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2021-2022 AUTHOR LECTURE SERIES

The 2021-22 People of the Book Author Lecture Series offers a dazzling array of author events.

This year, 21 authors present at 20 events.

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NOTICE

Zoom and Advanced In-Person ticket sales close at 3pm on the day of the event.

In-Person tickets are available at the door.

DATES,
AUTHORS & BOOKS

Scroll the listings of authors, dates, and descriptions below; or, click the button below to download the People of the Book program guide for a more detailed description of the entire scope of this year's People of the Book program, and a handy order form you can print out.

 

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QUESTIONS? 

For more information on the People of the Book Author Series, please contact
Jeremy Lisitza at jlisitza@jfedsrq.org or 941.343.2113

AUTHOR QUICK LINKS

 

IN-PERSON EVENTS

 

Cohen

Jay

Barry

 

Federman

Heinz

Newman

 

Roizen

Rosen

Shapiro

 

Walder

Zweibel

 

 


 

ZOOM EVENTS

 

Beanland

Biro

Ellis

 

Freeman

Garrett

Gould

 

Jenoff

Leder

McAuley

 

Scottline

BY MONTH QUICK LINKS

October

November

 

December

January

 

February

March

 

April

May

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PEOPLE OF THE BOOK AUTHOR SERIES

Click the author's photo to be directed to their website.
Click on their book to access its Jewish Book Club write-up and purchase button.

Tuesday,
October 12, 2021

7:00 PM

 

JOSHUA JAY

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE BETH ISRAEL

 

There’s a saying: The door to magic is closed, but it's not locked. In How Magicians Think, professional magician and bestselling author Joshua Jay not only opens that door, he brings us inside and turns on the light, revealing the artistry, inside history and fascinating traditions of a subject long 

shrouded in mystery. Above all, he reveals the mindset behind the magic—what it's like to practice an art that so many love, yet so few understand. This is not a how-to book, nor a how-do-they-do-it expose. Written as a series of short, lively essays, How Magicians Think describes the making of illusions, the psychology behind them and the characters who create them. Joshua writes about how technology influences the world of magic; his contemporaries; and how magicians hone their craft. Compelling, thoughtful and written by an insider, How Magicians Think is a rare excursion into a truly secret world.

Joshua Jay has performed on stages in more than 100 countries. He is a headliner at Hollywood's Magic Castle and a former World Champion in Sleight-of-Hand. He has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with James Corden, he fooled Penn & Teller on their hit show, Fool Us, and he starred in his own off-Broadway magic show, Six Impossible Things.

Tuesday,

October 19, 2021
7:00 PM

 

STEVE LEDER 

VIA ZOOM

 

As the senior rabbi of one of the largest synagogues in the world, Steve Leder has learned the many ways death teaches us how to live and love more deeply by showing us not only what is gone but also the beauty of what remains. Yet even after having sat beside thousands of deathbeds, Steve Leder, the rabbi, was not fully prepared for the loss of his own father. It was only then that Steve Leder, the son, truly learned how loss makes life beautiful by giving it meaning and touching us with love that we had not felt before. Enriched by Rabbi Leder's irreverence, vulnerability and wicked sense of humor, The Beauty of What Remains—How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift is a heartfelt narrative filled with laughter and tears, the wisdom of millennia and modernity, and an unfolding of the profound and simple truth that in loss we gain more than we ever imagined.

Steve Leder is the senior rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. After receiving his degree in writing and graduating cum laude from Northwestern University, and spending time studying at Trinity College, Oxford University, Leder received a master's degree in Hebrew letters in 1986 and rabbinical ordination in 1987 from Hebrew Union College.

Tuesday,

October 26, 2021
7:00 PM

 

JAKE COHEN 

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE EMANU-EL

 

When most home cooks think of Jewish food, a few classics come to mind: matzo ball soup, brisket, challah and maybe a babka if you’re feeling ambitious. But as food writer and self-described nice Jewish boy, Jake Cohen demonstrates in his stunning debut cookbook, Jew-ish: a Cookbook – Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, that Jewish food is so much more. In his book, Jake reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions to offer recipes that are modern, fresh and enticing for a whole new generation of readers. Jew-ish is a brilliant collection of delicious recipes, and also a guidebook to building community. As Jake reconciles ancient traditions with modern times, his recipes become a celebration of a rich and vibrant history, a love story of blending cultures, and an invitation to gather around the table and create new memories with family, friends and loved ones.

Jake Cohen is a bright new star in the food world, a former food staffer at Saveur, then food editor of Tasting Table and Time Out New York, and most recently the editorial and test kitchen director of social media juggernaut the FeedFeed (@thefeedfeed).

 

Wednesday,

November 3, 2021
7:00 PM

 

LEAH GARRETT 

VIA ZOOM

 

In June 1942, The shadow of the Third Reich has fallen across the European continent. In desperation, Winston Churchill and his chief of staff form an unusual plan: a new commando unit made up of Jewish refugees who have escaped to Britain. The resulting volunteers are a motley group of intellectuals, artists and athletes, most from Germany and Austria. Many have been interned as enemy aliens and have lost their whole worlds. Trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat, this top-secret unit becomes known as X Troop. Drawing on extensive original research, Leah Garrett follows this unique band of brothers from Germany to England and back, to British internment camps, the beaches of Normandy, the battlefields of Italy and Holland, and the hellscape of Terezin concentration camp‚ the scene of one of the most dramatic rescues of the war. X Troop—The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II, tells the astonishing story of these secret shock troops and their devastating blows against the Nazis.

Leah Garrett is a professor at Hunter College. Her last book, Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel, won and was short-listed for several major literary awards.

Monday,
November 22, 2021

7:00 PM

 

DAVID BIRO

VIA ZOOM

 

In a small Italian village, nine-year-old Luca Taviano catches a stubborn cold and is subsequently diagnosed with leukemia. After an exhaustive search, a match turns up 3,000 miles away in the form of an unlikely donor: Joseph Neiman, a rabbi in Brooklyn, New York, who is suffering from a debilitating crisis of faith. As Luca's young nurse risks her career and races against time to help save the spirited redheaded boy, she uncovers terrible secrets from World War II—secrets that reveal how a Catholic boy could have Jewish genes. Can inheritance be transcended by accidents of love? That is the question at the heart of This Magnificent Dappled Sea, a novel that challenges the idea of identity and celebrates the ties that bind us together.

David Biro has a medical degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Literature from Oxford University. He is a Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center where he also teaches medical humanities. He has written two highly acclaimed books: One Hundred Days: My Unexpected Journey from Doctor to Patient (2000) and The Language of Pain: Finding Words, Compassion and Relief (2010).

Wednesday,

December 8, 2021
7:00 PM

 

BEN M. FREEMAN 

VIA ZOOM

 

Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People, by Ben M. Freeman, an internationally renowned educator, is inspired by his experiences with LGBTQ+ pride. In it, Ben aims to educate, inspire and empower Jewish people to reject the shame of antisemitism imposed on Jews by the non-Jewish world as well as non-Jewish perceptions of what it means to be a Jew—ultimately, enabling them to begin the process of defining their own identities as proud Jews through Jewish experience, Jewish history and Jewish tradition.

Ben M. Freeman is a Jewish leader, a Jewish thinker and a Jewish educator. Born in Scotland, Ben is a gay Jewish author and an educator focusing on Jewish identity, combating antisemitism and raising awareness of the Holocaust.

Thursday,
December 16, 2021

7:00 PM

 

TRACY WALDER

VIA ZOOM

 

Tracy Walder, a Jewish American woman, was recruited by the CIA out of her sorority at the University of Southern California. On 9/11, she was tracking terrorists, with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell looking over her shoulder. Driven to stop the new breed of terror that war created, Walder picked up her alias identity, flew overseas and continued the hunt. Walder debriefed al-Qaeda's top men‚ Jihadists who swore they'd never speak to a woman, particularly an American woman‚ and earned their trust, thus gaining critical and life-saving information. Walder held clandestine meetings in clandestine locales with spies and embedded civilians from other countries. She followed the trails she found across North Africa, Europe and the Middle East. She would eventually move over to the FBI, working in counterintelligence where she faced rampant sexism. The Unexpected Spy is a powerful memoir about a woman who made a career in a male-dominated field and what she's taken away from it now that she's no longer in government service.

Tracy Walder is a former Staff Operations Officer at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and Special Agent at the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office specializing in Chinese counterintelligence operations.

 

Tuesday,

December 21, 2021
7:00 PM

 

TIM DARCY ELLIS 

VIA ZOOM

 

The Secret Diaries of Juan Luis Vives brings back to life the epoch-making life and adventures of one of the great men of the Renaissance. It is 1522, in the Spanish Netherlands. Vives, a renowned academic, has fled the Inquisition; yet even here he is not safe. Under the ever-watchful eyes and ears of the king of Spain, he is eventually incarcerated along with other Nuevo Cristianos. When England’s Sir Thomas More offers him a lifeline as the role of tutor to Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII, he eagerly accepts. Once in England, Vives is quickly drawn into the secretive and dangerous world of London’s underground Jewish community. At the Tudor court, the king and queen separately seek Vives’s assistance to support their opposed demands. He must betray one to help the other, knowing his decision could cost him his life. Not only his survival but that of his family and his entire people hang in the balance.

Tim Darcy Ellis (BA, BSc, MHSc) is a writer and wellness-business owner. He was formerly a professional archaeologist. Tim majored in Medieval Archaeology at the University of York. He has worked for both the Museum of London (as a field archaeologist) and the British Museum as a tour guide.

Wednesday,
January 5, 2022

7:00 PM

 

JAMES McAULEY

VIA ZOOM

 

In the dramatic years between 1870 and the end of World War II, a number of prominent French Jews invested their fortunes in France's cultural artifacts, sacrificed their sons to the country's army, and were ultimately rewarded by seeing their collections plundered and their families deported to Nazi concentration camps. In The House of Fragile Things, James McAuley explores the central role of art in the assimilation and identity of French Jews in the fin de siècle. Based on previously unexploited private archives, the book tells the story of an interconnected set of families: the Camondos, the Rothschilds, the Reinachs, the Cahens d'Anvers. McAuley shows how Jewish art collectors contended with a powerful strain of antisemitism between the Dreyfus Affair and the Holocaust. They were often accused of "invading" France's cultural patrimony. The collections these families left behind—many ultimately donated to the French state—were their response, tragic attempts to celebrate a nation that later betrayed them.

James McAuley is a European affairs columnist for The Washington Post. He recently completed his doctorate in modern history at the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall scholar.

Thursday,

January 6, 2022
7:00 PM

 

IRA ROSEN 

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE BETH SHOLOM

 

Two-time Peabody Award-winning writer and producer Ira Rosen reveals the intimate, untold stories of his decades at America's most iconic news show in Ticking Clock – Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes. When producer Ira Rosen walked into the 60 Minutes offices in June 1980, he knew he was about to enter television history. His career catapulted him to the heights of TV journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in TV news. But behind the scenes was a war room of clashing producers, anchors and the most formidable 60 Minutes figure: legendary correspondent Mike Wallace.

Ira Rosen has produced some of the most memorable, important and groundbreaking stories for 60 Minutes for nearly 25 years. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Rosen was a senior producer of Primetime with Diane Sawyer. Rosen has won 24 National Emmys, four duPont Awards, two RFK Awards and two Peabodys for his work. He is the coauthor of The Warning: Accident at Three Mile Island.

Tuesday,
January 11, 2022

7:00 PM

 

BARRY & ZWEIBEL

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE EMANU-EL

 

Dave Barry has been a professional humorist ever since he discovered that professional humor was a lot easier than working. For many years, he wrote a newspaper column that appeared in more than 500 newspapers and generated thousands of letters from readers who thought he should be fired. Despite this, Barry won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Barry has written more than 30 books, including the novels Big Trouble, Lunatics, Tricky Business and Insane City. Two of Barry's books were the basis for the CBS sitcom Dave's World.

Alan Zweibel started his comedy career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt stand-ups. Then one night, despite bombing on stage, he caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, where he penned classic material for Gilda Radner, John Belushi and all of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. From SNL, Zweibel went on to have a hand in a series of landmark shows—from It's the Garry Shandling's Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm. In Laugh Lines, Zweibel weaves together the stories of his influential career, from writing for a generation of Jackies and Mortys and Dickies, to meeting Gilda while hiding behind a potted plant. This is a warmhearted cultural memoir from a talented, award-winning writer.

 

Alan Zweibel is an original Saturday Night Live writer who has won multiple Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for his work in television. He also collaborated with Billy Crystal on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play 700 Sundays, and won the Thurber Prize for American Humor for his novel The Other Shulman.

Wednesday,

February 2, 2022
7:00 PM

 

PAM JENOFF 

VIA ZOOM

 

In The Woman with the Blue Star, Sadie Gault is 18 and living with her parents amid the horrors of the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the sewers beneath the city. Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé, who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Kraków restlessly. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it's a girl hiding. Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close. But as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds.

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland.

Tuesday,

February 8, 2022
7:00 PM

 

EDDIE SHAPIRO 

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE EMANU-EL

 

In A Wonderful Guy, theatre journalist Eddie Shapiro sits down for intimate, career-encompassing conversations with 19 of Broadway's most prolific and fascinating leading men. Full of detailed stories and reflections, his conversations with such luminaries as Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Norm Lewis, Gavin Creel, Cheyenne Jackson, Jonathan Groff and a host of others dig deep into each actor's career. Together, these chapters tell the story of what it means to be a leading man on Broadway over the past 50 years.

Eddie Shapiro grew up singing music from every cast album he could get his hands on. He is the author of Nothing Like a Dame: Conversations with the Great Women of Musical Theater, Queens on the Kingdom: The Ultimate Gay and Lesbian Guide to the Disney Theme Parks and hundreds of articles in magazines, including Out, Backstage West, In Theater and Instinct.

Wednesday,
February 17, 2022

7:00 PM

 

RACHEL BEANLAND

VIA ZOOM

 

Rachel Beanland’s novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever, is set in Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house to vacationers and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Their first daughter, Fannie, pregnant again after recently miscarrying, is on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. Their second daughter, Florence, returns from college for the summer and resolves to spend her time training to swim the English Channel. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. When tragedy strikes, Esther makes the shocking decision to hide the truth‚ at least until Fannie’s baby is born‚ and pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface that reveal how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal.

Rachel Beanland is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and earned her MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. Florence Adler Swims Forever is her first novel and won the 2020 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction.

Saturday,
February 19, 2022

7:00 PM

 

LARAINE NEWMAN

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE SINAI

 

Laraine Newman’s memoir, May You Live in Interesting Times, chronicles her life and experiences that seem to have been on the forefront of every pop culture shift in America: from the British invasion and the music scene in Los Angeles, to the beginning of The Comedy Store and how it started, the prominence of comedy, the forming of The Groundlings, the beginning of Saturday Night Live, to the beginning of the rising prominence of animation. This, while dealing with her demons, getting sober, having children and reinventing herself.

Laraine Newman is a founding member of The Groundlings and an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. She has worked for directors ranging from Woody Alan to Guillermo Del Toro. She has written for the Jewish Journal, McSweeney's, Esquire and The Believer.

Tuesday,

March 22, 2022
7:00 PM

 

MELISSA GOULD 

VIA ZOOM

 

When Melissa Gould's husband Joel was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed with uncertainty as Joel's condition tragically worsened, she offered him the only thing she could: her love and devotion. Her dedication didn't end with his death. Left to resume life without her beloved husband and raise their young daughter on her own, Melissa soon realized that her and Joel's love lived on. In Widowish—A Memoir, Melissa shares her experience as young widow who found she didn't fit the typical mold of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn't look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish.

Melissa Gould's essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and more. She's an award-winning screenwriter whose credits include Bill Nye, the Science Guy; Party of Five; Beverly Hills, 90210; and Lizzie McGuire. As a "mompreneur" she appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, Access Hollywood and other "infotainment" programs.

Thursday,
March 24, 2022

7:00 PM

 

ANNELISE HEINZ

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE SINAI

 

Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Mod-ern American Culture illustrates how the spaces between tiles and the moments between games have fostered distinct social cultures in the United States. This mass-produced game crossed the Pacific, creating waves of popularity over the 20th century. Annelise Heinz narrates the history of this game to show how it has created a variety of meanings, among them American modernity, Chinese American heritage and Jewish American women's culture. As it traveled from China to the United States and caught on with Hollywood starlets, high society, middle-class housewives and immigrants alike, mahjong became a quintessentially American game.

Annelise Heinz is an assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio and international Chinese television. She has lived and played mahjong in the United States and Southwestern China.

Wednesday,

April 6, 2022
7:00 PM

 

WAYNE FEDERMAN 

LIVE IN PERSON

JEWISH CONGREGATION OF VENICE

 

Today's top stand-up comedians sell out arenas, generate millions of dollars, tour the world and help shape our social discourse. So, how did this all happen? The History of Stand-Up chronicles the incredible evolution of this American art form—from its earliest pre-vaudeville practitioners like Artemus Ward and Mark Twain to the present-day comedians of HBO and Netflix. The story has a connective tissue—humans standing on stage, alone, trying to get laughs. That experience connects all stand-ups through time, whether it's at the Palace, the Copacabana, Grossinger's, the Apollo, Mister Kelly's, the Improv, the Comedy Store, Madison Square Garden, Upright Citizens Brigade or at an open mic in a backyard.

Wayne Federman is a stand-up comedian, actor, professor and author. He has appeared on The Tonight Show five times, and had his own special on Comedy Central. He has acted in numerous films and TV shows, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Silicon Valley, Larry Sanders, Community, Legally Blonde, Knocked Up, Step Brothers, 50 First Dates and Funny People.

Wednesday,
April 20, 2022

7:00 PM

 

LISA SCOTTLINE

VIA ZOOM

 

Eternal is the culmination of a lifetime of Lisa Scottoline's work. She has been researching the Italian Holocaust since her undergraduate days when she took a yearlong seminar at the University of Pennsylvania led by Philip Roth called "The Literature of the Holocaust." Elisabetta, Marco and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco is the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro is a kindhearted Jewish mathematics prodigy. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta's heart. As antisemitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, they realize Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city's Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Eternal is a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author of 32 novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States and has been published in 35 countries. She also writes a weekly column with her daughter for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Monday,

May 3, 2022
7:00 PM

 

DR. MICHAEL ROIZEN 

LIVE IN PERSON

TEMPLE EMANU-EL

 

As the human lifespan expands and more people are living to 100 years and beyond, New York Times bestselling author Michael Roizen, M.D., explains in his book, The Great Age Reboot – Cracking the Longevity Code to Be Younger Today and Even Younger Tomorrow, how to prepare for a longer, healthier future. Over the next decade, people living to 100, 120 or even 130 years old will become increasingly common—and life past 100 may not look like what you expect. In this groundbreaking narrative, Roizen reveals how current science and technology will revolutionize our ability to live longer, younger and better. Today’s breakthroughs in longevity research are unprecedented, and this book will help you navigate the coming changes to make the best decisions for your brain, your body and your bank account.

Dr. Michael F. Roizen is the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, Chief Medical Consultant on The Dr. Oz Show, author of four #1 New York Times bestselling books and originator of the popular RealAge.com website. He is board certified in anesthesiology and internal medicine. He has been recognized with an Ellie, an Emmy, and the Paul G. Rogers Award from the National Library of Medicine for Best Medical Communicator.

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