By Jim Israel
The Community Bookstore of Park Slope, located at 143 7th Avenue, sometimes resembles the ‘Little Engine That Could,’ in its ability to offer interesting events around its livelihood and, not coincidentally, its passion: books.
Commencing on October 24, the Community Bookstore and Congregation Beth Elohim will be co-hosting a series of five book ‘conversations, titled ‘Brooklyn by the Book.’
The first one, ‘Jerusalem: A Cookbook’, will take place this Wednesday, October 24, at 7:30 pm at the synagogue located on the corner of Garfield Place and 8th Avenue. Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, author of ‘Plenty,’ and Sami Tamini, co-owner of the Ottolenghi restaurants, each born in Jerusalem of the same year, will discuss the great food traditions of Jerusalem. The discussion will be moderated by Rozanne Gold, multiple winner of the James Beard Award.
‘Ma-am, pass that overflowing plate of latkes and the dish of chopped chicken liver, please!’
If you’re a bibliophile, here’s an extraordinary opportunity: on November 1, at 7:30 pm, Paul Auster, the renowned novelist/memorist and Brooklyn resident, will be chatting with Don DeLillo, an equally distinguished writer. The occasion coincides with the dual publications of Mr. Auster’s latest memoir, ‘Winter Journal’, and the paperback edition of Mr. DeLillo’s collection of short stories, ‘The Angel Esmeralda’. This is a rare public appearance for both authors to discuss their work. [A dim memory: I was in college with Peter Auster; I recall he was very shy, taciturn and brilliant. We were all in awe of him.]
On November 15, at 7 pm, author Bob Spitz will be in conversation with Melissa Clark about the book, ‘Dearie,’ his biography of the extraordinary life of Julia Child, who, perhaps singlehandedly, altered how Americans approach dining – to our eternal gratitude, I should add. Lev Grossman, book reviewer at Time magazine, called the book “a revelation.”
The next conversation is scheduled for November 28, 7:30 pm: its theme is Jewish athletes. Yes, I know all the jokes, but, indeed, New Republic editor Franklin Foer, author of ‘How Soccer Explains the World,’ will chat with co-editor Marc Tracy about their anthology of essays covering the great Jewish sports figures in history, titled ‘Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame.’ Readers, please allow this writer to come up with a subhead to this talk – ‘After Sandy Koufax, Who Else?’
The last of the ‘Brooklyn by the Book’ events is on Thursday, December 6, at 7:30 pm. Gretchen Rubin will be discussing latest book, ‘Happier at Home’, in which Ms. Rubin experiments with making her home a happier place over a single school year. Her previous best-selling book was ‘The Happiness Project.’
All five book events, as mentioned previously, will take place at Congregation Beth Elohim [CBE] 274 Garfield Place. Individual sessions are free for CBE members, and $10, suggested donation, for all others. For more information, please stop by the bookstore, or check the CBE website.