Holiday Hours Reminder: The JCCSF Fitness Center will be open 5:30 am – 6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 4 for Yom Kippur Eve and closed all day on Wednesday, October 5 for Yom Kippur.

Book Club

Ages 18+

Looking for your next great read? Join our book groups and get in on thought-provoking discussion in the warm company of the JCCSF community.

  • Arts & Ideas
woman reading book

Together, we love sharing ideas — so come ready for eye-opening conversations. Book genres and topics vary. All will strengthen your sense of togetherness with others in the JCCSF community in a social and relaxed setting.

 

Afternoon Book Group

We’re excited to re-start our afternoon book club! The afternoon book group met for over ten years and was on hiatus during the pandemic, but we’re back! The group will continue to read a variety of fiction and nonfiction books chosen by the members.

Interested? Please connect with Shiva Schulz, Director of Lifelong Learning, at sschulz@jccsf.org or call 415-292-1260 to get on the list to join.  

2nd Wednesday of the month unless noted • 2:45 – 4:15 pm at JCCSF.

AUGUST 10: HONOR, by THRITY UMRIGAR

Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena—a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man—Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves: Smita realizes she has the freedom to enter into a casual affair, knowing she can decide later how much it means to her. 

SEPTEMBER 14: WOMAN ON FIRE, by LISA BARR

After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual—and very secret—assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying. Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet the passionate and determined Jules has unexpected resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and brilliant artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches. He knows how ruthless she is, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux gets to it first. 

OCTOBER 12: THE POWER OF THE DOG, by THOMAS SAVAGE

Set in the wide-open spaces of the American West, The Power of the Dog is a stunning story of domestic tyranny, brutal masculinity, and thrilling defiance from one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in American literature. The novel tells the story of two brothers–one magnetic but cruel, the other gentle and quiet–and of the woman and boy, a mother and son, whose arrival on the brothers’ ranch shatters an already tenuous peace. From the novel’s startling first paragraph to its very last word, Thomas Savage’s voice–and the intense passion of his characters–holds readers in thrall. 

NOVEMBER 16: OH WILLIAM!, by ELIZABETH STROUT

Strout’s iconic heroine Lucy Barton recounts her complex, tender relationship with William, her first husband and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidant. Lucy is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret–one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. 

DECEMBER 14: GREY BEES, by ANDREY KURKOV

Sergey Sergeich, a 49-year-old safety inspector-turned-beekeeper, wants little more than to help his bees collect their pollen in peace. But Sergey lives in Ukraine, where a lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda has been dragging on for years. His simple mission on behalf of his bees leads him through some the hottest spots of the ongoing conflict, putting him in contact with combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers, and Crimean Tatars. Grey Bees is as timely as the author’s Ukraine Diaries were in 2014 but treats the unfolding crisis in a more imaginative way, with a pinch of Kurkov’s signature humor. Who better than Ukraine’s most famous novelist – who writes in Russian – to illuminate and present a balanced portrait of this most bewildering of modern conflicts? 

Evening Book Group

3rd Tuesday of the month unless noted • 7:30 – 8:30 pm

The Evening Book Club is now meeting on Zoom. To join the Evening Book Group, please contact Shiva Schulz at sschulz@jccsf.org.

AUGUST 16: AN OFFICER AND A SPY BY ROBERT HARRIS

A whistle-blower. A witch hunt. A cover-up. Secret tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, and government corruption. Welcome to 1890s Paris. Alfred Dreyfus has been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment on a far-off island, and publicly stripped of his rank. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, an ambitious military officer who believes in Dreyfus’s guilt as staunchly as any member of the public. But when he is promoted to head of the French counter-espionage agency, Picquart finds evidence that a spy still remains at large in the military—indicating that Dreyfus is innocent. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.

SEPTEMBER 20: THE NAKANO THRIFT SHOP BY HIROMI KAWAKAMI

Among the jumble of paperweights, plates, typewriters and general bric-a-brac in Mr. Nakano’s thrift store, there are treasures to be found. Each piece carries its own story of love and loss – or so it seems to Hitomi, when she takes a job there working behind the till. Nor are her fellow employees any less curious or weatherworn than the items they sell. There’s the store’s owner, Mr. Nakano, an enigmatic ladies’ man with several ex-wives; Sakiko, his sensuous, unreadable lover; his sister, Masayo, an artist whose free-spirited creations mask hidden sorrows. And finally, there’s Hitomi’s fellow employee, Takeo, whose abrupt and taciturn manner Hitomi finds, to her consternation, increasingly disarming. A beguiling story of love found amid odds and ends, The Nakano Thrift Shop is a heart-warming and utterly charming novel from one of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary novelist.

OCTOBER 18: NIGHT WATCHMAN BY LOUISE ERDICH

Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”? Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence and endangers her life. Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.

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