Book Club: FAQ

When is the registration deadline?
The registration deadline is Sunday, December 16.

Are the books in English or in Yiddish?
All books will be in English and are translations from the original Yiddish.

What does it cost to join the Great Jewish Books Book Club?
You'll pay $78 for a yearlong membership in the Book Club, which will cover the cost of four books, including shipping within the US. You'll also receive resource materials from the Yiddish Book Center to enrich your reading experience and be invited to participate in online discussions about the works.

When does registration occur and when do the books ship?
Registration takes place in the fall for the following calendar year. Registration for 2019 will be from October 16 through December 16, 2018. Books will ship in January 2019 and the reading period will be from February 4 through December 31, 2019. Domestic Book Club members will receive a book every three months or so. International Book Club members will receive one or two shipments, depending on when new publications become available. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, please e-mail [email protected] and we will make sure to add you to our mailing list.

What will I read as a Book Club member?
You'll read four books—a selection that may include novels, memoirs, short stories, essays, and poetry—over the course of the year. The titles are carefully chosen by Yiddish Book Center staff members, who look for excellent, fascinating, and challenging books in the modern Jewish literary tradition that belong on the shelf of any serious reader.  All books will be in English and are translations from the original Yiddish.

We are not announcing all four titles in advance so that we may be flexible in our selections and include new releases that may come out during the course of the year. We hope that Book Club members will feel confident that we are putting together a meaningful, thoughtful selection of books—and that you’ll enjoy the surprise of discovering the next title when it arrives in the mail.     

That being said, if you must know what titles we have planned in order to register, please be in touch with us at [email protected] and we'll let you in on the secret. We just ask that you bear in mind that the selections may change and ask that you not tell others as we would like to preserve the surprise for those who want it! 

Each year, a new selection of four books will be chosen. 

How will I discuss the books with other Book Club members?
You will be invited to join a private, members-only Facebook group, where you can take part in in-depth, real-time conversations with other members and Yiddish Book Center staff. You'll also be invited to join a video conference per book led by a scholar or translator who can provide helpful context and insight into the selection. 

  • Please note: If you do not already have a Facebook account, you will need to create one (for free) to participate in the online discussions.

We chose Facebook as the forum for these discussions because it is a popular online platform and many people already have accounts, but we understand that not everyone uses or likes it. You can certainly join the Book Club without taking part in the Facebook discussion (there will be other ways to participate, including through the video conferences, which do not require Facebook). To get the full experience of being a Book Club member, however, we hope you will join us on Facebook. (And remember: you can create an account for the sole purpose of participating in the Book Club and set high privacy settings.)

My book group would like to join the Book Club together. Can we do that?
Absolutely! And if a book group of twelve or more members signs up, we'll arrange a special video conference for the group with a Yiddish Book Center staff member. If a group of forty or more members (a synagogue, community center, etc.) signs up together, we'll help coordinate a discussion group for each book.

What if I already own one of the books?
Substitutions are not available. If you already own one (or more) of these important books, we hope you'll pass the second copy along to a friend.

Can I read the books in the original language?
Absolutely—and you can find many of the works in the original Yiddish in our Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library, where you can read and download them at no charge. (To participate in the discussions and receive resource materials, however, you must join the Book Club and receive the English translations of the books.)

Can you ship the books internationally? 
Yes—we'll let you know what the additional international shipping charge will be. 

How can I get my additional questions answered?
Please contact us at [email protected] or at 413.256.4900, ext. 131, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.