Considering the titles and subjects featured at the 27th edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA from Oct. 30 to Nov. 18, there’s a tome for every taste: Holocaust and Israel, politics and philanthropy, history and mystery, women’s rights and fights for life, medical breakthroughs and a celebrity who’s who. To top it all off: What would a Jewish festival be without food?
First, let’s find out what’s new at the Book Festival this year from Festival Director Pam Morton.
Artists: Maira Kalman, who, with her son, Alex, created “Sara Berman’s Closet” (Nov.12). The program will feature a film screening of the book by The New Yorker.
“I’ve been collecting her books since the ‘80s,” Morton said. “They have a Chagall aesthetic.”
The Kalmans will be “In Conversation” with Virginia Shearer, director of education at the High Museum of Art, a new relationship for the Book Festival, Morton said.
“People enjoy ‘In Conversation.’ It’s like listening into a conversation two people are having in a living room. It’s a little more interesting than having someone lecture,”Morton said.
Author Families: The Kalmans aren’t the only family-duo author teams at the festival this year. In addition to former Senator Joe Lieberman and his son, Matt, on Nov. 3, there are two mother-daughter teams Nov. 8, both supporting nonprofits: Sally Mundell, “Packaging Good,” and Ruby Mundell, “Kindness Come In,” and Susan and Laura Stachler, “The Cookie Cure.”
Books, Cooks & Cookies: Coffee and the Stachlers’ Susansnaps gourmet cookies will be served following the mother-daughter author presentations.
Talking about coffee and cookies, there’s Michael Coles’ “Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life.” The co-founder of the Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee will be “In Conversation” with Catherine Lewis, a history professor at Kennesaw State University, on Nov. 15. Lewis co-authored the book with Coles.
Food paired with books typically draw a crowd, Morton said. This is expected to be the case when Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook team up with the MJCCA’s caterer, A Kosher Touch, to feature some of their “Israeli Soul” recipes Nov. 16.
Photographers: William Coupon, a portrait photographer who has 20 Time magazine covers and has “shot” most presidents and plenty of other celebrities (“Portraits,” Nov. 6) and Ziv Koren, an Israel Defense Forces photojournalist, (“Snapshot,” Nov. 4). Their photos will be on display in the MJCCA’s Main Street Gallery. “It’s exciting to dive into that genre,” Morton said.
Appearing with Koren is Izzy Ezagui, an IDF soldier who lost his arm in a mortar attack on the Gaza border. He recounts his adventures as a one-armed Special Forces sharpshooter in “Disarmed.”
Celebs: Of course, the big draw of the two-week festival is the superstars: Tom Hanks with his first work of fiction, “Uncommon Type: Some Stories,” Oct. 30, and Sally Field, who spoke during the Prologue to the Book Festival Sunday about her first book, the autobiographical “In Pieces.”
Two other celebrities bookend the festival lineup: Mitch Albom, formerly of ESPN, kicked off the Festival Oct. 13 with “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” a sequel to his best-selling “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” And closing night is Peter Sagal of NPR with “The Incomplete Book of Running.”
You can learn more about the books and authors of the Book Festival in the print copy of this week’s AJT. Read on!