Book Festival in Your Living Room

Enjoy a stellar line-up of virtual Book Festival events including author talks featuring the year’s hottest writers. Scroll down to see the line-up and check back often as the list of inspiring authors continues to grow.

Mike Leven, Can’t Do It Yourself: How Commitment to Others Leads to Personal Prosperity

Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 pm

Mike Leven, a storied hotel executive and respected Jewish leader, served at the helm of the Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Las Vegas Sands, and other noteworthy hospitality businesses and most recently as the CEO and chairman of the Georgia Aquarium. In his new book, Can’t Do It Yourself, Leven takes the reader on a journey through his life, from growing up in a multi-generational household with Russian immigrant grandparents in a close-knit Jewish community in Boston, through his time in Alpha Epsilon Pi at Tufts University, and then his career as an executive for some of the most noteworthy hotel chains.

Mike Leven has served as the president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, in addition to roles of the chairman and chief executive officer of US Franchise Systems, the president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide, the president of Days Inn of America, and most recently was the volunteer chief executive officer and chairman of the Georgia Aquarium.

 

Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy, Never Alone

Sunday, November 8 at 1:00 pm

In Never Alone, Natan Sharansky and historian Gil Troy show how Sharansky’s years in prison, many spent in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for his public life, bringing extraordinary moral clarity and uncompromising honesty to his work as an Israeli politician and the head of the Jewish Agency. Written with frankness, affection, and humor, the book offers us profound insights from a man whose fight for individual freedom in the face of overt tyranny would come to define the rest of his life.

Natan Sharansky is an Israeli politician, human rights activist and author. He served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency from June 2009 to August 2018.

Gil Troy is a Professor of History at McGill University since 1990, he is a leading presidential historian, writing about the history of American presidential elections, the importance of moderation in American democracy, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s fight as US Ambassador to the UN against the infamous Zionism is Racism resolution. 

Joan Lunden, Why Did I Come Into This Room? A Candid Conversation About Aging
In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Journalist

Sunday, November 8 at 8:00 pm

A funny “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” for the aging woman, acclaimed journalist and Baby Boomer Joan Lunden delves into various phases of aging in her most candid and revealing book yet. Lunden takes the dull and depressing out of aging, replacing it with wit and humor. Lunden goes where others fear to tread, openly sharing her anxieties and breakthroughs and how she’s coping with the realities of aging – wrinkles and age spots, expanding waistlines, diminished energy (my get-up-and-go got up and went), weak pelvic floors (yes, we’re talking about leaking), hot flashes, disrupted sleep, changes in sex drive (oh yeah, she goes there), ageism (it exists and it pisses us off), and yes, the real reasons we find ourselves always searching for those car keys!

An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and women’s health & wellness advocate, Joan Lunden has been a trusted voice in American homes for more than 30 years. For nearly two decades, Lunden greeted viewers each morning on Good Morning America bringing insight to the day’s top stories. As the longest-running female host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered five presidents, five Olympics, and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families, and their health.

 

Esther Safran Foer, I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir

Monday, November 9 at 8:00 pm

Esther Safran Foer grew up in a home where the past was too terrible to speak of. The child of parents who were each the sole survivors of their respective families, for Esther the Holocaust loomed in the backdrop of daily life, felt but never discussed. The result was a childhood marked by painful silences and continued tragedy. Armed with only a black-and-white photo and a hand-drawn map, she travels to Ukraine to find the shtetl where her father hid during the war. What she finds reshapes her identity and finally gives her the opportunity to mourn. The poignant and deeply moving story is not only of Esther’s journey, but of four generations of survivors, storytellers, and memory keepers living in the shadow of the Holocaust, determined not just to keep the past alive and imbue the present with life and more life.

Esther Safran Foer was the CEO of Sixth & I, a center for arts, ideas, and religion. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Bert. They are the parents of Franklin, Jonathan, and Joshua, and the grandparents of six.

Rachel Beanland, Florence Adler Swims Forever: A Novel
Kristin Harmel, Book of Lost Names: A Novel

A Two-Author Event

Tuesday, November 10

Atlantic City, 1934. Renting their house to summer vacationers, Esther and Joseph Adler move into the cramped apartment above their bakery. One of their daughters, Florence, has returned from college to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel. Her pregnant sister, Fannie, is on bed rest and a young woman emigre from Nazi Germany has joined the crowded apartment. Esther’s only thought is to keep her daughters close and safe but Fannie’s pregnancy is risky, her husband, Isaac, is a schemer, and Florence’s suitor is the handsome heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies. Based on a true story, Beanland’s family saga is an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure and even thrive after a tragedy.

Rachel Beanland is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds bachelor’s degrees in art history and journalism from the University of South Carolina and lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and three children.

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Winemaker’s Wife. Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired Florida librarian, is shelving books when her eyes lock on a magazine photograph of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years and recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired Florida librarian, is shelving books when her eyes lock on a magazine photograph of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years and recognizes as The Book of Lost Names. The accompanying article discusses the Nazis’ looting of libraries and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, The Room on Rue Amelie, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world. 

Michael Oren, The Night Archer and Other Stories

Thursday, November 12 at 2:00 pm

A medieval slave-turned-sultan, an alien who declines to visit Earth, a prophet who dares to ask “is God funny?” and a ghost who fears the living—these are among the terrifying, tragic, passionate, and comic characters who animate Michael Oren’s stories. Crisscrossing genres, they explore the outer bounds of imagination and artistic freedom, exposing the reader to a kaleidoscope of human emotions and experience. In The Night Archer, the acclaimed historian, political commentator, and statesman Michael Oren is revealed as a writer of bold versatility.

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, parliamentarian and government minister, combat veteran, athlete, and historian, Michael Oren brings diverse worlds of experience to his fiction.  He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers and winner of both the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year Award and the National Jewish Book Award.

Lawrence Wright, The End of October: A Novel

Saturday, November 14 at 8:00 pm

In this riveting medical thriller–from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, Lawrence Wright, Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker, a playwright, a screenwriter, and the author of ten books of nonfiction, including The Looming Tower, Going Clear, and God Save Texas, and one previous novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas.

 

Raffi Berg, Red Sea Spies: The True Story of Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort

With Special Guest Former Mossad Commandor Dani Limor

Sunday, November 15 at 3:00 pm

In the early 1980s, on a remote part of the Sudanese coast, a new luxury resort opened for business. Catering to divers, it attracted guests from around the world. Little did the guests know that the staff members were undercover spies, working for the Mossad, Israel’s secret service. Written by longtime BBC Middle East correspondent Raffi Berg, this page-turner tells the true story that inspired the recent Netflix drama The Red Sea Diving Resort. What began with one cryptic message pleading for help turned into the secret evacuation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and the spiriting of them to Israel.

Raffi Berg is the Middle East editor of the BBC News website, and has extensive experience reporting on Israel and the wider region. His article scratching the surface of this story was the most-read original feature in the history of the site, with more than 5 and a half million readers to date.

 

Michael J. Fox, No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality

Thursday, November 19  at 8:00 pm

In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.

The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future; as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties; as Mike Flaherty in Spin City; and through numerous other movie roles and guest appearances on shows such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Diagnosed at age 29, Michael is equally engaged in Parkinson’s advocacy work, raising global awareness of the disease and helping find a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the world’s leading non-profit funder of PD science. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism. His new memoir reassesses this outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional challenges.

Mimi Lemay, What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation

Friday, November 20 at 2:00 pm

Mimi Lemay recounts her memoir of her transgender child’s odyssey, and her journey outside the boundaries of the faith and culture that shaped her. Having risen from the ashes of her former life, Mimi was prepared to help her son forge a new one — at a time when there was little consensus on how best to help young transgender children. What We Will Become is a powerful testament to how painful events from the past can be redeemed to give us hope for the future.

Mimi Lemay is an international advocate for transgender youth and the author of the viral essay “A Letter to My Son Jacob on His 5th Birthday.” Lemay and her family meet regularly with legislators, business leaders, educators, and clergy to share their vision of a more equitable world. She is a member of the Parents for Transgender Equality National Council at Human Rights Campaign and holds a master’s in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She was recently named one of the Commonwealth Heroines of 2020 by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Rachel Bloom, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are

Saturday, November 21 at 8:00 pm

Rachel Bloom has felt abnormal and out of place her whole life. In this exploration of what she thinks makes her “different,” she’s come to realize that a lot of people also feel this way; even people who she otherwise thought were “normal.” In a collection of laugh-out-loud funny essays, all told in the unique voice (sometimes singing voice) that made her a star; Rachel writes about everything from her love of Disney, OCD and depression, weirdness, and Spanx to the story of how she didn’t poop in the toilet until she was four years old; Rachel’s pieces are hilarious, smart, and infinitely relatable (except for the pooping thing).

Rachel Bloom is best known as the star and co-creator of the CW musical dramedy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for which she earned a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for her performance as “Rebecca Bunch” as well as an Emmy Award for the show’s songwriting. As a live performer, she has sold out Radio City Music Hall and The London Palladium and recently had a residency at the Just for Laughs comedy festival. In April, she starred in the movie Trolls World Tour as “Barb.” She will be writing the music and lyrics for The Nanny on Broadway.

Ina Garten, Modern Comfort Food

Wednesday, December 2  at 7:30 pm

Join us for a very special evening with the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, as she dishes up some delicious conversation with comedian and author Michael Ian Black. The two will discuss Ina’s latest, Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which features a collection of all-new soul-satisfying dishes from America’s favorite home cook!

In Modern Comfort Food, Ina Garten shares 85 new recipes that will feed your deepest cravings. Many of these dishes are inspired by childhood favorites—but with the volume turned way up, such as Cheddar and Chutney Grilled Cheese sandwiches (the perfect match for Ina’s Creamy Tomato Bisque), Smashed Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions, and the crispiest hash browns that are actually made in a waffle iron!

Ina Garten is a New York Times bestselling author and the James Beard Award-winning host of Barefoot Contessa, which has won three Emmy Awards and airs on the Food Network. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband, Jeffrey. This is her twelfth book.