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Good Books with a cookie chaser

10/22/2020 10:23:20 AM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we will be inside more than ever. Tear your eyes away from the screen and pick up a real book. Most libraries are open for limited in-person visits or at the very least, offer pick-up service.

The synagogue library will pull books for you and leave them in the office. The library is also open for browsing. Please wear your mask, sanitize your hands and put books in the designated basket.

Email me if you have questions.

There’s some heavy reading here. So get yourself a hot cup of something and a great chocolate cookie before you start. (Recipe at end of list!)

The following are available at either the synagogue library or your local public library.

Correa             The German Girl is historical fiction centered on the tragic story of the St. Louis, the German ship whose hundreds of Jewish passengers were not allowed to disembark in Cuba despite having visas. The book focuses on one family that was allowed to stay in Cuba and the emotionally devastating effects that ensued. The story moves back and forth between generations and locations. Correa also wrote The Daughter’s Tale based on the same historical event.

Hoffman         Magic Lessons is another tale of intolerance by a master storyteller. This prequel to her Magic series explains the origin of the Owens curse. A Jewish character has a major role in the story. Also by Hoffman is The World That We Knew, a Holocaust story featuring a modern day golem. Both are good reads with vivid locales and strong characters.

Kristof             Tightrope: Americans reaching for hope is a devastating look at poverty and addiction in one American community. Kristof is a New York Times columnist who in this book looked at the kids- now adults- who rode his school bus in rural Yamhill, Oregon. These offspring of mostly lower middle and working class families had an unusually high rate of addition, alcoholism, and suicide. Kristoff seeks an answer to why so many of his classmates never were able to make it as adults. He suggests that the key is a strong, supportive, loving family.

O’Farrell         Hamnet is a speculative historical novel based on the theory that Shakespeare’s play Hamlet was written to celebrate the short life of his beloved son Hamnet. Vivid prose captures the life of 16th century England and the terrible fears and sadness that the plague brought to England. Other books that deal in part with the plague is The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish.

Wilkerson        Caste: the origins of our discontents is a logical partner to Tightrope, listed above. Former New York Times reporter and author of the now classic study The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration has written a spell-binding tale of social stratification in the United States. Wilkerson’s lively prose and ability to interweave personal vignettes and poignant narratives makes this serious book a must read for anyone interested in the state of American society today.


The Easiest Cookie Ever: Nutella Drop Cookies

Make about 24 cookies


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Optional: sea salt, chocolate chips, chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Mix egg with Nutella and flour in a large bowl until well combined. This is a stiff dough. Don’t be afraid to mix it with your hands.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts if you wish.
  5. Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter with a spoon or cookie scoop. Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. These will not spread out very much.
  6. Bake 7-10 minutes until cooked around the edges and soft in the middle. Do a test cookie to determine baking time.
  7. Let sit for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
  8. Heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds to refresh.


Note: for a softer cookie use 1 1/4 c Nutella, 1/2 c. flour and 2 large eggs. Directions for mixing and baking are the same, but use 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of batter. These cookies will spread and be relatively flat.

Sun, May 19 2024 11 Iyyar 5784