31 Best Books by Jewish Writers and Authors
There has been a historic rise in antisemitism in the United States. The hate speech and behavior are scary not only in the level of viciousness but in people’s willingness to believe things they hear. Because of this, we wanted to create a list of our favorite Jewish writers and authors.
This list is definitely not a complete list because there is no way we could highlight all the wonderful Jewish writers and authors but, we hope that this list gives you some inspiration.
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Best Contemporary Fiction Books by Jewish Writers
Gilt by Jamie Brenner
Nothing says summer like a new book from Jewish writer, Jamie Brenner. Every book she writes keeps getting better and better. This story is told in dual timelines and will keep you turning the pages!
The Pavlin family is synonymous with the diamond engagement ring. When a publicity stunt pits the three daughters against each other, the winner will receive the Electric Rose- a massive pink diamond.
Now, 10 years later, Gemma Maybrook is devastated at the loss of her mother and is searching for the Electric Rose. The remaining two sisters are no longer speaking, the Pavlin name is in jeopardy, and Gemma is looking for answers.
The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman
This is the story of Sara Glikman who in 1910, as a young child, was able to see the glow between her sister and the man who would become her husband. She very quietly arranged their match and many more for years.
Her granddaughter Abby is a divorce attorney who represents some of the biggest divorces in the city. When Sara dies, leaves Abby all of her diaries.
I loved this unexpected book. It is so unique and a pleasure to read. The story is such a wonderful feel-good book and we needed to recommend if for our summer reads 2023 post.
The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson
This contemporary fiction book had a little bit of everything and I could not put it down. When their Helen grandmother dies, the family is amazed to find out that she has left her granddaughter a massive diamond that can only be the Florentine diamond.
As the family hunts for the truth, there is drama from all over the world. Everyone seems to have a claim on the diamond and how did Helen come to process this priceless treasure?
This book has suspense, history, treasure, and family drama- the perfect combo for a great summer read.
The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro
I read this book years ago and it is one that still resonates with me years later. Claire Roth is a young artist who has been blacklisted from the art community after being named “The Great Pretender”. Claire painted a picture for her former lover who claimed the work as his own. When he broke up with her from the guilt, Claire tried and failed to claim the art as her own.
Now, years later, she is working as a painter who paints reproductions. When she is given a chance to forge a painting for $50,000 and her own private gallery show, claire jumps at the chance but does not realize what she is getting herself into.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This lovely story about a bookstore and its owner will capture your heart. A.J. Fikry is like a bookstore version of Ove in all the right ways except A.J. is only in his thirties.
The recent death of his wife, bad book sales, and the recent robbery of a rare book is wreaking havoc on his life. But this tale of redemption and unexpected chances has a serious soul. If you have not read this pick from our list of books like A Man Called Ove, you need to add it to your stack. And be sure to check out more Books about Bookstores.
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner
What can I say about this book other than the fact that it is non-stop fun? It is a book equivalent of a soap opera. Every character has secrets that will be exposed.
When Ruby decides that she is going to marry her boyfriend Gabe after living together in her parent’s house throughout the pandemic, secrets from the past will emerge and every single relationship is threatened. This book is perfect for the beach and is the perfect summer read.
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
As a book blogger, I find pride in reading across genres. I have pretty eclectic taste so it’s rare to find a well-known author I haven’t dabbled in. A friend of mine insisted that I read this book when he discovered I had never read a Chabon book. I can honestly say that I would NEVER have picked this book on my own.
A failed Israel leading to the Jewish state being formed in the wilds of Alaska? A Yiddish police force solving murders before their state reverts back to US occupancy? No thanks… but instead… I enjoyed it! It’s grittier than my normal picks, but I love the subtle details, the little bits of world-building about the area and the faux history.
Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction Novels to Love in 2023
For more contemporary fiction books like these, check out our ultimate list for dozens of recommendations.
Best Historical Fiction Books by Jewish Writers
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland
Last Summer at the Golden Hotel is all about 2 families who own a resort in the Catskills and are thinking of selling or overhauling the Golden. This is the ultimate in family drama books.
Three generations of the Goldmans and Weismann clans have gathered to make the decision and family secrets are unspooling left and right in the midst of goat yoga, comedy shows, and salon catastrophes.
It was a pleasure to read it while staying at the Hyatt on the Chesapeake and experiencing some resort life of my own. This is on our list of 52 Best Books for Book Clubs to Read.
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr
Buckle up for a stunning story in Lisa Barr’s newest book, Woman on Fire. Jules, an ambitious investigative journalist, is working on a story about a piece of art that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII.
But she’s not the only one looking to track down Woman on Fire. Margaux, a gallerist and art thief, also wants to get her hands on the painting.
As we learn the origins of the painting and the many hands it switched to over the years, we also discover the dark underbelly of the art world.
I was ENTHRALLED with this novel about art. I’ll be putting this pick from mystery books on every must-read list we do this year. It was thrilling and informative. Buy it now, and thank me later.
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson
This powerful novel tells the story of a well-known Jewish Philanthropist accused of being a nazi war criminal. Solomon, the accuser, convinces Catherine to be his lawyer and represent him in the case.
The novel moves back and forth from past to present as Solomon recounts his story. This is a powerful novel that will leave you wondering until the end and is one of my favorite books about WWII. And while this book is fiction, it is similar to many true stories.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
Noa has been cast out after becoming pregnant by a Nazi Soldier. She is forced to give up her baby as well and now finds herself living at a railway station and cleaning to earn her stay. When she finds a boxcar filled with Jewish infants being transported to a concentration camp, Noa grabs a baby and runs.
She finds safety with a German circus and must learn to become a trapeze artist to remain hidden in plain sight. This is a powerful story about love and friendship and a beautiful read from books about WWII.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The story of Dinah is one that is briefly told in the Old Testament. But in this story, we hear her voice. Dinah is the daughter of Jacob. This book is a fictional account of her life and I had never read anything like it.
The imagining of how a woman would live in biblical times is not something I had ever read before this book. It is captivating from the first page.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Clocking in at over 500 pages, I wasn’t sure I could handle a book about WWII and the holocaust that was that long. However, I decided to read it and boy am I glad I did!
The story is part coming of age, part wartime survival. The characters come to life, flaws and all, as you experience the thrill of first love, the loss of innocence, and the grittiness of war.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
In this list of long books, this book is worth every single page because it is such beautifully written historical fiction. The writing is so lyrical- which is usually too poetic for me. But, in this case, it was hard to put down.
The story moves between two strong, intelligent women living centuries apart and the choices and decisions that they have to make in order to be true to themselves If you have the time to invest in one read, this book is my pick and one of my all-time favorite books.
And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer
This novel is based on the historical events of WWII. Henry, an American soldier in Germany takes a manuscript from a seemingly deserted mansion and accidentally kills the woman who tries to stop him.
Years later, when he dies, he leaves the manuscript to his niece Susan with the request to return it to its rightful owner. This story spans from the late 1700s until the present as we follow the manuscript, a lost work of J.S. Bach. This story was incredibly well-written and researched.
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
Best Non-Fiction Books by Jewish Writers
Want The Best FREE Reading Log Printable? Check out our post along with great tips on how to use them.
Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
A moving memoir of life as a Chinese immigrant in America. Qian and her family moved to America for opportunity, but hurdle after hurdle is thrown their way.
As her parents try to put food on the table, we learn about the immigrant experience through the eyes of Qian as a child. From her near-constant hunger to trying to acclimate to her new school system, Wang writes in a way that makes the reader feel what she felt.
Truly a moving account of her early life. I challenge anyone to read this and not wonder how broken our immigration system is.
Find Your Calm: A Workbook to Manage Anxiety (Volume 1) by Jaime Zuckerman Psy. D.
This workbook can be used to help with several types of anxiety including social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic, and even just everyday stress and worry.
Find Your Calm takes behavioral strategies and presents them in a journaling-type fashion. This allows the reader to remain fully engaged in the workbook and easily apply each strategy to their daily life.
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s diary was discovered in the attic that she hid in during the Holocaust before her family was betrayed and she died in Bergen-Belson.
At 13 years old, Anne hid in the attic in Holland to flee the Nazis. Her family faced hunger, boredom, and fear daily; and yet, Anne never lost hope. Anne was a wonderful Jewish writer whose life was cut too short.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
All I can say is wow. This book is absolutely illuminating. I cannot believe the laws in this country that were created to systematically segregate America. More than just redlining, banks, and the government created a system in which there were completely different sets of rules depending on the color of your skin.
I did not know anything about these laws prior to reading the book and it left me flabbergasted. This is a must-read, non-fiction book about poverty and the history of our country. I think it should actually be required reading.
Night by Elie Weisel
I have a personal story about this book. My husband’s grandmother grew up in the same town as Elie Weisel. She knew both him and his wife. This was the first thing that she told me when I met her (My husband’s name is also Elie but this is purely coincidental).
This is a must-read non-fiction book about the Holocaust written by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a short but very powerful book that will emotionally wreck you. For more amazing Oprah’s Book Club Picks, you can see the full list.
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
June 2020 Oprah’s Book Club Pick
Stop everything and add Hidden Valley Road to your TBR now!! All I can say is wow! This favorite is one of the best books on Mental Illness and an absolutely fascinating non-fiction book.
This is the amazing story of Don and Mimi Galvin whose family paved the way for schizophrenia research over the past 50 years. Of their 12 children- 10 sons and 2 daughters, 6 of the boys have schizophrenia.
The struggles of this family to survive through the age of lobotomies and institutionalization provides a look into the history of this disorder. It’s unbelievable to think how far we’ve come and yet, we are not even close to understanding this disease.
Love Non-Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Non-Fiction Books.
Thrillers by Jewish Authors
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
What a ride! Jean Hanff Korelitz’s thriller is quite something. It’s one I just adored even if I did figure the big twist out early on. It’s the journey with this book.
Jacob is a formerly successful writer who is struggling to write his next great novel. His student Evan dies without having published his own incredible story, so Jacob decides to write it himself to great critical acclaim.
But then someone starts threatening to expose him for the theft of the story, launching him into the truth behind the tale he wrote about.
Thanks to Celadon Books for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
There is a murder mystery within a murder mystery in this well-written and thoughtful book.
In this book, you are uncovering the murder of a mystery author while also reading his book. Are they interconnected? The idea is truly unique and so well executed. I just loved it.
Anthony Horowitz is one of the well-known Jewish writers whose mysteries will keep you guessing until the last page.
The Black Widow (Gabriel Allon Series #16) by Daniel Silva
The Gabriel Allon series is a very successful series about an assassin/ Israeli spy who is also an art restorer. This installment actually takes place in 2017 with a foreword by the author explaining that he wrote the book before the recent terror attacks but actually stopped writing the book for a while because the events of the current day were hitting too close to home.
Silva also happened to write a book about a global pandemic BEFORE 2020.
Always thrilling and exciting, you must read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read any books in the series, The Kill Artist (book #1) is a great place to start! Silva is one of our favorite Jewish writers who brings excitement to every single page.
Love Thrillers? We created The Ultimate List of Best Thriller Books carefully divided by sub-genre. These will definitely keep you on your toes.
Romance Books by Jewish Authors
The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
A Chanukah romance? Yes, please!!! I mean, I would have been happy to read this book based only on that but the fact Rachel is a Rabbi’s daughter who is secretly a best-selling author of Christmas romances hooked me.
Add in a splash of romance with Jacob, Rachel’s first kiss from summer camp/ arch nemesis and this book was the perfect light romance. I loved the humor and sweetness of this book. And I would not turn down food from Jacob’s Bubbie. I wish more Jewish writers would write Hanukkah romances!
Meant To Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein
Edie’s Grandma Gloria has successfully predicted the date the members of their family will find their true love match since she found her own love in her childhood. Excited that her day has finally arrived, Edie immediately leaps into a relationship with musician, Theo.
But as she realizes the relationship isn’t falling together as easily as she thought it would, she’s forced to reckon with the ideas of fate and the grandma’s prophesies. After she learns another family member has lied about their own relationship timeline to please their grandma, she is forced to question everything she holds dear.
Is Theo Edie’s one true love or is there someone else she should be with? When it comes to books by Jewish writers, anything by Hannah Orenstein is a must-read!
The Ex-Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Thanks to Berkley for my review copy. All opinions are my own. I picked up The Ex-Talk because I wanted to read a romance by a Jewish author. I loved that this one featured a biracial, interfaith couple.
The concept was cute – two radio show hosts fake a relationship to try to get ratings. Except they are pretending they already dated and broke up… which eventually leads to them actually dating. It was a cute, easy read.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Fantasy Books by Jewish Authors
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This book has a cult-like following for a reason. The first book in the series is a loose fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the world of Prythian. Magical creatures, humans, and fae are all prominent in the book.
This is a fast-paced, addicting, fantasy romance series. A love triangle develops by the end of the story and book two is jaw-dropping! This is on its way to becoming a classic from the list of enemies-to-lovers books. You will want to binge this series in one week. We could not leave this epic romance off a list of the best romance novels of all time.
If you loved ACOTAR, check out this list of books just like it. Or head over to our guide on all of Sarah J. Maas’s books.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
For years, the Owens women have known that their bad luck is because of a curse. This book is the first book in the practical magic series. I just adore this tale of magic, family, and sisterhood.
Gillian and Sally are sisters who have been raised by their two aunts. They both want to leave their small Massachusetts town. But, when Gillian gets into trouble, she runs to Sally for help.
The trouble comes back to haunt them and when a hunky police chief comes to town, the sisters try hard to cover up their family secrets.
There is so much debate with this series: read it in the order the books were written or in chronological order. You can check out all the Practical Magic books in order and more witchy books.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I adored this book by Novik. I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing. This book is an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin that is complex and wonderful and the ending had me in tears.
Miryem’s family are moneylenders but her family is in poverty because her father does not collect his debts. In an effort to save her family, Miryem begins collecting the debts herself and soon a rumor begins that she can turn silver into gold. Soon, these rumors spread to the king of Staryk, and Miryem’s life changes forever when he comes to see if the rumors are true.
Some of my favorite fantasies are written by Jewish writers. As a matter of fact, I love every book on this list!
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Quentin Coldwater is a high school student obsessed with the made of world of Fillory. He finds himself admitted to a magical college that is both secret and elite.
The best way I can describe this series is if Harry Potter was admitted to Hogwarts in College. It has a different feel but it is fun, imaginative, and entertaining. I’m a little obsessed with the tv series as well. The magic in this school is definitely a little bit dark and steamy and for this reason, is perfect for a list of dark academia novels. If you love urban fantasy books, you must read this series.
Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Fantasy for Adults and the Ultimate List of YA fantasy!
Young Adult Books Written by Jewish Authors and Writers
Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
I was so excited when I learned that Netflix was making this into a series. I think it will be amazing on screen and I am so curious to see if they keep to the book or change things, which is so often the case.
Alina Starkov is an orphan who has never excelled in anything. When her regiment is sent into the fold and her best friend is in danger of being killed, she unleashes a power, unlike anything anyone has seen. It may be the answer to the wars that have ravaged her nation.
If you love this book, be sure to check out our post Books Like Shadow and Bone or Leigh Bardugo Books in Order: Complete Guide to 18 Amazing Books. It’s one of the most popular Netflix book adaptations.
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
I love the idea of this story and there was so much about it that I loved. The exploration of a multi-racial identity from a teenager’s point of view is unique and powerful.
Naveah grew up in NYC with a Black mom and. a Jewish dad. When they split up and she moves to Harlem, she is forced to confront who she is and her biracial identity. She must learn to find her voice and discover who she is meant to be rather than who everyone wants her to be.
Even though this story is YA I think the story could have had a little bit more- I wanted more. This YA book written by a Black, Jewish writer has a unique perspective and is a must-read.
They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
At a prestigious private school in New England, a group of kids known as “The Players” rule the school. They get top grades, get into the best schools, and rule the social scene.
But when one of the girls in the group is murdered, her best friend Jill begins to investigate who the real murderer is and just how dark their privileged world really is. As books about secret societies go, this one will definitely make you think and is a must-read from mystery books.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I read this great LGBTQ book in only two days. It was such a great YA about Simon who is not openly gay and is looking for a way to tell his family.
He also must navigate the social complexities of high school. When his emails fall into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being exposed. I really liked this book. It was well-written and at its heart is a sweet romance.
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
This book was such an unexpected beauty for me. Books about the Holocaust are most often inherently extremely heavy. I love the way this book takes the story of Briar Rose (AKA Sleeping Beauty) and turns it into a story about the Holocaust.
It does not trivialize the atrocities of that time but rather, it makes the subject more approachable to a younger audience. Beautifully written and well done. When it comes to books by Jewish writers, anything Yolen writes about the Holocaust tops our list.