As the weather turns cooler and the nights grow longer, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book. We asked local community members and several of our professionals what books they are recommending right now. From fiction to memoirs to a book that marries Jewish tradition with meditative practices, check out their suggestions.

And this November, join the community for The Baltimore Festival of Jewish Literature, and enjoy live author conversations on issues important to the Jewish community.

Laurie Weitz, Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation

“I think I’d choose The Forest of Vanishing Stars. The author presents a strong female protagonist through the main character Yona and while it is historical fiction, the events that led Jews being persecuted in Poland during World War II to take refuge in the forests were accurate. The author has a lot of notes about the research she did for the book which were very interesting. It was reminiscent of one favorite books from a few years ago, Where the Crawdads Sing.”

Joan Cohen, Executive Director, Jewish Community Services

“Find the Helpers by Fred Guttenberg. Fred’s brother was a first responder in 9/11 and passed away from cancer most likely due to toxin exposures at the 9/11 site. Fred is also the father of Jamie Guttenberg victim of the Parkland school shooting. Fred is Jewish.

This book inspires us to think about the quintessential role of helpers; how we can be one and how we find our helpers in unexpected people and places. After reading the book one feels a new vigor for how to be a helper and a true understanding that we all need a helper at various times in our lives.”

Will Minkin, Co-chair, Insight Israel Forum

“I recently read a memoir of a guy named Trent Preszler entitled Little and Often that was recommended to me by a friend.  He writes about how he dealt with the death of his father and came to terms with their strained relationship by spending a year building a canoe with tools that he inherited from his father. It was inspiring and thoughtful and while he describes the work of boat building in more detail than you could imagine, it was very interesting and uplifting.”

Katie Fink, IMPACT

“My book club recently read This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, and it was a huge hit! The book is about a large, loving, and chaotic family, keeping a secret to protect their youngest child. The story follows the family as the secret comes to light and reveals that protecting one child can often come at the expense of other family members. Even operating with the best intentions, this book shows that keeping a secret to prevent societal ridicule isn’t always the best way to help a child blossom and thrive. This Is How It Always Is had us all laughing, crying and deeply considering what it means to be a family.”

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The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.