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Jewish Journal

Chanukah shopping: Revisiting some classics

by Julie Bien

November 25, 2013 | 4:18 pm

Take time this holiday season to slow down and catch up on your pleasure reading. We’ve gathered a list of classic books to suit everyone’s taste  — from spine-chilling science fiction to classic modern novels. Whether you’re looking for a humorous Sunday afternoon read, an enchanting novel or the perfect bedtime story for your kids, these selections should offer ideas for your Chanukah gift-giving needs.


1.”STORIES FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE” by Rod Serling ($8.99)

Genre: Short fiction

Summary: This is a collection of stories adapted from scripts of the successful sci-fi television series “The Twilight Zone.”

Best-suited for: Anyone who can quote Serling’s speech from “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”

2. “DANNY AND THE DINOSAUR” by Syd Hoff ($3.99)

Genre: Children’s short fiction

Summary: Danny befriends a dinosaur at the museum, and awesome adventures ensue.

Best-suited for: Kids who love dinosaurs  — and what kid doesn’t love dinosaurs?

3. “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov ($7.99)

Genre: Science fiction

Summary: The Galactic Empire and mankind fight for survival in a galaxy that seems doomed. It’s up to Hari Sheldon to find a way to preserve the knowledge of mankind before it’s too late.

Best-suited for: Die-hard science fiction fans. It was awarded the one-time-only Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series.” 

4. “CATCH-22” by Joseph Heller ($16)

Genre: Classic modern literature

Summary: Capt. Yossarian, as well as his fellow airmen, must keep their sanity while stationed on an island during World War II in order to complete their duty and make it home.

Best-suited for: Young adults who want a world-class satirical take on war. This is a must-read for anyone who wants fewer gaps in their literary education.

5. “NIGHT” by Elie Wiesel ($9.95)

Genre: Holocaust memoir

Summary: Wiesel writes about his experience with his father at two concentration camps, and his growing disgust with humanity and loss of faith.

Best-suited for: Anyone who wants a first-hand account of surviving Auschwitz and Buchenwald at the height of the Holocaust.

6.  “THE COMPLETE MAUS” by Art Spiegelman ($35)

Genre: Graphic novel

Summary: This is a depiction of the author’s interviews with his father about his experiences during World War II as a Polish Jew, and his life before and after the Nazi occupation.

Best-suited for: Anyone who enjoyed “Persepolis.” “Maus,” which is about the Holocaust, was the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.

7. “THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI” by Helene Wecker ($26.99)

Genre: Magical realism

Summary: Chava (the Golem) and Ahmad (the Jinni) must find a way to fit in with other immigrants in 1899 New York, as well as work together despite their differences.

Best-suited for: Fans of fantasy novels like “American Gods.” It combines cross-cultural mythology and Judaism with the age-old search for identity and meaning.

8. “I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK: AND OTHER THOUGHTS ON BEING A WOMAN” by Nora Ephron ($14)

Genre: Collected essays

Summary: Ephron covers everything from empty-nest syndrome to menopause to cooking in a collection of essays about life after 40.

Best-suited for: Women in need of a humorous take on the reality of aging, written by one of the most celebrated female writers of the century.

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