2018 JBookFest Event Dates!

Saturday, October 20 | 7:00 PM
Yvette M Corporon   Something Beautiful Happened

Location: Chez Zee



Yvette Manessis Corporon grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about how the people of the small Greek Island Erikousa hid a Jewish family-- a tailor named Savvas and his daughters-- from the Nazis during World War II. Nearly 2,000 Jews from that area died in the concentration camps, but even though everyone on Erikousa knew Savvas and his family were hiding on the island, no one ever gave them up and the family survived the war. Years later, Yvette decided to track down the man’s descendants - and eventually found them in Israel. Their tearful reunion was proof to her that evil doesn’t always win. But just days after she made the connection, her cousin’s child was gunned down in a parking lot in Kansas, a victim of a Neo-Nazi out to influence as much harm as he could. Despite her best hopes she was forced to confront the fact that seventy years after the Nazis were defeated, remainders of their hateful legacy still lingered today. As Yvette and her family wrestled with the tragedy in their own lives, the lessons she learned from the survivors of the Holocaust helped her control and make sense of the present.

Sunday, October 28 | 11 AM
Chloe Benjamin   The Immortalists
Location: Texas State Capitol


If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness sneak out to hear their fortunes. The prophecies inform their next five decades.

Sunday, November 4 | 1:30 PM
Julian Voloj   The Joe Shuster Story
Location: JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

Everyones knows Superman, but not everyone knows the story of two youngsters from Cleveland who created Superman. Based on archival material and original sources, The Joe Shuster Story: The Artist Behind Superman tells the story of the friendship between writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, and puts it into the wider context of the American comic book industry.

Sunday, November 4 | 2:30 PM
Joanne Oppenheim  The Knish War On Rivington   
Location: JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

102 years ago, there really was an epic food war on the Lower East Side. A price war between Max Green, who claimed to have invented the knish and an interloper, Murray London, who opened up a knishery directly across the street. Their penny-by-penny price war begins but quickly grows into a competition with hilarious add-ons— an ump-pa-pa-band, an all-ladies orchestra, raffles free samples — all to outdo the other.

Monday, November 5  | 7:30 PM
Iris Martin Cohen    The Little Clan       
Location:  JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

A love letter to classic literature and an illuminating look at newfound adulthood. Ava Gallanter is the librarian in residence at the Lazarus Club, an ancient, dwindling Manhattan arts club full of eccentric geriatric residents stuck in a long-gone era. Twety-five-year-old Ava, however, feels right at home. She leads a quiet life, surrounded by her beloved books and sequestered away from her peers. When Ava’s enigmatic friend Stephanie returns after an unplanned year abroad, the intoxication opportunist vows to rescue Ava from a life of obscurity. Stephanie, on the hunt for fame and fortune, promise to make Ava’s dream of becoming a writer come true, and together they start a Victorian-inspired literal salon at the Lazarus Club. However, Ava’s romanticized idea of the salon quickly erode as Stephanie’s ambitions take the women in an unexpected—and precarious—direction.


Wednesday, November 7 | 11 AM
Juli Berwald    Spineless - The Science Of Jellyfish and The Art of Growing a Backbone
Location: JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

~ $45 ticket cost ~

Jellyfish are an enigma. They have no centralized brain, but they see and feel and react to their environment in complex ways. They look simple, yet their propulsion systems are so advanced engineers are just learning how to mimic them. They produce some of the deadliest toxins on the planet and yet are undeniably alluring. Long ignored by silence, they may be the key to ecosystem stability. Juli Berwald’s journey into the world of jellyfish is a personal one. Over a decade ago she left the sea and her scientific career behind to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas. Increasingly dire headlines drew her back to jellies, as unprecedented jellyfish blooms toppled ecosystems and collapsed the world’s most productive fisheries. What was unclear was whether these incidents were symptoms of a changing planet or part of a natural cycle.

Saturday, November 10 | 8 PM
Mike Reiss  Springfield Confidential 
Location: JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

Four-time Emmy winner Mike Reiss - who has worked on The Simpsons since episode one in 1989, shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family. Riss explains how the episodes are created and provides an inside look at the show’s writers, animators, actors and celebrity guests. In his freewheeling, irreverent comic style, Reiss reflects on his lifetime inside The Simpsons — a personal highlights reel of his achievements, observations, and favorite stories. Springfield Confidential exposes why Matt Groening decided to make all the characters yellow; dishes on what it’s like to be crammed in a room full of funny writers sixty hours a week; tells what Reiss learned after traveling to seventy-one countries where the Simpsons is watched (ironic note: there’s no electricity in many of these places); and even reveals where Springfield is located!


Wednesday, November 14  | 7:15 PM
Lior B. Sternfeld    Between Iran and Zion   
Location:  Temple Beth Shalom, JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

Iran is home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East, outside Israel. At its peak in the twentieth century, the population numbered around 100,000; today about 25,000 Jews live in Iran. Between Iran and Zion offers the first history of this vibrant community over the course of the last century, from the 1905 Constitution Revolution through the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over this period, Iranian Jews grew from a peripheral community into a prominent one that has made clear impacts on daily life in Iran.


Date TBD: Details coming soon! 
Tal Keinan    God Is In The Crowd       
Location:  JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

Born to a secular Jewish family in Florida, Tal Keinan developed an early interest in Judaism, piqued by a Christian minister at Exeter. That interest took him down an unlikely path to becoming a fighter pilot in the Israel Air Force. After years of service, he began to question what he was fighting for. Realizing he knew little about Judaism, Keinan then set out on a mission to educate himself. What he discovered was that Judaism is very much worth saving, but also that the number of Jews in the world is decreasing at an alarming rate. What could be done to reverse those numbers?


Sunday, January 13  | 1:30 PM
Erica Perl    All Three Stooges       
Location:  JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

Spoiler alert: This book is not about the Three Stooges. It's about Noah and Dash, two seventh graders who are best friends and comedy junkies. That is, they were best friends until Dash’s father died suddenly and Dash shut Noah out. (Which Noah deserved, according to Not, the girl who, annoyingly, shares both his name and his bar mitzvah day.) Now Noah’s confusion, frustration, and determination to get through to Dash are threatening to destroy more than just their friendship. But what choices does he have? As Noah sees it, sometimes you need to risk losing everything, even your sense of humor, to prove that gone doesn’t have to mean “gone for good”.


Wednesday, February 6  | 7:00 PM
Cathy Barrow    Pie Squared       
Location:  JCC Austin, 7300 Hart Lane

For those of you who aren’t up on your Pinterest food trends, slab pie is just like regular pie—only better (and bigger)! Instead of crimping and meticulously rolling out a round crust, slab pies are an unfussy twist that is perfect for a potluck or dinner party or just a family dinner. Baked on sheet pans, slab pies can easily serve a crowd of people dinner or dessert. Pie Squared includes seventy-five foolproof recipes, along with inventive decoration tips that will appeal to baking nerds and occasional bakers alike. And this fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will surely pique the interest of those who have previously been recitation to take out their rolling pin.


Shalom Austin is in partnership with Amazon Smile! If you choose to purchase a copy of any of these books by clicking the link and choosing Shalom Austin as the charitable organization you'd like to donate to, we will receive a portion of the proceeds from your purchase!