Any recommended Jewish novels?
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- This topic has 112 replies, 69 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 2 months ago by fiere.
June 7, 2010 3:42 am at 3:42 am #591744
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!June 7, 2010 4:20 am at 4:20 am #1125528mischiefmakerMember
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.June 7, 2010 4:32 am at 4:32 am #1125529schlakshammosMember
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 writtenJune 7, 2010 5:07 am at 5:07 am #1125530charliehallParticipant
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.June 7, 2010 9:22 am at 9:22 am #1125531dveykus613Participant
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!June 7, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm #1125532
Dveykus613, thanks, I’ll check them out!
Charliehall, are his books “kosher”? That’s my main problem with the non-Jewish novels.June 7, 2010 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm #1125535lakewoodwifeParticipant
Also try “Every Man a Slave.” Amazing book, everyone I know who read it thoroughly enjoyed it.June 7, 2010 4:03 pm at 4:03 pm #1125536
I think “Alef Shin” and “Every Man a Slave” were written by the same author.June 7, 2010 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #1125537
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.June 7, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm #1125538d aMember
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!!!June 7, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm #1125539Brucklyn JewessParticipant
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.June 7, 2010 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm #1125540Brucklyn JewessParticipant
And by the way, here is a list of probably all of marcus lehmann’s novels and novelettes:
-Out of the depths
-the count of coucy
-family y aguilar
-portrait of two families
-faith and courage(aka the adopted princess)
-stranger at the gate (for kids)
-between two worlds
-just in time
-rabbi joselman of rosheim (2 volumes)June 8, 2010 3:19 am at 3:19 am #1125541philosopherMember
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.June 8, 2010 4:17 am at 4:17 am #1125542outoftowner123Member
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!!June 8, 2010 4:21 am at 4:21 am #1125543ihearMember
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 goodJune 8, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm #1125544anonowriterParticipant
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…
🙂June 8, 2010 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #1125545
Supposedly he wrote another book, “Samson’s Lion” but under a pseudonym.June 8, 2010 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #1125546thinkinghelpsMember
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 StarJune 8, 2010 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #1125547kapustaParticipant
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.June 8, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #1125548
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…June 8, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #1125549
I think I get it: Zev = Wolf?June 9, 2010 5:11 am at 5:11 am #1125550
more later iy”HJune 9, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am #1125551
A novel about his pseudonym alone would make a best seller.June 9, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm #1125552NCO ChassidMember
The Will by Chaim Greenbaum is a couple cuts above your standard frum fare. It’s also 704 pages.June 9, 2010 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #1125553
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!June 9, 2010 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #1125554SJSinNYCMember
Naomi RagenJune 9, 2010 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #1125555pomeranzMember
My favourites are Hearts of Gold 1 and 2June 9, 2010 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #1125557
sjs – what did she write?June 9, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm #1125558
One thing I do not understand so well.
If people want something ‘frum’ to read, why not study Torah?
Or read the midrash says?June 9, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm #1125559hi thereMember
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.June 9, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm #1125560
Without getting into too much detail, there are places where one can not learn Torah 🙂June 10, 2010 1:29 am at 1:29 am #1125561mosheroseMember
“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.June 10, 2010 1:35 am at 1:35 am #1125562HidingUnderCoverMember
I read non-jewish novels, and I actually found The Jewish Kingdom of Kuzar interesting.June 10, 2010 3:20 am at 3:20 am #1125563Dave HirschParticipant
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.June 10, 2010 3:26 am at 3:26 am #1125564
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…)June 10, 2010 6:00 am at 6:00 am #1125565
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?June 10, 2010 6:55 am at 6:55 am #1125566
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!June 10, 2010 7:05 am at 7:05 am #1125567
ShragaF I had meant to thank you for letting me know what I was missing in my thinking.
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?June 10, 2010 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #1125568fayweeMember
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
EDITEDJune 10, 2010 4:25 pm at 4:25 pm #1125569
I know this is nitpicking, but isn’t just about every published novel written professionally? 🙂
(ducking and running)
The WolfJune 10, 2010 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #1125571
You posted in the wrong thread by mistake. “jokes” is a couple threads over 🙂June 10, 2010 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #1125572hello99Participant
SJSinNYC: “Naomi Ragen”
Let me delicately suggest that her works may not qualify as “frum” novels. This is an understatement.June 10, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #1125573HIEParticipant
(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.June 11, 2010 2:38 am at 2:38 am #1125574anonowriterParticipant
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…)June 11, 2010 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #1125575
A Yirei Shamayim doesn’t read fiction.June 11, 2010 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #1125576
A Yirei Shamayim doesn’t read fiction.
According to one opinion in the Gemara, Iyov is fiction*. Are you telling me that a yorei shamayim doesn’t read Iyov?
* 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.June 11, 2010 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #1125577
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?June 11, 2010 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #1125578
You think everything a Yirei Shamayim would do is written down somewhere??
Written down or explained somewhere, yes. So, once again, cite?
(Or, one better… perhaps we should say a yarei shamayim doesn’t post on an internet board. 🙂
The Wolf)June 11, 2010 9:05 pm at 9:05 pm #1125579
Same place it says a Yirei Shamayim shouldn’t fress a hot dog in public.
(Didn’t claim to be a Yirei Shamayim.)June 12, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm #1125580
then who are you to speak for them? (emoticon613’s roomate)
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