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Article in Themes and Reading Activities categories.

JMRL's Same Page Community Read is a community reading program to promote and discuss one book throughout March 2018 by an author featured at the Virginia Festival of the Book. JMRL invites all book lovers in Central Virginia to join this reading initiative. Read and discuss What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander and participate in programs about the book, its themes, and its author. The author will be at JMRL's Northside Library on March 22nd at 6pm, and this event will be free and open to the public.

We've selected a list of books, movies, and music in the JMRL collection that will inspire further exploration and enhance your reading. Find more resources and discussion questions for this book in []. Find information on programs, contests and more by visiting JMRL's Same Page.

About the Author

Nathan Englander is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter. His most recent book is the novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth. In addition to this year's Same Page selection, he is the author of the internationally bestselling story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and the novel The Ministry of Special Cases. He was the 2012 recipient of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for What We Talk About. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Washington Post, as well as The O. Henry Prize Stories and numerous editions of The Best American Short Stories, including 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. Translated into 20 languages, Englander was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He’s been a fellow at the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and at The American Academy of Berlin. In 2012, along with the publication of his new collection, Englander's play The Twenty-Seventh Man premiered at The Public Theater, and his translation New American Haggadah (edited by Jonathan Safran Foer) was published by Little Brown. He also co-translated Etgar Keret's Suddenly A Knock on the Door, published by FSG.

Read Englander's biography on his webpage.

Read an article by the author "What Jewish Children Learned from Charlottesville" from the NY Times

Listen to CBC Radio Interview with Nathan Englander

Read NPR's interview with Nathan Englander about his new novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth.

Works by Nathan Englander

Related Reading - Fiction

This list of adult fiction related reading includes short story masters, and themes of Jewish-American, Israel and trusting neighbors.

  • F Carver, Raymond
What We Talk about when We Talk about Love: Stories by Raymond Carver
Short stories that feature a pantheon of losers, peripheral people, and men and women without education, insight, or prospects who, ironically, are too unimaginative to ever give up.
  • F Auslander
Hope: A Tragedy, a novel by Shalom Auslander*
  • F Grossman
To the End of the Land, by David Grossman
  • F McBride
Five Carat Soul, by James McBride
  • F Eugenides
Fresh Complaint, new short stories by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • F Yoon
The Mountain, new short stories by Paul Yoon
  • F Singer
Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • GN F Modan
The Property (graphic novel), by Rutu Modan
  • F Rothman-Zecher
Sadness is a White Bird, by Moriel Rothman-Zecher
  • F Horn
Eternal Life, by Dara Horn
A Mother in Roman Jerusalem makes a spiritual bargain to save her dying infant's life- She then lives for 2,000 years. Includes "historical detail (of Jewish history) and down to earth humor" and "thoughtful meditation on the meaning of life."
  • F Nevo
Three Floors Up, by Eshkol Nevo
Reviewed in NYT, indicates many similar themes (parenthood neighbors, humor & cutting commentary together), in a modern Israeli context.
  • F Namdar
Ruined House by Ruby Namdar
Andrew P. Cohen, a successful NYU professor of comparative culture, is suddenly plagued with strange and inexplicable visions of an ancient religious ritual. As his superficially perfect world begins to unravel, he is forced to question his beliefs. Interspersed throughout the novel are pages from an ancient (pseudo) Talmudic text, harking back to the golden age of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hidden in this frenzied, semi-opaque other narrative lies the mysterious key to understanding the drama of Andrew's life.

Related Reading - Nonfiction

  • 92 Angelou, Maya
This focus on the larger-than-life mother of Maya Angelou, and the relationship they shared, highlights the complicated relationship between mother and daughter.
  • 92 Frank, Anne
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • 248.246 Winner
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner
  • GN92 Kurzweil, Amy
Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir by Amy Kurzweil
  • GN956.94 Glidden, Sarah
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden
  • 92 Feldman, Deborah
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
  • 92 Feldman, Deborah
Exodus: A Memoir by Deborah Feldman
  • GN956.94 Sacco, Joe
Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco
  • 956.9405 Kingdom
Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation
  • 641.5676 Community
The Community Table: Recipes and Stories from the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and Beyond by JCC Manhattan
  • 641.5676 Ottolenghi
Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi
  • 641.5676 Nathan
King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking From Around the World by Joan Nathan
  • 940.5318 Finkel
Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival During the Holocaust by Evgeny Finkel
  • 92 Mirvis, Tova
The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis
  • 809.798 Dauber
Jewish Comedy: A Serious History by Jeremy Dauber
  • Corporon, Yvette Manessis
Something Beautiful Happened: A Story of Survival and Courage in the Face of Evil by Yvette Manessis Corporon
  • Gruen, Judy
The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in Love with Faith by Judy Gruen (counterposes with memoirs like Deborah Feldman's "Unorthodox")
  • Petrowskaja, Katja
Maybe Esther: A Family Story by Katja Petrowskaja
  • (1/2018) A woman traces family members in eastern Europe, meditations on how history affects a family, how to tell stories when you don't know what happened; family members went underground or were killed by Nazis.
  • Ripp, Victor
Hell's Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-five Holocaust Memorials by Victor Ripp
  • In addition to Holocaust remembrance, this one is interesting because it talks about how public memorials/monuments can be made political- relation to local statue talks? (12/2017)
  • 92 Murad
The Last Girl, by Nadia Murad
  • The NYTBR headlines their review of this "replaying the Holocaust in the Middle East" -it tells the story of a woman escaping capture by IS agents in Iraq with the help of a Sunni man, whose life and family then become targets- plays directly into the question of how far someone will go to help hide/rescue someone else- seems like it would make for very good, timely discussion
  • Rees, Laurence
The Holocaust: A New History, by Laurence Rees (shortlisted for the JQ Wingate Prize)

Movies and Music

Movies and music with themes of Contemporary Israel, Jewish Americans, anti-semitism, trusting neighbors, Holocaust, bullies, family stories, self-defense/bullies.


  • CD Jewish
'Putumayo: A Jewish Celebration'
'Jewish Music of the Dance'


  • DVD Big
Big Fish- family stories; main character is trying to get to the truth
  • DVD Everything
Everything is Illuminated
  • DVD Zookeeper's
The Zookeeper's Wife
  • DVD Schindler's
Schindler's List
  • DVD Munich
  • DVD Karate
Karate Kid- kid learns self-defense to fight a bully
  • DVD Wedding
The Wedding Plan
  • DVD Sarah's
Sarah's Key
  • DVD Birdman
'Birdman (the main character is starting in a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's short story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love")'
  • DVD Band's
The Band's Visit- Film Movement'
  • DVD Campfire
'Campfire- Film Movement- ("A beautiful little story about growing up, finding love, and letting go of past losses. Effortlessly and almost invisibly entwined within the context of Israeli settlements and youth group movements")'
  • Everything Must Go - based on a different Raymond Carver story than the title story pays homage to, but similar in feel and theme.
  • Miracle at Midnight*- Danes (Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow) help Jewish neighbors escape Nazis.
  • Anne Frank*- 2001 biopic with Ben Kingsley, 240 minutes
  • Unsettled Land
  • Lemon Tree (In Hebrew)
  • The Other Son- "the moving and provocative tale of two young men- one Israeli, the other Palestinian, who discover they were accidentally switched at birth, and the complex repercussions facing them and their respective families." (In French)

Books for Teens


Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Discussed by tween book groups at the Greene County Library, Central Library, Crozet Library, Gordon Avenue Library, and Louisa County Library

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Discussed by teen book groups at Central Library, Crozet Library, and Greene County Library



  • YA Arnold, David
When she learns that her mother is sick in Ohio, Mim confronts her demons on a thousand-mile odyssey from Mississippi that redefines her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane
  • YA Hesse
Girl in the Blue Coat, by Monica Hesse
  • YA Lanagan
The Brides of Rollrock Island, by Margo Lanagan
  • YA Nye
Habibi, by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • J McKay
Enemy Territory, by Sharon McKay


  • 92 Barakat
Tasting the Sky, by Ibtisam Barakat
  • 92 Barakat
Balcony on the Moon, by Ibtisam Barakat

956.04 Hampton

War in the Middle East: A Reporter's Story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War, by Wilborn Hampton

Books for Youth

Children's Book Club Selections

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford

Discussed by Book Bugs at Northside Library

Mama Africa! by Kathryn Erskine

Discussed by Page Turners at Crozet Library


  • J Frank
Armstrong and Charlie, by Steven B. Frank
  • JP Simon
Oskar and the Eight Blessings, by Richard Simon
  • J Cerrito
The Safest Lie, by Angela Cerrito
  • JP Elvgren
The Whispering Town, by Jennifer Elvgren
  • JP Kushner
Brundibar, by Tony Kushner

J Dauvillier

Hidden, by Loic Dauvillier (graphic novel)
  • J Deutsch
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch (graphic novel)
  • J Flying
Flying Lessons and Other Stories, by Ellen Oh
  • J Fleming
The Goat, by Anne Fleming
  • J Wiviott
Benno and the Night of Broken Glass, by Meg Wiviott
Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam, by Fawzia Gilani-Williams


  • JP 306.85 Hoffman, Mary
This treasury of stories features diverse families and how they live together.
  • J 940.5318 Ruelle

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust, by Karen Gray Ruelle