Broadening My Reading List

I have always had alarmingly narrow interests, especially when it comes to reading material. My shelves are bursting with anything related to the following topics, and little else:


  • Bible
  • Ancient History (Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant)
  • Biblical Archaeology
  • Land of Israel
  • Jewish History, especially Second Temple-related materials
  • Of late, History of Zionism and the State of Israel


…aaaaaannnnnndddddd, that’s the sum and total of it. When I think of the great forest out there, I haven’t really tasted of the many fruits — my grove is more of a narrow, dense, thicket that I’m utterly immersed in, and don’t really want to leave, if I’m honest with myself. But venture forth I must, to sample those other fruits and bring them back to my grove. What to do with them once at home base, I’m not quite sure. Graft them onto what I already know? Whip up some tasty new, complex recipes? How the adventures of missionaries in Africa can help me understand and teach Sefer Shmot, I’m not yet sure, but my intuition tells me it’s time to find out.  


It had been years since I picked up a work of fiction, any of the classics, poetry (aside from classical medieval piyyut), poly-sci, anthropologies, humor, etc. Pretty pathetic, right? So on the eve of my fortieth birthday, I asked my Facebook hive to weigh in with suggestions of good reads that would expand my horizons. Thanks to wise friends and sage advice, I’ve added the following volumes to my library, among others: Thinking, Fast and Slow (Kahanemann), The Craftsman (Sennett), The Historian (Kostova), Oryx and Crake (Atwood), Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (See), The Secret Life of Bees (Kidd), The Stranger (Camus), Ficciones (Borges — admittedly, I haven’t read any of his stories yet).


[What I’ll never get to, but the rest of my family reads in spades and more than makes up for my disinterest: science fiction and fantasy. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. That’s one bustan (orchard) that I don’t think I’ll ever want to enter.]


Our move has forced my hand to stock a different type of reading material. Today’s cart from the Book Depository was so startlingly unlike any prior purchase we’ve made that I felt it deserved its own blog post. Here are my most recent acquisitions:

At least once a day, Ira and I repeat to ourselves: We know nothing. But maybe this time next year, God willing, we’ll know a lot more about just how little we knew at the beginning of this journey.

Would love if you shared a snapshot of your most recent book order!


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