100 books like Search Out the Land

By Sheldon J. Godfrey, Judith C. Godfrey,

Here are 100 books that Search Out the Land fans have personally recommended if you like Search Out the Land. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Ever-Dying People?: Canada's Jews in Comparative Perspective

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love books written by multiple authors. Some of the greatness of this multi-author work comes from the fact that 28 different scholars have contributed to it, many of them working in pairs to create new insights they might not have been able to achieve alone.

Some chapters compare an aspect of Canadian Jewish life with that of another religious or ethnic minority in Canada (for example, Chinese, Muslims, and Métis). Other chapters compare an aspect of Canadian Jewish life with that of Jewish communities in other countries (including Australia, France, and the Former Soviet Union).

So, I reaped the benefit of learning about Canadian Jews through various comparative perspectives. I found virtually all of the essays in it to be stimulating, approachable, and punchy-short, so I didn’t feel compelled to read the whole thing cover to cover, uninterrupted by another book. I just went back to it, bit…

By Robert Brym (editor), Randal F. Schnoor (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ever-Dying People? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Demise by assimilation or antisemitism is often held to be the inevitable future of Jews in Canada and other diaspora countries. The Ever-Dying People? shows that the Jewish diaspora, while often held to be in decline, is influenced by a range of identifiable sociological and historical forces, some of which breathe life into Jewish communities, including Canada's.

Bringing together leading Canadian and international scholars, The Ever-Dying People? provides a landmark report on Canadian Jewry based on recent surveys, censuses, and other contemporary data sources from Canada and around the world. This collection compares Canada's Jews with other Canadian ethnic and…


Book cover of The New Spice Box: Contemporary Jewish Writing

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

This collection of Canadian Jewish fiction gave me 33 different short fiction, personal essays, and poetry windows into the hearts and minds, longings, fears, and dreams of Canadian Jews.

I can’t think of another volume that captures so much life at the intersection of Jewish literary vitality and Canadian content–understood liberally. I think I was most moved by David Bezmozgis’ and Isa Milman’s contributions.

By Ruth Panofsky (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Spice Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New Spice Box includes short fiction, personal essays, and poetry by Jewish writers from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. Fresh and relevant, profound and lasting, this anthology features works by acclaimed short story writers David Bezmozgis, Mireille Silcoff, and Ayelet Tsabari; groundbreaking memoirists Bernice Eisenstein and Alison Pick; and award-winning poets Isa Milman, Jacob Scheier, and Adam Sol.

The driving force behind The New Spice Box is the desire to uncover the twin touchstones of original expression and writerly craft, and to balance the representation of genres, styles, and authorial perspectives. Here, authors summon the past as they…


Book cover of Like Everyone Else but Different: The Paradoxical Success of Canadian Jews

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love this book’s sprawling effort to answer all sorts of basic questions about the living, vibrant Jews of Canada.

The book was so solid and sold so well when it originally came out with a trade publisher it was re-issued. It uses good social science and approachable theories.

I found it highly informative, intuitive, and curiosity-provoking. What’s more, it’s really funny. If you’re a Canadian Jew, you’ll learn something about yourself or some part of the Jewish world of which you’re a part of. And if you’re not both Canadian and Jewish, you’ll get a very good grounding in understanding the world’s fourth-largest Jewish community. 

By Morton Weinfeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Like Everyone Else but Different as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Liberal democratic societies with diverse populations generally offer minorities two usually contradictory objectives: the first is equal integration and participation; the second is an opportunity, within limits, to retain their culture. Yet Canadian Jews are successfully integrated into all domains of Canadian life, while at the same time they also seem able to retain their distinct identities by blending traditional religious values and rituals with contemporary cultural options. Like Everyone Else but Different illustrates how Canadian Jews have created a space within Canada's multicultural environment that paradoxically overcomes the potential dangers of assimilation and diversity. At the same time, this…


Book cover of Who Gets In: An Immigration Story

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

Ravvin has written excellent works of fiction and literary scholarship. His book is a masterful blend of two genres: family biography and social history.

I found this book to be so engrossing I could barely put it down. It traces the author’s grandfather’s dogged saga to emigrate from Poland to Canada, to find some mooring amidst the precarity of being a new immigrant, a foreigner, and a Jew, and to try desperately to bring over his wife during a time when Canada’s immigration gates were closing.

I love this book’s ability to seamlessly alternate between deep archives-based history (how did the immigration labyrinth actually work and why was it designed that way?) and personal/ancestral memoir (what was it like for one human–of existential consequence for the author–to navigate that labyrinth?).

It's a remarkable story of one immigrant crisscrossing the country in the era that immediately preceded the much more frequently…

By Norman Ravvin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Gets In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One man's immigration to the Canadian Prairies in the early 1930s reveals the character of Canada today as sharply as it did long ago. In 1930, a young Jewish man, Yehuda Eisenstein, arrived in Canada from Poland to escape persecution and in the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his young family. Like countless other young European men who came to Canada from "non-preferred" countries, Yehuda was only granted entry because he claimed to be single, starting his Canadian life with a lie. He trusted that his wife and children would be able to follow after he…


Book cover of Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America

Sylviane A. Diouf Author Of Slavery's Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons

From my list on runaways and Maroons in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a social historian of the African Diaspora. I am passionate about writing stories that have never been told. The stories I uncover detail the lives, struggles, and resistance of enslaved people. I am interested in and have written about such overlooked topics as African resistance to the transatlantic slave trade; Maroons in the American South; the experience of African Muslims enslaved throughout the Americas; and the lives of the people deported on the Clotilda, the last slave ship to the US. Much still needs to be unearthed to help form a more comprehensive history of the people who, in countless and remarkable ways, fought against their subjugation.

Sylviane's book list on runaways and Maroons in the Americas

Sylviane A. Diouf Why did Sylviane love this book?

By placing the American runaways’ experience in a continental perspective, this well-researched book brings a fresh outlook to the increasingly popular topic of runaways.

Besides the North and Canada, the contributors examine the motivations, lives, and networks of the people who looked for freedom in all directions. Taking their lives into their own hands, they found refuge in Southern cities, the Texas-Mexico borderlands, Mexico, which abolished slavery in 1829, Indian Country, and the Caribbean.

For each destination, the contributors study and evaluate the degree of freedom, formal, semiformal, and informal, which these self-liberated men and women were able to achieve.

By Damian Alan Pargas (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fugitive Slaves and Spaces of Freedom in North America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume introduces a new way to study the experiences of runaway slaves by defining different "spaces of freedom" they inhabited. It also provides a groundbreaking continental view of fugitive slave migration, moving beyond the usual regional or national approaches to explore locations in Canada, the U.S. North and South, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Using newspapers, advertisements, and new demographic data, contributors show how events like the Revolutionary War and westward expansion shaped the slave experience. Contributors investigate sites of formal freedom, where slavery was abolished and refugees were legally free, to determine the extent to which fugitive slaves experienced…


Book cover of The Art of Leaving: A Memoir

Zilka Joseph Author Of Sweet Malida: Memories of a Bene Israel Woman

From my list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in Mumbai, lived in Kolkata for most of my life, and am an educator and poet who lives in the US. I am a Bene Israel Jew from India. As a child, I was fascinated by all kinds of literature, mythology, folktales, and stories. I have been influenced by everything around me. My passion for literature probably inspired me to become a teacher and later a writer who is constantly exploring, creating, re-imagining, and evolving. My books are about the immigrant experience, displacement, racism, women’s issues, nature, the animal kingdom, to name a few. But within these themes, I also explore identity and belonging, death, loss and recovery. 

Zilka's book list on the Jewish immigrant experience and Bene Israel culture

Zilka Joseph Why did Zilka love this book?

Ayelet Tsabari’s stunning memoir is all about departure, wandering, displacement, identity, and belonging. As a Mizrahi, or non-European Jew, and a minority in Israeli society and culture, she establishes herself as a powerful voice for emigrants and minorities and speaks truth to power.

In the West, Ashkenazi Jewish culture dominates, and most people are ignorant of, and/or quite indifferent to, the myriad Jewish communities of the world and their complex and rich cultures. Her experiences in the Israeli army, her travels, her difficult relationships, her escape from trauma and pain as she enters into different worlds, and how she makes peace with herself. She focuses on those like herself on the margins of Israeli society and exposes the misogyny and discrimination she and other immigrants like herself experience on a daily basis.

Many of the aspects she writes about resonate deeply with me as an Indian immigrant in the US,…

By Ayelet Tsabari,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Leaving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimate memoir in essays by an award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief following the death of her father when she was a young girl

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

This searching collection opens with the death of Ayelet Tsabari’s father when she was just nine years old. His passing left her feeling rootless, devastated, and driven to question her complex identity as an Israeli of Yemeni descent in a country that suppressed and devalued her ancestors’ traditions.…


Book cover of France and England in North America

Jason Born Author Of Quaker's War

From my list on the war that made America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jason has written over twenty historical novels on topics ranging from the Roman Empire to the Islamic invasion of Spain and to the spread of the Viking Age into North America. His latest series, The Long Fuse, follows a young man as he navigates the deadly conflicts of the French & Indian War and the Revolutionary War in Eighteenth-Century America.

Jason's book list on the war that made America

Jason Born Why did Jason love this book?

When the deities dedicated to the history of the French and Indian War got together to recommend their own list of the best books on the war that made America, they made Francis Parkman’s multi-volume work required reading. And the good news is that even if they had not, it is worth diving into headfirst.

The French and Indian War is often overshadowed by the American and then French Revolutions that followed on its heels. Yet, neither of them would have ever happened without the completely lopsided British victory in the first. Parkman, writing in the Nineteenth Century, was among the first scholars to shed light on the immense impact wrought by the fight for control over North America in the 1750s. His work is massive as it digs into the very origins of both countries’ humble beginnings and rapid growth in the New World. But fear not! If his…

By Francis Parkman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked France and England in North America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Library of America volume, along with its companion, presents, for the first time in compact form, all seven titles of Francis Parkman’s monumental account of France and England’s imperial struggle for dominance on the North American continent. Deservedly compared as a literary achievement to Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Parkman’s accomplishment is hardly less awesome than the explorations and adventures he so vividly describes.

Pioneers of France in the New World (1865) begins with the early and tragic settlement of the French Huguenots in Florida, then shifts to the northern reaches of the continent and…


Book cover of The Old American

Tim Weed Author Of Will Poole's Island

From my list on Early Colonial New England.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many of my English ancestors came to New England during the so-called Great Migration of the 1630s. I also have Native American ancestors, and as I researched both groups I couldn’t escape the feeling that something important was missing from our contemporary understanding of the period. In the novel that became Will Poole’s Island, I was in a sense driven to recreate the age, or at least to complicate our received mythologies about it. A central theme of the book is the collision of two radically opposed worldviews that had in common a preoccupation with the visionary and the unseen; this is also a theme of the five narratives described below.

Tim's book list on Early Colonial New England

Tim Weed Why did Tim love this book?

This novel, published in 2000 by the University Press of New England, has in my opinion never gained the readership it deserves. It’s a rich, funny, deeply humane captivity tale based on the true story of Nathan Blake, who was taken by Algonkian-speaking people from his home in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1746, and brought up to Canada, where he was held for three years as a slave. The novel weaves a defamiliarized but extremely plausible-feeling tapestry of early colonial America that complicates the stereotypes established by Cooper’s influential novel set in the same period, and Hebert’s main character, Caucus-Meteor—an elderly, multilingual Indian and the last survivor of his band—is by my lights one of the great characters in literature.

By Ernest Hebert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Old American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1746, Nathan Blake, the first frame house builder in Keene, New Hampshire, was abducted by Algonkians and held in Canada as a slave. Inspired by this dramatic slice of history, novelist Ernest Hebert has written a masterful new novel recreating those years of captivity.

Set in New England and Canada during the French and Indian Wars, The Old American is driven by its complex, vividly imagined title character, Caucus-Meteor. By turns shrewd and embittered, ambitious and despairing, inspired and tormented, he is the self-styled"king" of the remnants of the first native tribes that encountered the English. Displaced and ravaged…


Book cover of Habitat

Sophie Goldstein Author Of The Oven

From my list on for speculative fiction lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a compulsive reader and writer of speculative fiction, in love with the genre’s capacity to extrapolate our present social, economic and technological into horrifying/astonishing futures. That being said, I need strong writing and compelling characters to pull me into a world and make it feel lived in and real. It’s this kind of emotional realism that I seek out as a reader and try to create as an author.

Sophie's book list on for speculative fiction lovers

Sophie Goldstein Why did Sophie love this book?

A generational ship fallen to ruin and tribalism? Sign me up! Roy spares no effort in bringing to life his vivid, action-packed book. The fun here is less the characters than the world-building and how artfully the past is revealed plot-point by plot-point like a delicious sci-fi strip-tease. Plus, Roy drew the shit out of this book.

By Roy Simon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Habitat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

All his life, Hank Cho wanted to join the ranks of the Habsec - the rulers of the orbital habitat his people call home. But when he finds a powerful, forbidden weapon from the deep past, a single moment of violence sets his life - and the brutal society of the habitat - into upheaval. Hunted by the cannibalistic Habsec and sheltered by former enemies, Cho finds himself caught within a civil war that threatens to destroy his world.

A new barbarian sci-fi adventure from SIMON ROY (Prophet, Jan's Atomic Heart, Tiger Lung). Collecting installments originally serialized in ISLAND MAGAZINE…


Book cover of The Game

Jason Wilson and Richard M. Reid Author Of Famous for a Time: Forgotten Giants of Canadian Sport

From my list on the impact of sport on social history.

Why are we passionate about this?

Between the two of us, we have written over a dozen books and won numerous prizes. Wilson, when not writing critically-acclaimed music or explaining how to catch a haggis, has received the Ontario Historical Association’s Joseph Brant Award for King Alpha’s Song in a Strange Land. Reid, who wisely passed up the chance of a law career in order to play an extra year of soccer, received the C. P. Stacey Award for African Canadians in Union Blue. Both writers believe that sports offer a valuable lens by which to examine a society’s core values.

Jason's book list on the impact of sport on social history

Jason Wilson and Richard M. Reid Why did Jason love this book?

Ken Dryden is a lawyer, a politician, and a gifted writer. He also happens to be one of the most important goaltenders in Canadian hockey history.

Armed with such lived experience and trained in a variety of disciplines as he has been, Dryden provided hockey with its central and perhaps most enduring literary work. Unlike some of our other choices, The Game is less about larger socio-cultural trends (though there is some of this, especially when he recounts his crucial role in the famous Summit Series against the Soviets in 1972), but rather more about the inner dynamics of a team and what it means to win or lose together in professional sport.

Dryden’s work is, yes, historical, but also highly philosophical; his unique position in goal gave him an ice-level perspective that few enjoy (his iconic stance, gloves atop stick, ever-observing play at the opposite end has already…

By Ken Dryden,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. He gives vivid and affectionate portraits of the characters—Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and coach Scotty Bowman among them—who made the Canadiens of the 1970s one of the greatest hockey…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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