The 26th edition of the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center starts and ends with powerful Jewish men who find themselves in the minority in Washington: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Sen. Al Franken.

Between the opening and closing nights are 32 other sessions featuring 40 books, including five produced by Jewish Atlantans: Dylan Dickson, “Why Can’t I Read?”; Harry Maziar, “Story Selling”; Sam Massell, “Play It Again, Sam” (an authorized bio by Charles McNair); Pamela Sampson, “No Reply” (Henry Gallant’s Holocaust memoir); and Donnie Kanter Winokur, “Chancer.”

Tickets are on sale at, with series passes available for $110 for JCC members and $135 for others.

All programs are at Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, except for the Nov. 14 program with Jen Glantz and Jonathan Goldsmith, which is at the Rich Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown, and includes a dessert reception and cash bar.


8:15 p.m. — Justice Stephen Breyer (“The Court and the World”) speaks with former CNN Executive Vice President Gail Evans about the global influences on the legal system. Tickets: $30 members, $35 others; includes a paperback copy of the book. (Read the review here; read the interview here.)


Noon — Historian and journalist Glenn Frankel (“High Noon”) speaks with Bob Bahr about the making of the iconic Gary Cooper Western and the subtext about the Hollywood blacklist of the era. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the overview here.)

3 p.m. — Psychiatrist Gail Saltz (“The Power of Different”) speaks with CNN’s Nadia Bilchik and makes time for a special guest, 9-year-old local author Dylan Dickson (“Why Can’t I Read?”), who discusses her experience with dyslexia. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read an interview with Saltz here; read an interview with Dylan here.)

7:30 p.m. — Former CNN Chairman and Time Editor Walter Isaacson (“Leonardo da Vinci”), now the CEO of The Aspen Institute, picks up on the afternoon’s theme of genius and difference in discussing one of history’s most unusual geniuses. Tickets: $18 members, $25 others. (Read the interview here.)


Noon — Science writers Adam Piore (“The Body Builders”) and Bonnie Rochman (“The Gene Machine”) bring news and controversy from the cutting edge of medicine, where the line blurs between repairing or preventing problems and altering the human species. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Rochman review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Songwriter and UGA alum Steve Dorff (“I Wrote That One, Too”) — if you’ve listened to pop or country music or watched TV or movies the past 25 years, you’ve heard his work — brings live music to his discussion about his life in entertainment. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the interview here; read the review here.)


Noon — Novelists Jamie Brenner (“The Forever Summer”) and Marilyn Simon Rothstein (“Lift and Separate”) share their stories of resilient women with author Joshilyn Jackson. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Brenner review here; read the Rothstein review here.)

7:30 p.m. — One of Jewish Atlanta’s legendary business and communal leaders, Harry Maziar (“Story Selling”), chats with JCC CEO Jared Powers about the community and success in life. Free. (Read the interview here.)


Noon — The creator of the Hungry Girl empire, Lisa Lillien (“Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry Obsessed!”), talks with “Atlanta Eats” host Mara Davis about her tricks for making comfort food almost healthy. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the interview here; read the review here. And check out sample recipes here, here and here.)

7:30 p.m. — NBC investigative reporter Jeff Rossen (“Rossen to the Rescue”) speaks with TV host Tom Sullivan about how to avoid the pitfalls of life. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the review here.)


10 a.m. — The only Jewish mayor in Atlanta history, native son Sam Massell, and his selected biographer, Charles McNair (“Play It Again, Sam”), speak with Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Jim Galloway about Massell’s extraordinary public life. Free. (Look for an interview with Massell in the Nov. 3 AJT.)

12:30 p.m.Patricia Bernstein (“Ten Dollars to Hate”) talks about the origins of the revived Klan and a Texas prosecutor’s successful anti-KKK campaign. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others.

7 p.m. — The JCC commemorates Kristallnacht at the Besser Holocaust Memorial Garden with speaker Alexandra Zapruder.

7:30 p.m. — Abraham Zapruder’s granddaughter, Alexandra Zapruder (“Twenty-Six Seconds,” the Esther G. Levine Community Read), speaks with CNN’s Nadia Bilchik about her grandfather’s famous film of the JFK assassination and its effect on her family. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the review here.)


Noon — Novelists Marie Benedict (“The Other Einstein”) and Jane Healey (“The Saturday Evening Girls Club”) explore the historical struggles of women with CARE USA writer Theresa Weaver. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Benedict review here; read the Healey review here.)


8 p.m. — Scholar and former CNN commentator Reza Aslan (“G-d: A Human History”) delves deeper into his exploration of religion. Tickets: $18 members, $25 others.


Noon — Historian Steven J. Ross (“Hitler in Los Angeles”) and foreign correspondent Peter Eisner (“MacArthur’s Spies”) share their World War II spy stories. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Eisner review here and the interview here; read about the Ross book through our online partner The Times of Israel.)

3:30 p.m. — Israeli historian Michael Bar-Zohar (“Phoenix”) revisits the life of Shimon Peres. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Comedian Sarge, aka Steven Pickman (“Black Boychik”), works blue to tell his humorous life story. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the review here.)


10 a.m. — First-time author and former Associated Press reporter Pamela Sampson (“No Reply”) and Holocaust survivor Henry Gallant speak about his journey on and after the MS St. Louis with AP reporter Marina Kolbe Hutchinson. Free. (Read the interview here; read the review here.)

12:30 p.m. — Veteran novelists Pam Jenoff (“The Orphan’s Tale”) and Mark Sullivan (“Beneath a Scarlet Sky”) speak with media host John Lemley about their Nazi-resistance stories. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Jenoff review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Inventor and TV pitchwoman Joy Mangano (“Inventing Joy”) speaks with radio host Dana Barrett about her entrepreneurial life. Tickets: $18 members, $25 others. (Read the review here.)


Noon — Best-selling novelist Nicole Krauss (“Forest Dark”) talks with former Atlanta Journal-Constitution book columnist Greg Changnon about her first book in seven years, covering two parallel but apparently unconnected lives. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the review here.)

7:30 p.m. — The former most interesting man in the world, Jonathan Goldsmith (“Stay Interesting”), and the most in-demand bridesmaid in New York, Jen Glantz (“Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire)”), share the Rich Theatre stage for a night of socializing. Tickets: $18 members, $25 others. (Read the Goldsmith review here; read the Glantz interview here.)


10 a.m. — The documentary “Streit’s Matzo and the American Dream” screens as a warm-up to the day’s first book talk. Tickets: $5.

Noon — Born into a famous matzo family, Michele Streit Heilbrun (“Matzo”) provides recipes on how to do more than butter or fry the bread of affliction. Tickets: $5 members, $10 others. (Read the review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Comedian and actress Annabelle Gurwitch (“Wherever You Go, There They Are”) speaks with CNN contributor Holly Firfer about the fun and follies of family life. Tickets: $15 members, $20 others. (Read the review here.)


10 a.m. — The rebbetzin of Temple Kehillat Chaim, Donnie Kanter Winokur (“Chancer”), and her family’s service dog, Quinn, share with Gail Cohn the power of the connection between a boy with hidden disabilities and his well-trained dog. Free. (Read the review here; look for an interview in the Nov. 3 AJT.)

12:30 p.m. — Novelists Lauren Belfer (“And After the Fire”) and Rachel Kadish (“The Weight of Ink”) walk people through their time-jumping stories with the help of former Atlanta Journal-Constitution book columnist Greg Changnon. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Kadish review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach (“For This We Left Egypt?”) talk with radio and TV host Mara Davis about that most vital of additions to the Jewish bookshelf, a funny Passover haggadah, in the Eva and George Stern Lecture. Tickets: $18 members, $25 others. (Read the interview here.)


8 p.m. — Former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush (“Sisters First”) speak with best-selling Atlanta novelist Emily Giffin about their lives in and out of the political spotlight. Tickets: $18 members, $75 premier (includes book), $25 others. (Read the review here.)


Noon — New York Yankees fan Rafi Kohan (“The Arena”) and former ESPN the Magazine Editor in Chief Gary Belsky (“Up Your Game”) share their insights into sports and how and where we play them. Tickets: $10 members, $15 others. (Read the Kohan interview here; read the Belsky review here.)

3:30 p.m. — Washington Post reporter Souad Mekhennet (“I Was Told to Come Alone”), who was born in Germany, grew up in North Africa, and mixes Western and Muslim cultures, speaks with CNN’s Gail Evans about some dangerous parts of the world. Free. (Read the review here.)

7:30 p.m. — Longtime CBS News anchor Dan Rather (“What Unites Us”) speaks with Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein about patriotism and the state of America. Tickets: $30 members, $35 others (includes book). (Read the review here.)


7:30 p.m. — Sen. Al Franken (“Al Franken, Giant of the Senate”), the Minnesota Democrat and former “Saturday Night Live” writer who won the closest Senate election in U.S. history in 2008, talks about the interesting times in Washington. Sold out. (Read the interview here; read the review here.)