October 21 - November 6, 2017

Saturday, October 21 | 6:30 PM

Laurie Frankel   This is How it Always is

Leslie Brittman Literary Event/ Spotlight reception at Chez Zee

Laurie Frankel’s THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS   is a novel about revelations, transformations, and family.  It begins when Rosie and Penn and their four sons welcome the newest addition to their family – another boy.  But Claude is not like his brothers.  One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off.  He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten, and wants hair long enough to sit on.  He says he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn try to take the news in stride and begin a journey with Poppy – as Claude now wants to be called – that takes them from Wisconsin to Seattle to Thailand.  They realize that change is always hard and children grow, but not always according to plan.  They learn that no family conforms perfectly to the cookie cutter model, and in many ways, this is how it always is.


Sunday, October 29 | 6:30 PM

Sam Massell      Play it Again Sam

Charles McNair is the author, but Sam Massell is the hero of this book and our speaker.  At 90 years old, Sam Massell could easily be called one of the most influential founding fathers of modern Atlanta. He began as a self-described “dead-end kid”, then excelled in four careers -20 years in commercial real estate, 22 years in elected offices, 13 years in the tourism industry, and is now in his 30th year of association management.  In 1969, Massell was elected the first Jewish mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. He changed Atlanta’s city elections to nonpartisan, allowed Muhammad Ali to fight when 50 other cities rejected the fight, established Metro Atlanta’s mass transit system (MARTA), appointed the first woman to the City Council, and developed the Omni, Atlanta’s first enclosed arena.  McNair, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, covers each part of Sam’s life in a separate chapter.


Monday, October 30 | 7 PM

Ronald Balson   The Trust

Ronald Balson is a practicing attorney and author of the international best seller Once We Were Brothers as well as Saving Sophie and Karolina’s Twins. In his latest novel, private investigator Liam Taggart returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for an uncle's funeral, only to discover he might have been murdered.

Book Lovers Luncheon

Wednesday, November 1 | 11 AM

Amy Silverstein     My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

Amy Silverstein's new heart—received when she was 25—beat strong for twenty-six years, far longer than its ten-year prognosis. Then, as her steadfast heart failed, the acclaimed author of Sick Girl was hospitalized, and her friends crossed the country in shifts as she waited on the precipice for a life-saving heart transplant. My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is her powerful, inspiring story about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit.

Co-Chairs: Stacy Linkin & Vicki Osherow
Presented in partnership with Shalom Austin’s Women’s Philanthropy


Wednesday, November 1 | 7 PM

Patricia Bernstein            Ten Dollars to Hate

Partnership with ADL at the University of Texas

Ten Dollars to Hate discusses the Ku Klux Klan’s propaganda against Jews in the United States and Texas.  Labeling them too "clannish" to assimilate, members of local governments were fired and Jewish stores were boycotted as a result. Resistance from the heroic Texas Rabbis, Henry Cohen and David Lefkowitz,  and the tiny immigrant woman from Goose Creek, Texas, who was acquitted of the charges brought by the klansman she brained with a frying pan, the book discusses the Klan’s activities and hate messages throughout the country. In partnership with ADL Austin,  and the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.


Thursday, November 2  | 6:30 PM

Alexandra Silber              After Anatevka

Held at Congregation Beth Israel

Alexandra Silber, an actor and singer, wrote After Anatevka, her first novel,after playing Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof  in London, and Tzeitel on Broadway.  When the London show ended, Silber went through a mourning period - she just couldn’t leave Hodel behind.  After Anatevka picks where “Fiddler” ends with the family on the road.  Instead of joining her family, Hodel boards a train to Siberia to follow Perchik, whom she wants to marry. The book reflects the horror of this time of great upheaval for Jews and for Hodel, who is arrested, tortured and raped on her path to Perchik.  


Sunday, November 5 | 11 AM

Nathan Englander           Dinner at the Center of the Earth

Texas Book Festival at the Texas State Capitol (incl attached logo)

Nathan Englander’s story set with a background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flows smoothly between characters, time and space.  The tale is woven around an American-Jewish Israeli who is now sitting in a secret prison where only a dying Prime Minister (Ariel Sharon) knows of his existence.  Through the many Israeli and Palestinian characters, Englander gives us a glimpse of the love of country, the struggle of identity and the futility of trying to end this conflict.   The author describes the book as  “… a Turducken of a structure: it’s a literary novel inside a spy thriller that’s inside a love story that’s tucked inside an allegory. Unless it’s the other way around".


Monday, November 6 | 7 PM

Abigail Pogrebin              My Jewish Year 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew

Abigail Pogrebin grew up following some holiday rituals, but realized how little she knew about their purpose and relevance. What kept these holidays alive and vibrant, in some cases for thousands of years? How do Jews find meaning in the holidays? She spent an entire year celebrating all of the Jewish holidays in the calendar, even the ones she never heard of. My Jewish Year is written with candor, humor, and a trove of information, capturing the arc of Jewish observance through the eyes of a relatable, wandering―and wondering―Jew.

Note: Author is the daughter of Letty Cottin Pogrebin, previous AJBF author, prominent feminist, and a founder of Ms. Magazine.

Click through to one of the sites below and visit online bookstores Amazon and BN.com A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will benefit Shalom Austin and help continue to bring excellent entertaining, educational and cultural programming to the JCC.


JBookFest is part of the Spotlight on the Arts 2017-18 season.