100 books like The New Spice Box

By Ruth Panofsky (editor),

Here are 100 books that The New Spice Box fans have personally recommended if you like The New Spice Box. 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 Search Out the Land: The Jews and the Growth of Equality in British Colonial America, 1740-1867

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 choc-a-block presentation of actual archival fragments from Jewish life in the British colonies that would eventually become Canada.

I also like that the book’s husband-wife, antiquarian, author team aimed to fuse together two objectives in one book: on the one hand, to paint a relatable picture of what Jewish life looked like during this period when Upper Canada was still being formed, and on the other hand, to account for the step-by-step process of Jews gaining civil rights in the new world.

When I teach Canadian Jewish history, I not only read this book with my students but also bring them into the archives that contain Godfrey’s trove of archival fragments of early Jewish Canadiana, which they collected before and while writing the book.

By Sheldon J. Godfrey, Judith C. Godfrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Search Out the Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mapping the history of Canadian Jews from the arrival of the first settlers before 1750 through to the 1860s, Search Out the Land introduces a new set of colourful players on Canada's stage. Ezekiel Solomons, John Franks, Jacob Franks, Chapman Abraham, Rachel Myers, Moses David, Samuel Hart, Elizabeth Lyons, and a host of others now take their appropriate place in Canadian history. Focusing on the significant role played by Jews in British North America in the fight for civil and political rights, the authors compare the development of Canadians' rights with that in other British jurisdictions of the time and…


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 The Back of the Turtle

Shane Joseph Author Of Empire in the Sand

From my list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” I also spent over thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to many situations reminiscent of those described in my fiction and in these recommended books. While I support enterprise, “enlightened capitalism” is preferable to the bare-knuckle type we have today, and which seems to resurface whenever regulation weakens. I also find writing novels closer to my lived experience connects me intimately with readers who are looking for socio-political, realist literature.

Shane's book list on exposing corporate, political, and personal corruption

Shane Joseph Why did Shane love this book?

A scientist discovers that his invention, a defoliant, has contributed to exterminating an entire native reserve in British Columbia, causing the birds and turtles to leave. The battle is on between nature and science to restore the balance. But all is not well in the corporation, for the scientist’s boss has become a shopaholic to compensate for his lonely life and wonders why his wife wants to divorce him. The characters are enjoyable, the action circular, and our current political considerations are tackled in a non-didactic fashion. And the human spirit triumphs despite the chemical overload! Throughout the novel, King makes searing one-liners about unbridled capitalism: “capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.”

By Thomas King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction!

This is Thomas King's first literary novel in 15 years and follows on the success of the award-winning and best-selling The Inconvenient Indian and his beloved Green Grass, Running Water and Truth and Bright Water, both of which continue to be taught in Canadian schools and universities. Green Grass, Running Water is widely considered a contemporary Canadian classic.

In The Back of the Turtle, Gabriel returns to Smoke River, the reserve where his mother grew up and to which she returned with Gabriel's sister. The reserve is deserted after an…


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 The Centaur's Wife

Alice Kuipers Author Of Always Smile: Carley Allison's Secrets for Laughing, Loving and Living

From my list on explore brilliant writing from Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I moved to Canada because I fell wildly in love eighteen years ago. It wasn’t Canada I loved, but a man, and it’s taken me years to get over my homesickness for the country of my birth. I've found as I’ve grown older that the stories of this place have given me a sense of home and belonging—perhaps that’s why so many of the books I’ve recommended are about identity and what it means to the authors. I’m lucky enough to share my favourite books every month on CTV here in Saskatoon, and I focus almost exclusively on Canadian and local books. I hope you love these books as much as I do!

Alice's book list on explore brilliant writing from Canada

Alice Kuipers Why did Alice love this book?

Not-so-secretly I wish I lived in a fairy story (maybe other writers feel like this too?) This novel is a fairy story for adults in the bravest and most beautiful way. The book begins with a meteor shower and features a real centaur and a love story at its heart that spirals out and impacts the survivors of the end of the world. At least, it’s the end of one world. The characters in The Centaur’s Wife are vivid and true, and the gorgeous, strange story lingers with me all the time, reminding me to be braver on the page and in the world.

By Amanda Leduc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Centaur's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amanda Leduc's brilliant new novel, woven with fairy tales of her own devising and replete with both catastrophe and magic, is a vision of what happens when we ignore the natural world and the darker parts of our own natures.

Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived.

But the mountain that looms over…


Book cover of The Edge

Stephen Allten Brown Author Of Stealing Picasso

From my list on taking you to unexpected places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved history and art. Combining the two makes perfect sense and provides the inspiration to keep writing. I can spend hours in a museum, just soaking up the magic in Impressionist paintings. I never get tired of researching the artists or their paintings, and I relish the unexpected discoveries. 

Stephen's book list on taking you to unexpected places

Stephen Allten Brown Why did Stephen love this book?

I love the way there is a mystery within a mystery. A group of actors is staging a play for the benefit of the passengers on a transcontinental train trip across Canada. The protagonist, who is undercover and posing as a waiter, befriends the lead actor and takes a page out of Hamlet, using the play to pressure the villain into making a mistake and incriminating himself. Accurate details about working as a waiter lend a sense of ‘David versus Goliath’ to the storyline.

By Dick Francis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Edge

To the Jockey Club, the racing world would be a better place without Julius Apollo Filmer. An expert in corruption with a devastating line in witness intimidation - and proving to be a slippery character to put behind bars.

Baffled, they call in undercover security agent Tor Kelsey to keep an unflinching eye on Filmer and his associates. A mission that takes him from the finest of English racecourses to the wild Canadian interior - on a luxury transcontinental train journey to end them all.

On board, a troupe of actors are playing out a murder mystery for…


Book cover of Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada

Morgan Wade Author Of Bottle and Glass

From my list on frontier life in 19th century Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2001 I was amazed to find how this city, unlike many North American cities, has preserved and celebrated its past. It’s in the architecture, the streets, the fabric, and the soil. As someone with a deep love of reading and exploring history, I immediately began to research my new home. I didn’t discover the sort of bloodless accounts often taught in school, replete with dates and facts. This history simmers and boils; full of tales of pirates and officers, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells, countless plucky frontiersmen and women. There is enough raw material for a thousand novels. 

Morgan's book list on frontier life in 19th century Canada

Morgan Wade Why did Morgan love this book?

The gold standard source for what life was like for the hardy souls arriving in Upper Canada in the early 19th century. Although writing from a position of relative privilege, Moodie writes of hardships and deprivations that make the modern reader blanch. We wonder whether we could have survived what she and her family endure.  She writes with richness and great humanity so that we can vividly imagine what it must have been like for her to be taken from the relatively comfortable life she’d known and to make a life in the bush.  Despite her trials and tribulations, she comes to have a great love for the beauty and wildness of her adopted home.

By Susanna Moodie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of Rilla of Ingleside

Jeanie Nicholson Author Of Gone to the Dogs

From my list on people who love dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about dogs. Besides being a novelist, I write and blog about dogs for a living. Save a few grief-filled months here and there, there’s never been a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one dog, each one just as special and beloved as the last. My current special beloved is a German shepherd named Dixie, a big, goofy girl who loves belly rubs and tug-of-war almost as much as food and cuddles. Dogs also make the stakes feel higher when there’s an element of danger involved. Sure, go ahead, kill off the main character. Just don’t harm the dog and everything will be fine.

Jeanie's book list on people who love dogs

Jeanie Nicholson Why did Jeanie love this book?

The last book in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables series, this volume focuses on Anne’s children as they grow into adulthood during the tumultuous years of World War I.

With Anne’s youngest daughter Rilla as the central protagonist, Rilla of Ingleside is the poignant story of a young woman coming of age at a time when people thought the world might be coming to an end.

Rilla grows from a spoiled and flighty young teen to a capable and level-headed young woman as she watches the young men in her community – her brothers included – march off to war.

While it’s not central to the story, a highlight of this book is Dog Monday, the little yellow dog belonging to Rilla’s eldest brother, whose loyalty as he patiently waits at the train station for his master’s return knows no bounds.

Although it’s the final book in…

By L. M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rilla of Ingleside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

It's 1914 and the world is on the brink of war. But at almost fifteen, Anne and Gilbert's youngest daughter, Rilla, dreams only of her first dance and getting her first kiss from the dashing Kenneth Ford. Soon, however, even far-off Ingleside is engulfed by Europe's raging conflict, as Rilla's brothers Jem and Walter both enlist, and Rilla finds herself caring for an orphaned newborn.
   As the conflict spreads, the Blythes wait anxiously for word of their absent sons, and a bad omen leads them to conclude that something terrible has happened overseas. Have Jem and Walter been lost, like…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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