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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.

Brooke Baldwin, Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power

Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 pm

After more than 20 years in a male-dominated industry, often reporting on the world’s most powerful men, veteran journalist and CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin spent two days back-to-back covering the 2017 presidential inauguration and the historic Women’s March in D.C. The experience changed her perspective and led to the question: what happens when women huddle? Baldwin wanted to learn from women who were forming change movements, or who were supporting each other in the workplace whether it be the courthouse, a Hollywood writer’s room, or on the sports field. But most of all, she wanted to learn what happens when women harness each others’ power by gathering together—either in person or virtually—to huddle.

Baldwin’s new book, Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power is a blend of journalism and personal narrative examining how women have come together in a wide variety of times and places, to provide each other with support, empowerment, inspiration, and the strength to solve problems or enact meaningful change.

Brooke Baldwin is a Peabody Award finalist and news anchor at CNN. She is also the creator and host of CNN’s Digital series “American Woman,” which focuses on the stories of trailblazing women who have broken barriers in their fields and are now helping other women do the same. Huddle is her first book.

Daniel Lee, The SS Officer’s Armchair: Uncovering the Hidden Life of a Nazi

Sunday, April 11 at 2:00 pm

In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Correspondent

Zoom Author Talk & Q & A

Based on documents discovered concealed within a simple chair for seventy years, this gripping investigation into the life of a single S.S. officer during World War Two encapsulates the tragic experience of a generation of Europeans.  In The S.S. Officer’s Armchair, Lee weaves detection with biography to tell an astonishing narrative of ambition and intimacy in the Third Reich. He uncovers Griesinger’s American back-story–his father was born in New Orleans and the family had ties to the plantations and music halls of nineteenth century Louisiana. As Lee follows the footsteps of a rank and file Nazi official seventy years later, and chronicles what became of him and his family at the war’s end, Griesinger’s role in Nazi crimes comes into focus. When Lee stumbles on an unforeseen connection between Griesinger and the murder of his own relatives in the Holocaust, he must grapple with potent questions about blame, manipulation, and responsibility.

The S.S. Officer’s Armchair is an enthralling detective story and a reconsideration of daily life in the Third Reich. It provides a window into the lives of Hitler’s millions of nameless followers and into the mechanisms through which ordinary people enacted history’s most extraordinary atrocity.

Daniel Lee is a senior lecturer in modern history at Queen Mary, University of London. A specialist in the history of Jews in France and North Africa during the Second World War, he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, and is also the author of Pétain’s Jewish Children. As a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker, Lee is a regular broadcaster on radio. He lives in north London.

A Very Special Evening with Tovah Feldshuh

Thursday, April 15 at 8:00 pm

In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Correspondent

Zoom Author Talk & Q & A

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH TOVAH: VIP MEET ‘N GREET at 7pm EST

Spend a little quality time with Tovah when you purchase her thrilling new memoir, Lilyville! Everyone who purchases a book (includes signed bookplate) is invited to a pre-event VIP Meet ‘n Greet where YOU will have the opportunity to ask her your questions or just say hello! A separate Zoom link will be sent prior to the meeting.

Books include signed bookplate! A Cappella Books is the official bookseller of the National JCC Literary Consortium.

Iconic Broadway performer and four-time Tony, two-time Emmy nominee Tovah Feldshuh presents Lilyville, a heartwarming and hilarious memoir exploring the mother-daughter relationship that challenged shifting socio-cultural expectations of women and shaped a magnificent career.

In her own way, Lily was a force of nature too. As the epitome of a 1950s housewife—impeccably dressed, a master of etiquette, and completely devoted to her husband—she expected perfection from her only daughter and often believed that as a mother, it was her duty to point out Tovah’s every mistake. Tovah, headstrong and free-spirited, found herself constantly torn between living a life on her own terms and a desperate need to gain her mother’s approval. Despite all of Tovah’s success on-stage and on the screen, it ultimately would take the birth of her own children and the death of her beloved father to truly bring the two women together.

In Lilyville: Mother, Daughter, and Other Roles I’ve Played, Tovah Feldshuh reflects on her extraordinary life in the best way she knows how: as a play. Tovah immerses readers in a journey through the acts and scenes of her personal and professional life, from her tomboy childhood in the refined community of Scarsdale, New York, to becoming Broadway royalty alongside Christopher Plummer and Barbra Streisand—all held together by the twisting thread of her often-complicated relationship with Lily.

Hadassah Lieberman, Hadassah: An American Story

Sunday, May 2 at 8:00 pm

In Conversation with Holly Firfer, CNN Correspondent

Zoom Author Talk & Q & A

In 1949, Hadassah Lieberman and her family immigrated from the Czech Republic to the United States. She went on to earn a BA from Boston University in government and dramatics and an MA in international relations and American government from Northeastern University. She built a career devoted largely to public health that has included positions at Lehman Brothers, Pfizer, and the National Research Council. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she married Joe Lieberman, a US senator from Connecticut who was the Democratic nominee for vice president with Al Gore and would go on to run for president.

In Hadassah, Lieberman shares the story of her extraordinary life: from her family’s experience in Eastern Europe to their move to Gardner, Massachusetts; forging her career; experiencing divorce; and, following her remarriage, her life on the national political stage. By offering insight into her identity as an immigrant, an American Jew, and a working mother, Lieberman’s memoir speaks to many of the major issues of our time, from immigration to anti-Semitism to gender politics. With an introduction by Joe Lieberman and an afterword by Megan McCain, it’s a true American story.

Hadassah Lieberman has had a rewarding career dedicated to health care issues, assisting nonprofit organizations, improving educational standards, and promoting international understanding, with a particular focus on global women’s health.

Pam Jenoff, The Woman with the Blue Star: A Novel

Thursday, May 6 at 8:00 pm

Zoom Author Talk & Q & A

Former diplomat and Cambridge-educated historian Pam Jenoff has become a mainstay at the top of historical fiction lists. The Orphan’s Tale sold hundreds of thousands of copies while earning weeks on bestseller lists and the follow-up, The Lost Girls of Paris, stayed on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, among others, for over 20 weeks, while selling well-over a half-million copies and counting. Her deep research and emotional storytelling have made her a favorite of readers and critics alike. Join us as she discusses her latest will-be blockbuster, The Woman with the Blue Star.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amidst the horrors of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

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 Krakow 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.As with all her books, Jenoff took a small, little-known nugget from history and created a gripping and powerful story of survival against unimaginable odds. Inspired by the harrowing true stories of people who hid in the sewers beneath the streets of Europe in order to escape the Nazis, Jenoff blends vivid historical detail with a riveting and emotional story, shedding new light on this dark time in history.

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including many the bestsellers, She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her JD from UPenn. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and 3 children near Philadelphia, where she teaches law.

Judy Batalion, The Light of Days

Monday, May 10 at 8:00 pm

In Conversation with Dr. Catherine M. Lewis, Exec. Director, Museum of History and Holocaust Education and Professor of History, Kennesaw State University

Zoom Author Talk & Q + A

One of the most important stories of World War II: A spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of the brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters, a group of unknown heroes whose exploits have never been chronicled

The Light of Days has been optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture

“A remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII   . . . pays vivid tribute to ‘the breadth and scope of female courage.’ ”
—Publishers Weekly

Of the legions of stories of World War II and the Holocaust that shape our understanding of those history-changing events, one of the most extraordinary has remained hidden until now: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation. In The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, Judy Batalion shares the acts of defiance and rebellion of women who saw and acknowledged the truth of their time, worked together, and risked their lives in the fight for justice and liberty. The Light of Days is a meticulously researched and grippingly told David-and-Goliath history that sheds light on the invaluable role these unsung heroines played in fighting against and surviving Hitler’s Final Solution.

Batalion first learned of the “ghetto girls” and their achievements when she stumbled upon a Yiddish-language memoir in the British Library more than a decade ago. Delving deeply into myriad Jewish archives and making numerous research trips to Poland and Israel, she painstakingly uncovered their stories through long-overlooked memoirs as well as other surviving documents and personal interviews with their families. The rebellious acts Batalion discovered ran the gamut from spontaneous, simple acts of defiance to complex, planned initiatives. The ghetto girls tricked the Gestapo into carrying their luggage filled with contraband, hid revolvers in teddy bears, flung Molotov cocktails, and bombed German train lines. They flirted with Nazis; bought them off with wine, whiskey, and pastry; and then shot and killed them.

Batalion shares the hope and daring of these remarkable women, focusing on Renia Kukielka, a young Jewish woman who disguised herself as a Catholic girl and broke through ghetto borders with weapons and cash strapped to her torso. She smuggled sick youth, planned rescue operations, and masterminded her own escape from a Gestapo prison. She lived to 90, known by friends and family for her sense of humor, her love of fashion, and her kindness.

A gripping, poignant tale of extraordinary female agency, The Light of Days reminds us of the importance of recognizing the control we have over our own selves even during the darkest times.

Judy Batalion is the author of White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess in Between. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Forward, Vogue, and many other publications. Judy has a BA in the History of Science from Harvard, and a PhD in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, University of London, and has worked as a museum curator and university lecturer. Born in Montreal, where she grew up speaking English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish, she now lives in New York with her husband and three children.

Amy Klobuchar, Antitrust

Wednesday, May 19 at 8:00 pm

Zoom Author Talk & Q & A

Books are signed and your purchase supports your local JCCs!  A Cappella Books is the official bookseller of the National JCC Literary Consortium.

ANTITRUST is important, urgently needed book from the much-admired senior senator from Minnesota, and former candidate for president of the United States–a fascinating exploration of antitrust in America and the way forward to protect all Americans from the dangers of curtailed competition, and from vast information gathering, through monopolies.

From Standard Oil, and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, to the Progressive Era’s trust-busters, Amy Klobuchar, in this large, compelling history, writes of the fight against monopolies in America.

She writes of the breakup of Ma Bell, the pricing monopoly of Big Pharma, and the future of the giant tech companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google).

She begins with the Gilded Age (1870s-1900), when builders of fortunes and rapacious robber barons such as J. P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were reaping vast fortunes as industrialization swept across the American landscape, with the rich getting vastly richer and the poor, poorer. She discusses President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920), “busted” the trusts (breaking up monopolies); the Clayton Act of 1914; the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914; and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950 (it strengthened the Clayton Act). She explores today’s Big Pharma and its price-gouging; and tech, television, content, and agriculture communities and how a marketplace with few players, or one in which one company dominates distribution, can hurt consumer prices and stifle innovation.

As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar is at work on, among others, issues raised by giant tech companies, such as Facebook, Google (it reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market), and Amazon, and puts forth her plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen the antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

AMY KLOBUCHAR is the senior senator from Minnesota, the first woman from that state to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She was born in Plymouth, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. She lives in Minneapolis, MN.