Lit Fest Live Generic Banner

About the Series
The Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Series at the J is home to Memphis’ most outstanding Jewish arts, entertainment, and educational events! Come virtually gather with friends and community to enjoy this incredible season of author talks!

With the following events, your book purchase is encouraged. Your book purchase not only supports our local independent booksellers, but it also ensures that we can continue to bring you the greatest authors on the planet!

All books are available for purchase at Novel Memphis!

MJCC Lit Fest Live! In Your Living Room is presented in partnership with the JCC Literary Consortium: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boulder, Cherry Hill, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville, Memphis, Miami, Rochester, St. Louis, Palm Beach, Palo Alto, Seattle.

Ina Garten, Modern Comfort Food
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A
In Conversation with Michael Ian Black, Comedian, Actor, and Author

Wednesday, December 2 • 6:30pm CT
Tickets: $45 for one virtual ticket (includes one copy of the book and shipping)

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!

About the Book:
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!

About the Author:
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.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Myla Goldberg, Feast Your Eyes (community read)
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Thursday, December 3 • 7:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration
In partnership with the JCC’s of New Orleans and Nashville.

About the Book:
Feast Your Eyes
 traces the path of a fictional mid-20th-century photographer, Lillian Preston. After Lillian discovers photography as a teenager, she leaves her midwestern hometown and her parents’ expectations behind and moves to bohemian New York City, forging her own path as an artist and later single mother. Talented and driven, she embarks on a life-long quest for artistic legitimacy and recognition that carries her from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back to her hometown of Cleveland, from shared apartments to radical art galleries, prison, and a landmark court case challenging the bounds of artistic expression. 
Told through catalog entries for a posthumous exhibit of Lillian’s work, Feast Your Eyes is a vivid portrait of a woman’s triumphant midcentury art career – and the stark sacrifices required for such success.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Alan Zweibel, Laugh Lines
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Tuesday, December 15 • 7:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration

About the Book:
Throughout the pages of Laugh Lines, Zweibel weaves together his own stories and interviews with his friends and contemporaries including Larry David, Richard Lewis, Eric Idle, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, Susie Essman, Dave Barry, Rob Reiner, and more. The book also features a charming foreword from his friend of forty-five years Billy Crystal, with whom he cowrote and coproduced the upcoming film Here Today that stars Crystal and Tiffany Haddish. 
Laugh Lines is a warmhearted cultural memoir of American comedy.

About the Author:
Alan Zweibel started his comedy career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt stand-ups. Then one night, despite bombing on stage, he caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, where he penned classic material for Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and all of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. From SNL, he went on to have a hand in numerous landmark series, from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Yousef Bashir, The Words of My Father
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Sunday, December 20 • 7:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration

About the Author:
Yousef Bashir is a Palestinian American from the Gaza Strip and the son of Khalil Bashir, a highly respected educator. Still suffering the effects of a near- catastrophic injury at the hands of an anonymous Israel Defense Forces soldier, Yousef made his way to the United States, where he earned a BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University and an MA in Coexistence and Conflict from Brandeis University. Now living in Washington, DC, he has worked on Capitol Hill and served as a member of the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States. Yousef is an accomplished author, a vigorous advocate of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and a much sought- after public speaker.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Elayne Klasson, Love Is a Rebellious Bird (community read)
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Thursday, January 21, 2021 • 7:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration

About the Book:
In her bold fiction, Elayne Klasson dives into what it means to sacrifice everything you’ve ever known for a chance at happiness. Love is a Rebellious Bird (She Writes Press, November 12, 2019) follows Judith, a smart and strong woman, who is driven to pursue a man she has loved since childhood. Klasson brings forth the challenging questions of who it is we love and why do we love these people from the perspective of a woman who’s lived with these questions for six decades.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Kenneth Stern, The Conflict Over the Conflict
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Sunday, April 11, 2021 • 12:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration

In partnership with Rhodes College Communities in Conversation and the Jewish Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies department (JIMES).

About the Book:
The Conflict over the Conflict chronicles one of the most divisive and toxic issues on today’s college and university campuses: Israel/Palestine. 
Some pro-Palestinian students call supporters of Israel’s right to exist racist, and disrupt their events. Some pro-Israel students label pro-Palestinian students terrorists, and the Jews among them traitors. Lawsuits are filed. Legislation is proposed. An Executive Order is signed. Faculty members are blacklisted and receive death threats. Academic freedom is compromised and the entire academic enterprise is threatened. How did we get here and what can be done?

In this passionate book, Kenneth S. Stern examines attempts from each side to censor the other at a time when some say students, rather than being challenged to wrestle with difficult issues and ideas, are being quarantined from them. He uniquely frames the examination: our ability to think rationally is inhibited when our identity is fiercely connected to an issue of perceived social justice or injustice, and our proclivity to see in-groups and out-groups – us versus them – is obvious. According to Stern, the campus is the best place to mine this conflict and our intense views about it to help future generations do what they are supposed to do: think. The Conflict over the Conflict shows how this is possible.

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

Bess Kalb, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me (community read)
ZOOM Webinar Author Talk + Q & A

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 • 7:00pm CT
FREE with advance registration

In partnership with the JCCs of Nashville and New Orleans.

About the Book:
Bess Kalb, Emmy-nominated TV writer and New Yorker contributor, saved every voicemail her grandmother Bobby Bell ever left her. Bobby was a force--irrepressible, glamorous, unapologetically opinionated. Bobby doted on Bess; Bess adored Bobby. Then, at ninety, Bobby died. But in this debut memoir, Bobby is speaking to Bess once more, in a voice as passionate as it ever was in life.

Recounting both family lore and family secrets, Bobby brings us four generations of indomitable women and the men who loved them. There's Bobby's mother, who traveled solo from Belarus to America in the 1880s to escape the pogroms, and Bess's mother, a 1970s rebel who always fought against convention. Then there's Bess, who grew up in New York and entered the rough-and-tumble world of L.A. television. Her grandma Bobby was with her all the way--she was the light of Bess's childhood and her fiercest supporter, giving Bess unequivocal love, even if sometimes of the toughest kind.

In Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, Bobby reminds Bess of the experiences they shared, and she delivers--in phone calls, texts, and unforgettable heart-to-hearts brought vividly to the page--her signature wisdom:

Register Now
(Once registered, the ZOOM link will be emailed prior to the event start date.)

** Past Events **

Kevin Kwan
Sex and Vanity

The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASPY fiancé of her family's dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.

About the Book:
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can't stand him. She can't stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can't stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can't stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. "Your mother is Chinese so it's no surprise you'd be attracted to someone like him," Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world--and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

About the Author:
Kevin Kwan is the author of the international bestsellers Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems. Crazy Rich Asians was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a major motion picture, and has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Los Angeles and is trying to eat less pasta.

Al Roker
You Look So Much Better In Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success

About the Book:
Today Show co-anchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of "yes!" These days, the road to success can feel jam-packed with scheduling, networking, nonstop hustle, and flat-out absurdity. And no one knows that better than Al Roker--beloved cohost of The Today Show, weatherperson extraordinaire, and the man we all secretly wish we could turn to for wisdom and wisecracks in our everyday lives. From his college days as a polyester-suit clad weather forecaster in Syracuse to battling and buttering up the "Butter Man" during the legendary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al has learned worthwhile lessons over a long successful career. And now, for the first time, Al is ready to unleash savvy advice on how to embrace happiness and the power of saying "yes," alongside a host of humorous tips and tricks about how to succeed in life.

About the Author:
Al Roker is a co-anchor of NBC's The Today Show, an Emmy-award winning journalist, and a New York Times bestselling author. He lives in New York with his family.


Marian Keyes, Grown Ups
Gigi Levangie, Been There Married That
Laura Zigman, Separation Anxiety 

Hear from three of the most accomplished, dynamic, and FUNNY female novelists of the day! Bestselling authors Marian Keyes, Gigi Levangie, and Laura Zigman will get lit for lunch and dive into topics such as middle age, motherhood, marriage, global pandemics, and more! Read more on the authors

Abigail Gewirtz
When The World Feels Like A Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids

About the Book:
An urgent and necessary book, “When The World Feels Like A Scary Place: Essential Conversations for Anxious Parents and Worried Kids”, Dr. Gewirtz brings solutions to a problem that is only going to get worse- how bad things happening in the world affect our children, and how we can raise engaged and confident kids in spite of them.

About the Author:
Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a child psychologist and leading expert on families under stress, now offers a clear and truly practical guide to having the kind of tough conversations with your kids that really help. But it’s not just how to talk to your kids, it’s also what to say: The heart of the book is a series of conversation scripts, with actual dialogue, talking points, prompts, and insightful asides, each tailored for different ages and centered around different issues.

Erin Brockovich
Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It

From environmental activist, consumer advocate, renowned crusader, champion fighter-maverick, whose courageous case against Pacific Gas and Electric was dramatized in the Oscar-winning film--a book to inspire change that looks at our present situation with water and reveals the imminent threats to our most precious, essential element, and shows us how we can each take action to make changes in our cities, our towns, our villages, before it is too late.

About the Book:
In Erin Brockovich's long-awaited book--her first to reckon with conditions on our planet--she makes clear why we are in the trouble we're in, and how, in large and practical ways, we each can take actions to bring about change. She shows us what's at stake, and writes of the fraudulent science that disguises these issues, along with cancer clusters not being reported. She writes of the saga of PG&E that continues to this day, and of the communities and people she has worked with who have helped to make an impact. She writes of the water operator in Poughkeepsie, New York, who responded to his customers' concerns and changed his system to create some of the safest water in the country; of the moms in Hannibal, Missouri, who became the first citizens in the nation to file an ordinance prohibiting the use of ammonia in their public drinking water; and about how we can protect our right to clean water by fighting for better enforcement of the laws, new legislation, and better regulations. She cannot fight all battles for all people and gives us the tools to take actions ourselves, have our voices be heard, and know that steps are being taken to make sure our water is safe to drink and use.

About the Author:
Erin Brockovich is the president of Brockovich Research & Consulting and the founder of the Erin Brockovich Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to educate and empower communities in their fight for clean water. She hosts her own show on PodcastOne. She lives in Southern California.

Jon Meacham
His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America, brings us an intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present.

About the Book:
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.”

About the Author:
Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer, contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of many New York Times bestsellers, The Hope of Glory, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, and many more. Meacham, who holds the Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, lives in Nashville.

Presented in partnership with The Atlanta History Center and the JCC Literary Consortium

Danielle Renov
Peas, Love and Carrots

About the Book:
Get your High Holidays shopping list ready and prep the kitchen: food blogger and Israeli chef extraordinaire, Danielle Renov, is coming to your kitchen to help you dish up some deliciousness for the holidays! Renov will be making her famous Moroccan Matzah Ball Soup, which also graces the cover of her beautiful new cookbook, Peas Love and Carrots! The cookbook features 254+ approachable recipes and full color photos drawing inspiration from her Sephardic and Ashkenazi roots.

About the Author:
Renov is the blogger/influencer behind the popular brand, and the Instagram account @peaslovencarrots. From her kitchen in Israel, she creates delicious recipes that reflect her multi-cultural background. Part Moroccan and part Ashenaz, she was born and raised in Long Island, New York but moved to Israel where she has lived for the last 10 years with her husband and children. Danielle loves to impart lifestyle tips and hacks, but mostly, she’s just all about good food.


Fred Guttenberg
Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope

“Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know there’s hope.” — Fred Rogers, interview with Television Academy, 1999

Fred Guttenberg loved watching Mr. Rogers with his daughter and his son when they were young. Their favorite piece of wisdom was: in the midst of tragedy and catastrophe, find the helpers.

Life changed forever on Valentine's Day 2018. What was to be a family day celebrating love turned into a nightmare. Thirty-four people were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Jaime Guttenberg, a fourteen-year-old with a huge heart, was the second to last victim. That she and so many of her fellow students were struck down in cold blood galvanized many to action, including Jaime’s father Fred, who was already struggling with deep personal loss. Four months earlier, his brother Michael died of 9/11-induced pancreatic cancer.

Find the Helpers tells the story of Fred Guttenberg’s journey since Jaime’s death and how he has been able to get through the worst of times thanks to the kindness and compassion of others.

Jodi Picoult
The Book of Two Ways

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light comes a riveting novel about the choices that alter the course of our lives.

About the Book:
Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. Thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw 15 years ago: Wyatt Armstrong. Dawn survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients.

But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made. After the crash landing, the airline offers the survivors transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife.

As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried with them.

About the Author:
Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels, including A Spark of Light, Small Great Things, and My Sister’s Keeper. She is also the author, with daughter Samantha van Leer, of two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire.

Deepak Chopra
Total Meditation: Practices In Living the Awakened Life

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there.”

About the Book:
For the last thirty years, Deepak Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution in the West. His new book Total Meditation offers a complete exploration and reinterpretation of the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits that this practice can bring.

“Stop. Take three deep breaths and smile everywhere in your body, observing what’s happening in your body. Proceed now with kindness and understanding.”

Join New York Times bestselling author Deepak Chopra as he guides you on how to wake up to new levels of awareness that will ultimately cultivate a clear vision, heal suffering in your mind and body, and help recover who you really are.

About the Author:
Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is the author of 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Learn more at

Steve Madden
The Cobbler

About the Book:
A college dropout who fell in love with shoes while working in a mom and pop shoe store in his Long Island home town, Steve Madden has taken his eponymous company from the fledgling startup he founded thirty years ago with a mere $1,100 to the global juggernaut we are all familiar with today. Madden’s mistakes over these years, from his battle with addiction to the financial shortcuts that landed him in prison, are as important to his story as his most iconic shoes. In this raw, intimate, and ultimately inspiring book, Madden holds nothing back as he shares what it took to get here and the lessons he’s learned along the way. From his unconventional hiring strategies to his slavish devotion to product, Madden offers a business perspective that is as unique as his styles.

In The Cobbler, readers are treated to the wild ride though his rise, fall, and comeback. But they will also walk away uplifted by a man who has owned up to his mistakes and is determined to give back and use his hard-won platform to create positive change.

About the Author:
Steve Madden is an entrepreneur, award-winning shoe designer, and business titan. He is a recovering addict, devoted family man, philanthropist, and mentor who supports a number of organizations that help those in need of a second chance. 2020 marks the 30 year anniversary of Steve Madden.

Ben Sheehan
OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say?

About the Author:
A former award-winning executive producer at Funny Or Die, Sheehan’s mission to increase voter participation began in 2016 where he used digital videos to help register 50,000 new voters as executive director of Joss Whedon’s Save the Day PAC. In 2018 he founded OMG WTF (Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida) to teach voters about executive races during the midterm elections. That project generated Gerrymander Jewelry—a finalist for Fast Company's World Changing Ideas 2019—and now OMG WTF Does the Constitution Actually Say?, an essential primer on how our government was designed to work. Using clear commentary and graphics, Sheehan has annotated the entire Constitution, from its preamble through the amendments, explaining the document’s provisions, pointing out its loopholes, and giving readers everything they need to know to become informed, effective voters. A Spanish version is also available, as well as the companion journal OMG WTF Is Gerrymandering? A Journal for Concerned Citizens.

Originally from Washington, D.C., Sheehan graduated magna cum laude from Emory University with a B.A. in American Studies and Political Science and holds an M.A. from New York University in Music Business. In 2018 he was named one of the entertainment industry’s “NextGen: 35 Rising Executives Under 35” by The Hollywood Reporter. The digital videos he’s been involved with have received over a billion views.

Watch Video Now

Bill Haltom
Why Can’t Mother Vote?

In partnership with the Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Midsouth.

About the Book:
Why Can’t Mother Vote: Joseph Hanover and the Unfinished Business of Democracy, tells the story of a Jewish immigrant from Poland who believed so strongly that women should vote that he ran for the Tennessee General Assembly to support woman suffrage. Hanover’s contribution has been largely overlooked and this book adds to the historical record of those who were significant in the struggle for American women to become enfranchised.

About the Author:
Author Bill Haltom of Memphis, who is also an attorney, said Hanover’s story is inspirational and shows the impact one committed person can make. He interviewed several members of the extended Hanover family to tell this story.

Watch Video Now

Meg Waite Clayton
The Last Train to London

About the Book:
An international bestseller published in 20 languages and a Jewish Book Award finalist, The Last Train To London, by New York Times bestselling author, Meg Waite Clayton, is the story of an exceptional woman who risks everything to rescue Jewish children from the Nazis. A riveting depiction of a terrible time, The Last Train To London offers a transcendent reminder about the power of ordinary people to achieve the extraordinary.

Watch Video Now

Natan Sharansky & Gil Troy
Never Alone

During these tumultuous times, when much of the world has been in isolation because of the pandemic and now out in the streets protesting injustices, one voice that stands out is Natan Sharansky. He is intimately familiar with the extreme pain of isolation because he spoke out against injustice and totalitarianism. He spent nine years in the Soviet gulag—half of that time in solitary confinement—followed by nine years in the Israeli government, and another nine years running the Jewish Agency confronting challenges faced by world Jewry. His new book, Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People (Public Affairs; September 1, 2020) co-written with historian Gil Troy, is part memoir, part political discourse, and part history. And, it is a resounding cry out against totalitarianism in all its forms.

A deeply personal and simultaneously analytical work, Sharansky shares his life story grappling with his journey as a Refusenik, Soviet dissident, political prisoner, head of a new immigrants party in Israel, member of the Israeli parliament, a minister in four Israeli governments, human rights advocate, and head of the Jewish Agency, the organization responsible for supporting new immigrants to Israel and handling relations with the world-wide Jewish diaspora.

Throughout his life, what has sustained him is knowing he was never alone fighting for justice, even when in solitary confinement. “Real change occurs when each person stops being controlled by fear and stands up to be counted,” says Sharansky. In Never Alone, written with brutal honesty, affection, and humor, Sharansky reflects on the three distinct nine-year periods of his life, offering profound insights into his faith, people, and humanity at large.

Profoundly compelling and powerful, Never Alone is a classic account of courage, integrity, and, most of all, belonging. Both Natan Sharansky and Gil Troy, a history professor at McGill University, are available for interviews. If you are interested, please contact either Johanna Dickson, or Malka Margolies,

Joan Lunden
Why Did I Come Into This Room?

About the Author:
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 5 presidents, 5 Olympics, and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families, and their health.

About the Book:
In her most candid and revealing book yet, acclaimed broadcast journalist and baby boomer Joan Lunden delves into the various phases of aging that leave many feeling uncomfortable, confused, and on edge. In this hilarious book, Lunden takes the dull and depressing out of aging, replacing it with wit and humor. After all, laughing is better than crying—unless it makes you pee! Whether you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or more, this book is full of helpful information to embrace or at least prepare for the inevitable.

Rachel Beanland & Kristin Harmel
Florence Adler Swims Forever
The Book of Lost Names

About the Book:
At its core, FLORENCE ADLER SWIMS FOREVER, is a brilliant depiction of a bygone era of the Jersey Shore, a great novel of big dreams and loss. Based on a true story of her great-great aunt, and told in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions and Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, Beanland’s family saga is a breathtaking portrait of just how far we will go to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.

About the Author:
Rachel Beanland writes fiction and essays. Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction and Broad Street, among other places. She has an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds bachelor’s degrees in art history and journalism from the University of South Carolina. Before turning to writing full-time, Rachel worked in public relations and nonprofit management. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and three children. FLORENCE ADLER SWIMS FOREVER is her debut novel.

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

About the Book:
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.

Running through the narrative is the drama of the medical madness Fox recently experienced, that included his daily negotiations with the Parkinson’s disease he’s had since 1991, and a spinal cord issue that necessitated immediate surgery. His challenge to learn how to walk again, only to suffer a devastating fall, nearly caused him to ditch his trademark optimism and “get out of the lemonade business altogether.”

About the Author:
Michael J. Fox gained fame playing Alex P. Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties. His blockbuster movies include Back to the FutureThe Secret of My Success, Doc HollywoodCasualties of War and The American President. He returned to television in his award-winning lead role on Spin City, followed by guest appearances in series like Rescue Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Good Wife. His many awards include five Emmys, four Golden Globes, one Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the People’s Choice award, and GQ Man of the Year. In 2000, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which is now the leading Parkinson’s organization in the world. He is the author of three previous New York Times bestselling books: Lucky ManAlways Looking Up, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future. Michael lives with his family in New York City.

For more information about the Michael J. Fox Foundation, please visit

Rachel Bloom
I Want To Be Where The Normal People Are 

In the vein of Mindy Kaling, Ali Wong, and Amy Poehler, a collection of hilarious personal essays, poems and even amusement park maps on the subjects of insecurity, fame, anxiety, and much more from the charming and wickedly funny creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. 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 female friendships 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).

Thank you to all our sponsors!

Current Passport to Discovery Patrons

Mike and Sharon Goldstein
Temple Israel
Donnie and Shelley Levy
Pace and Aileen Cooper
Ken and Jill Steinberg
Scott and Suzanne Baum
Elkan and Laurie Scheidt
Wendy and Morris Thomas
Sandy Goldstein
Mike and Sharon Goldstein
Pamela Perchik
Jerome and Evelyn Makowsky
Eileen Posner
Marilyn Notowich
Mitch and Jeri Moskovitz
Pat and Janis Finan
Lester and Roslyn Lit
Rubin Salant


Literary Series Committee

Mimi Grossman, Co-Chair
Jill Notowich, Co-Chair

Lisa Frisch
Susan Labovitz
Jackie Mandell
Jeri Moskovitz
Elissa Taub
Joy Wilk
Jennifer Ross
Sandy Goldstein

Become a Passport to Discovery Patron of the Arts and receive tickets and VIP seating to events!

Questions about the Series?

Marcy Stagner
Program Director for Cultural Arts & Adult Services

(901) 259-9230

Jeremy Weiser
Chief Operating Officer
(901) 259-9235