Best Beach Books for Summer

26 June, 2019

by Sabrina Spector, Katz JCC Adults Assistant Director and Cultural & Judaic Director and Irene Afek, Sanders Memorial Library Librarian

At the end of May, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Jewish Book Council conference and hear from over 250 amazing authors in preparation for the Bank of America Festival of Arts, Books & Culture (save the dates: November 10-17, 2019!).  Professionally, I am very busy working with our committee to create a memorable festival.  Personally, I come back with a list of wonderful books to read.  Unfortunately, I’m a slow reader with very little time, so when I commit to a book, it’s has to be highly recommended.

Several great summer reads were discussed at the conference and are worthy of a shout out:

  • There’s Melanie Benjamin’s Mistress of the Ritz, an enthralling novel based on the life of Blanche Auzello, a Jewish-American woman who hosted the Germans at the famous Ritz hotel all while working for the Renaissance.
  • Then there’s the much anticipated The Floating Feldman’s by Elyssa Friendland that comes out in July.  Can you imagine going to a family reunion on a cruise with no way off the boat?  This hysterical adventure will keep you in stitches and grateful for your family reunions.
  • I also recommend Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, which has taken the DNA ancestry rage to a whole new level.  In this candid memoir, Dani shares how she discovered her biological father.
  • Andrew Gross’ Button Man has received outstanding reviews.  A fast paced historical thriller set in New York in the 1930’s, this novel gives a great glimpse into the start of the fashion industry.  I can’t wait to read his fall release, The Fifth Column
  • One of my favorite festival authors, Ron Balson, is back with The Girl in Berlin. Balson again brings back his characters Liam and Catherine, a private investigator and attorney to life with another tantalizing case. 
  • NBC reporter turned novelist, Martin Fletcher has delivered the first of a trilogy, The Promised Land which he says is like Dallas meets Exodus.  For those of us who have already read the book, we can’t wait for the next one.  The book was a page turner with wonderful twists and turns and along the way, a little bit of learning about the creation of the State of Israel.

So many amazing books to read, so little time.  For more recommendations, go to the Jewish Book Council website at

Plus, you’re welcome at any time to come meet our delightful librarian, Irene Afek, who always has a recommendation to give.  Check out our complete catalog as well at  Use this site from any device – desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone to see the treasures of the Sanders Memorial Library. Choose your title(s) and send an email to to put a hold on your selected item(s). Please include your name and the name of the book(s) or DVD(s) that you have chosen. Wait for a reply from the Irene and then stop in the library and check out your item(s).  You can search our collection 24/7 and there’s no login required.

Enjoy your summer reading, and see you at the Festival this fall!

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