T5W: Book Intimidation

Today for Top 5 Wednesday I’m sharing some of the books that I’m intimidated to start!

The Shtetl edited and translated by Joachim Neugroschel

Short novels by Aleichem, Aksenfeld, and Moykher-Sforim, stories by Peretz, Rabbi Nahkman, and Der Nister, religious writings, and Hassidic yarns depict Jewish life in the shtetl from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

Raj by Gita Mehta

Jaya Singh is the intelligent, beautiful, and compassionate daughter of the Maharajah and Maharani of Balmer. Raised in the thousand-year-old tradition of purdah, a strict regime of seclusion, silence, and submission, Jaya is ill-prepared to assume the role of Regent Maharani of Sirpur upon the death of her decadent, Westernized husband. But Jaya bravely fulfills her duty and soon finds herself thrust into the center of a roiling political battle in which the future of the kingdom is at stake… and her own future as well.

Hunter of the Light by Risa Aratyr

When the world was young, this other Ireland was already old.

Every ninth year a great snow elk appears on Eirinn’s mountaintops. Unless it dies by sacred spear before sunrise of Bealtaine Day, when the wheel of the world turns over, the balance between Light and Dark, and thus all hope of magic will be lost.

And once lost, gone forever.

Every ninth year must Eirinn choose a champion. This year it is the bard, Blackthorn, more at ease with a verse than a spear, who will stalk the dream-stag through lough and fen. And a dream love awaits the bard as well: the beautiful and doomed Roisin Dubh, whose touch will sear his heart with a strange new fire.

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the world’s first novel. Genji, the Shining Prince, is the son of an emperor. He is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tyler’s superior translation is detailed, poetic, and superbly true to the Japanese original while allowing the modern reader to appreciate it as a contemporary treasure. Supplemented with detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies to help the reader navigate the multigenerational narrative, this comprehensive edition presents this ancient tale in the grand style that it deserves.

East River by Sholem Asch

The unforgettable saga of two immigrant families and the forbidden love that could not keep them apart. East River is a novel by Sholem Asch, first published in 1946, and a New York Times bestseller of that year. Unlike the denser Jewish pockets of the lower East Side of New York, East 48th Street by the river was, even at the beginning of the twentieth century, an international neighborhood made up of Orthodox Jews, Catholic Irish, nostalgic Poles, chauvinistic Italians, all hungry, all overworked, all insecure. But although these folk were all, so to speak, melting in the same pot, they were kept at a certain distance from one another, by their inherited prejudices, the most pernicious of which were supplied by their religions. To allow them to live together and work together toward a happier life, and to turn them from their European pasts toward a high American future, they needed, in Asch’s view, the religion of love. And the same religion was needed to get the bosses and workers together in the garment industry, so as to end the sweatshops, the subcontracting system, and destructive strikes. Set in the diverse, impoverished neighborhood of 48th Street and the East River in Manhattan, during the years before World War I, Asch’s novel is a captivating tale of the inevitable and wrenching consequences of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Christians.

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