a novel- it does have some really professional short stories. The one about the circus and the mink stole- could very well be used in high schools- to be analyzed. I actually thought that it compared well to O’henry’s style

    EDITED

    #1125569

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I know this is nitpicking, but isn’t just about every published novel written professionally? 🙂

    (ducking and running)

    The Wolf

    #1125571

    ShragaF
    Member

    Wolf,

    You posted in the wrong thread by mistake. “jokes” is a couple threads over 🙂

    #1125572

    hello99
    Member

    SJSinNYC: “Naomi Ragen”

    Let me delicately suggest that her works may not qualify as “frum” novels. This is an understatement.

    #1125573

    HIE
    Participant

    (HIE’s big brother) Lately there haven’t been too many Jewish thriller-novels coming out (correct me if I’m wrong).

    The “Will” was very good in my opinion.

    #1125574

    anonowriter
    Participant

    No, kapusta. I did NOT mean “Forever and a Day” by Libby Lazewnik. That is a children’s book and one of the few books written by Libby that I truly did not enjoy.

    One Day And Forever is a historical novel written about a young Litvish woman who marries a brilliant young man who becomes chassidish… the novel writes of her family’s reaction, etc. I thought it truly inspiring. (and nothing like the serial from one of the magazines that took forever…)

    #1125575

    Gabboim
    Member

    A Yirei Shamayim doesn’t read fiction.

    #1125576

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    A Yirei Shamayim doesn’t read fiction.

    Cite?

    According to one opinion in the Gemara, Iyov is fiction*. Are you telling me that a yorei shamayim doesn’t read Iyov?

    The Wolf

    * Fiction in the sense that it historically did not happen. That does not mean to say that there aren’t lessons to be learned from it, etc.

    #1125577

    Gabboim
    Member

    Cite?? You think everything a Yirei Shamayim would do is written down somewhere?? Vi shteit az ah yirei shamayim shouldn’t fress a hot dog on coney island avenue?

    #1125578

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    You think everything a Yirei Shamayim would do is written down somewhere??

    Written down or explained somewhere, yes. So, once again, cite?

    The Wolf

    (Or, one better… perhaps we should say a yarei shamayim doesn’t post on an internet board. 🙂

    The Wolf)

    #1125579

    Gabboim
    Member

    Same place it says a Yirei Shamayim shouldn’t fress a hot dog in public.

    (Didn’t claim to be a Yirei Shamayim.)

    #1125580

    emoticon613
    Member

    then who are you to speak for them? (emoticon613’s roomate)

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