Book Club

Women at Coffee TableIn some ways I wrote Pictures of the Past for the Book Club in Northbrook, Illinois, where I was the leader for over twenty years. Like the family of book club readers everywhere, they are such a bright, interesting, warm and supportive group of women. They want to learn about people in contemporary times and in the context of history, but they also want to fall in love with a good story. When we are particularly challenged by the literature, I remind them that this is why we are in a book club. We want to expand our vision of the world and enhance our experience with language. And I thank them, as a teacher without a classroom, for joining me in this rewarding venture.

Long before I was drawn to books that influenced me to become a writer, I discovered the books that made me become a reader. Among my favorite classics are Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Chaim Potok’s The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev drew me at an early age toward the wealth of Jewish literature, and then I discovered the strength of Holocaust literature with Leon Uris and Exodus and Mila 18. Taylor Caldwell’s Captain and the Kings introduced me to intriguing family saga, and soon I was captured by Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel, Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, and James Michener’s Hawaii. Of course today, with such a proliferation of good literature in every format, people are drawn to the newest, the edgiest, and the most current best sellers. But I do encourage young people to visit many of the best books from the past.


Follow my Blog to see what I am currently reading. And readers, if you spend enough time alone in the car — it will change your life if you begin enjoying audio books. I subscribe to for a reasonable monthly fee — which allows you a book a month and sometimes extra credits. I promise you, you will be excited to get in the car to go to work or run your errands.

Here are some of my recommendations:

  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
  • The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
  • The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
  • The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot
  • The Lake House by Kate Morton
  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
  • The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
  • Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  • A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
  • A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
  • Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  • At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  • The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  • The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
  • Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Green
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • War Brides by Helen Bryan
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jo Jo Moyes
  • The Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg
  • The Wanting by Michael Lavigne
  • Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes


Below is a list of many of the books (and movies)
which I have reviewed for our Book Club over the years:

Stack of Books

  • Midnight in Paris, a Woody Allen movie
  • Secret Daughter by Shilpi Gowda
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  • The Little Traitor, Movie
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
  • Defiance, Movie
  • Mango Season by Amulya Malladi
  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • The Counterfeiters, movie
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
  • The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
  • Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
  • Exileby Richard North Patterson
  • Black Box, Movie
  • Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
  • Golden Country by Jennifer Gilmore
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Everything Is Illuminated, Movie
  • Stars of David by Abigail Pogrebin
  • Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow
  • Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
  • The Covenant by Naomi Ragen
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Crossing California by Adam Langer
  • Postville by Stephen G. Bloom
  • The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Paradise Park by Allegra Goodman
  • The Family Orchard by Eve Nomi
  • My Suburban Shetl by Robert Rand
  • Esther’s Child by Jean Sasson
  • The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
  • The Promise by Chaim Potok
  • Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
  • House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamont



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