AMHERST, Massachusetts – The Yiddish Book Center has opened registration for its 2019 “Great Jewish Books” Book Club. Now in its third year, the Book Club delivers four books over the course of a year, each thoughtfully selected by Yiddish Book Center staff from the vast treasure trove of modern Jewish literature. (All selections are in English.) Book Club members become part of a community of readers who read selections with people across the country and around the world, engaging with diverse voices and interpretations online and in person.
Josh Lambert, the Yiddish Book Center’s academic director, explains the idea behind Great Jewish Books Book Club: “It seemed like it could be an amazing thing, transformative even, if we could get a hundred people to read the same book at the same time. All sit down and say, ‘In the next couple of weeks we’re going to read an important work of Jewish literature’ – and use all the resources that technology gives us and find new ways to talk about things we’re reading with other people around the world.”
In addition to the books, Book Club members receive reading resources for each selection – interviews with the author or translator, book reviews, and exclusive essays, as well as video and audio materials from the Yiddish Book Center’s collections and the hosting of live video discussions. In addition, members are invited to join a private Facebook page where they can ask questions, share reactions, and interact with other Book Club members and staff.
“Some of the books may be difficult, avant-garde, modernist works, and some may be easier, more familiar. We’re always going to pick books that make us ask complex questions about Jewish identity, history, and experience,” says Lambert. “It’s an exciting time for this effort because there are many new translations of Yiddish literature being published these days.”
The deadline to register for the 2019 Great Jewish Books Book Club is Dec. 16. The cost for the one-year membership is $78, which includes four books, plus shipping. Gift memberships may be purchased.
For more information or to sign up, visit: yiddishbookcenter.org/bookclubsignup.