What St. Louis Jews are reading


Jordan Palmer

What are St. Louis Jews are reading? That is the question posed last week on Facebook, to kick-off a new column, creatively titled, “What St. Louis Jews are reading.” Now, it’s up to you, the Jews of St. Louis to help write it. But first some context. Do Jews read books? The answer is yes, and then some.

At one of the last BookExpo America events before the pandemic, there was a panel discussion titled:
“Why Jewish Americans Love Books, Buy Books and Read More Books Than Practically Anyone Else on the Planet–How to Get Them Into Your Store (or Make Them Your Customers) Today!”

The panel tried in every which way to explain why Jews disproportionately seem to buy more books than any other segment of the population. At the same time, the panel offered ways to sell even more books to Jews, further enforcing the notion that Jews are not only the people of the book (as dubbed by Muslims), but “people of the books,” said Stuart Matlins, founder of Jewish Lights Publications, according to a blog review by ShelfAwarness.com

Matlins asked the group, “What is with us?” He answered his own question, saying, “Jews read books directly in proportion with education, not in proportion with our numbers, which is less than 2% of the population.”

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Matlins emphasized that Jews don’t just read books about Jews. They read everything, including “self help, ‘junk fiction,’ Eat, Pray, Love and books about identity of all kinds. Great hunger for knowledge continues,” he added.

So, with that said, we asked:

And a few of you responded, offering up some titles and authors of books you’ve just read or are reading now. See if one of these titles inspires you to pick up a book and let us know in the comment section below.  Got a recommendation, let us know and we’ll include it next week!

Apples Never Fall

A #1 New York Times Bestseller From Liane Moriarty, the bestselling author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers. According to the publisher, this is a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest.

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

The Lincoln Highway

A #1 New York Times Best Seller by Amor Towles 

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew.

Beautiful World, Where Are You 

The new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends.

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

This book has been in the news recently after the author, Rooney, wouldn’t accept an offer to sell the Hebrew translation rights to an Israeli publisher responsible for putting out her first two novels in Israel. 

The Midnight Library: A Novel

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.