Inspired by a current events, the Desmond-Fish Public Library’s Community Read is a place to read and discuss works of literature of special contemporary relevance in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. On each occasion, we will read one book of particular note, and discuss it both as a work of literature and as a text of relevance to contemporary social conflict. This month, we are reading People Love Dead Jews by the novelist and essayist Dara Horn.
From the publisher: “A startling exploration of how Jewish history is exploited to comfort the living. Reflecting on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the blockbuster travelling exhibition called “Auschwitz,” the Jewish history of the Chinese city of Harbin, and the little known “righteous-gentile” Varian Fry, Dara Horn challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, as emblematic of the worst of evils the world has to offer, and so little respect for Jewish lives, as they continue to unfold in the present. Horn draws upon her own family life — trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious 10-year-old, her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school in New Jersey, the profound and essential perspective offered by traditional religious practice, prayer, and study — to assert the vitality, complexity and depth of this life against an anti-Semitism that, far from being disarmed by the mantra of “Never forget,” is on the rise.”
Participation is available to all patrons aged sixteen and older. All skill levels and points of view are welcome. Please note: the Mid-Hudson Library System has a small number of copies of People Love Dead Jews, which may not always be available. If you would like to purchase a copy, visit Split Rock Books or other book shops to purchase the title.
The book group is run by Digital Services Librarian Ryan Biracree. In addition to librarianship, Ryan has taught literature at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Mount Saint Mary College, SUNY College of Staten Island, and Sarah Lawrence College, and served as archivist for the Academy of American Poets.