The Fortune Teller’s Wife is the Jefferson Book Club’s September Selection

The winning book for the Jefferson Book Club’s September 13th discussion (12:00 in 200b Scott) is The Fortune Teller’s Kiss by Brenda Serotte.

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Dues are zero dollars. The JBC is open to all students, faculty, and staff of the Jefferson community. The purpose of the Jefferson Book Club is to bring together students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds to share their ideas about current works of literature. The club reads a new book every other month, and the books are chosen democratically by club members. The discussion is led by whomever nominated the winning book.

Here are some comments from current members on why they value the JBC:

All the usual values of a book club with the plus of meeting members of the TJU community with whom I might not usually interact and the convenience of location.

It gives me a fresh perspective of Jefferson and allows me to get involved on a deeper more intellectual level.

I read books that I don’t necessarily read otherwise. I enjoy the discussion and meeting people from Jefferson who share an interest in reading and discussing the book club selection.

The book: The Fortune Teller’s Kiss by Brenda Serotte

From the publisher’s description:

There was always the incantation: “Whoever wishes you harm, may harm come to them!” And just in case that didn’t work, there were garlic and cloves to repel the Evil Eye—or, better yet, the dried foreskin from a baby boy’s circumcision, ground to a fine powder. But whatever precautions Brenda Serotte was subjected to, they were not enough. Shortly before her eighth birthday, in the fall of 1954, she came down with polio—painfully singled out in a world already marked by differences. Her bout with the dreaded disease is at the heart of this poignant and heartbreakingly hilarious memoir of growing up a Sephardic Jew among Ashkenazi neighbors in the Bronx.

This was a world of belly dancers and fortune tellers, shelter drills and vast quantities of Mediterranean food; a world of staunchly joined and endlessly contrary aunts and uncles, all drawn here in loving, merciless detail. The Fortune Teller’s Kiss is a heartfelt tribute to a disappearing culture and a paean to the author’s truly quirky clan, especially her beloved champion, her father. It is also a deft and intimate cultural history of the Bronx fifty years ago and of its middle-class inhabitants, their attitudes toward contagious illness, womanly beauty, poverty, and belonging.

The Meeting

Join your colleagues for the next Jefferson Book Club discussion on
Thursday, September 13th from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in room 200b Scott

All students, faculty, and staff welcome.
Lunch will be provided.
Copies will be available from Jefferson Bookstore at a 15% discount and at Scott Library.
Please RSVP to

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