If January is any indication, 2016 is off to a terrific start for book-related events.
A Wizard for The Big Read
The Florida Center for the Book kicks off 2016 with The Big Read of Ursula K. Le Guin's "A Wizard of Earthsea," one of the most widely admired American fantasy novels — and coming-of-age tales — of the past 50 years. Suitable for all ages, "A Wizard of Earthsea" is the tale of Ged, Earthsea's greatest sorcerer who, in his youthful pursuit of power, tampered with long-held secrets. The Big Read, continuing through February, is a community-wide reading project. It is one of the programs of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. For more information, visit Broward.org/Library/Read. Pre-registration for events is recommended.
January events geared to The Big Read include:
Jan. 21, 4 to 6 p.m.: The Big Read kick-off party: Artist Cory Laub discusses fav
orite fantasy novels for ages 13 to 18. Free copies of "A Wizard of Earthsea" while supplies last. Alvin Sherman Library, Nova Southeastern University, 3100 Ray Ferrero, Jr. Blvd., Davie, 954-262-5477.
Jan. 23, 10:30 a.m. to noon: Collaborative storytelling with the Creation Station staff. Main Library, 100 S Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-357-7444.
Jan. 28, 2 to 4 p.m.: Before Harry Potter, Le Guin created her saga of dragons, mortals and magic. NSU professor Chris Jackson discusses how these stories resonate with today's readers. West Regional Library, 8601 W Broward Blvd., Plantation, 954-765-1560.
Book discussions: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Carver Ranches Library, 4735 SW 18 St., West Park, 954-357-6245; 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 12 at South Regional/Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, 954-201-8825; 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 16 at Deerfield Beach Percy White Library, 837 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach, 954-357-7680; 5-5:45 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Miramar Branch Library & Education Center, 2050 Civic Center Place, Miramar, 954-357-8090; 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Stirling Road Library, 3151 Stirling Road, Hollywood, 954-357-7550; 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at North Regional/Broward College Library, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek, 954-201-2600; 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Library, 1 Park Avenue East, Dania Beach, 954-357-7073.
Writers LIVE! in Palm Beach
The Palm Beach Library system jam packs its annual Writers LIVE! program with an array of reader-favorite events. British writer Val McDermid discusses her latest Carol Jordan/Tony Hill thriller "Splinter the Silence" at 2 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Gardens Branch, 11303 Campus Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, 561-626-6133. Janice Kaplan discusses her New York Times best-seller "The Gratitude Diaries," about how living gratefully transformed her marriage, work and health, at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the West Boynton Branch, 9451 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, 561-734-5556.
Scott Turow, whose 1987 ground-breaking "Presumed Innocent" launched a new wave of legal thrillers, will be the featured speaker during the Palm Beach Peril panel 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth, 561-586-6410. Turow will be joined by debut thriller authors Matthew FitzSimmons, "The Short Drop"; Cheryl Hollon, "Pane and Suffering"; Karen Katchur, "The Secrets of Lake Road"; Emily Ross, "Half in Love With Death"; and Tim Washburn, "Powerless."
Jewish book festivals return
January will be a busy month for Jewish-related book events.
David Posnack JCC: Former Congressman Barney Frank discusses his memoir, "A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage" at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 during the Diane & Barry Wilen Jewish Book Festival at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center, 5850 S. Pine Island Road, Davie. WFOR-Ch. 4's Ted Scouten will moderate. Admission is $18 for members; $22 for nonmembers. VIP admission for members is $50 and $55 for nonmembers, includes a meet and greet with Frank, a book signing in advance of the program and author presentation.
Thane Rosenbaum discusses his novel "How Sweet It Is" set in 1972 Miami Beach, during the heyday of political conventions, Jackie Gleason, Meyer Lansky and Frank Sinatra, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14. Tickets $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers. A book signing follows.
The festival also launches its Wine & Words author series featuring a monthly video chat with an author through April. Lisa See, author of "China Dolls," kicks off the series at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20. Tickets are $5 for members, $8 for nonmembers. Reservations required.
The new lecture series JTalks will feature university professors discussing various topics. Florida International University religious studies associate professor Oren Stier discusses his book "Holocaust Icons: Symbolizing the Shoah in History and Memory" at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Stier will offer insight on the Holocaust's powerful symbols, including yellow stars of David and images of Anne Frank. Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers in advance; $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers at the door.
Tickets for all programs may be purchased at dpjcc.org/culturalarts, at 954-434-0499, ext. 336, or at the door if available.
Levis JCC: Hoda Kotb, co-anchor of the "Today Show" and a "Dateline NBC" correspondent, will talk about her new book, "Where We Belong: Journeys That Show Us the Way," with stories of people who have found their life's purpose in unexpected ways, at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 10 at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, in Zinman Hall, 9901 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton. Tickets are $15 to $30; VIP seating is $65, which includes preferential seating, a complimentary copy of the book and a meet and greet with Kotb at 10 a.m. For tickets, call 561-558-2520 or visit levisjcc.org.
Mandel JCC: The Mandel Jewish Community Center has scheduled a diverse array of authors for January at the JCC Palm Beach Gardens, 5221 Hood Road, and at the JCC, 8500 Jog Road, Boynton Beach. For more information on the following events, visit jcconline.com/specialevents, or jcconline.com/bookfestival, or call 561-712-5200.
Anthony Sciolino, a retired family court judge and ordained Roman Catholic deacon, will discuss his book "The Holocaust, The Church, And The Law of Unintended Consequences," which details how thousands of Christians risked their lives to save Jews, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 10 in Palm Beach Gardens. Tickets, which include brunch, are $12 for members and $16 for guests. Advance registration encouraged. To register, contact Gail Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-712-5253.
Karen Gooen discusses "Searching for Bubbe Fischer: The Path to Mah Jongg Wisdom" at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Boynton Beach JCC, and at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Palm Beach Gardens JCC. Part manual, part memoir, Gooen's book tells the story of a novice player's quest for the ultimate mentor, with mah jongg lessons for players of all levels. Registration, which includes a light brunch, is $25 for members and $30 for guests.
Shulem Deen, former Skverer Hasid and founding editor of Unpious, will discuss "All Who Go Do Not Return," a memoir about growing up in and then leaving the Hasidic Jewish world, at 10 a.m. Jan. 12 at the Boynton Beach JCC, 561-740-9000. Cost is $18 for members; $25 for nonmembers.
Nina Wolff Feld discusses her novel "Someday You Will Understand," about how her family became a part of the last Jewish refugees admitted to the United States before Pearl Harbor, at 2 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Boynton Beach JCC. Call 561-740-9000 for details.
'Shark Tank' star
With no funding and a $40 budget, Daymond John had an idea that eventually launched the FUBU brand into a $6 billion global enterprise. John, who also is one of the stars of ABC's "Shark Tank," discusses his book "The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage" at 1 p.m. Jan. 31 at Barnes & Noble, 2051 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-561-3732.
Delray showcases authors
The Delray Beach Library, 100 W. Atlantic Ave., has a full schedule for January. For more information, call 561-266-9490 or visit delraylibrary.org.
Journalist Bob Brink discusses his book "Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died," about the 1976 death of Rodger Kriger, at 2 p.m. Jan. 8.
The library's 17th annual Author's Showcase begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 10 with 12 writers of different genres discussing their work. Authors include: Nonfiction: Barrie Brett, "Moments of Being;" Bob Brink, "Murder in Palm Beach;" Joan Lipinsky Cochran, "Still Missing: Stories of Black & Jews in Mid-Century Miami;" Ronald Feinman, "Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency;" Susan Goldfein, "How Old Am I in Dog Years?;" Alexander (Sandy) Simon, "The Renaissance of a Village by the Sea;" Josette Veltri, "Next Step, New Start." Fiction: Mark Jay Gang, "Changing Destiny: The Untold Story of Anastasia;" Alexandra Goodwin, "Exchange At The Border;" Suzanne Snyder–Carroll, "On the Edge of Dangerous Things." Poetry: Janice Sussman, "Trilogy of Dance." Memoir: Marilyn Murray Willison, "One Woman, Four Decades, Eight Wishes."
Poetry Festival's 12th year
The 12th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival is Jan. 18-23 with Robert Hass, former United States Poet Laureate (1995-1997) and 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner, as special guest poet. Workshops, lectures, readings, panel discussions and interviews are scheduled at Old School Square, 51 N Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Other nationally renowned poets scheduled include Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Dominique Christina, Carl Dennis, Denise Duhamel, Carol Frost, Thomas Lux, Alan Shapiro, Tom Sleigh, Marc Kelly Smith, Mary Szybist and Kevin Young. For a list of free and ticketed events, visit palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
Kravis Center's academy
The Writers' Academy at the Kravis Center returns with Pulitzer-Prize nominated biographer Julie Gilbert leading writing courses for new and developing writers in the Kravis Center's Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. For more information, call 561-832-7469 or visit kravis.org.
The seminar Kickstart Your Writing Ability geared for beginners starts at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 5; tickets are $25. The interactive Writers Circle in which writers read from works in progress for constructive feedback meets 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 11, 25; Feb. 8, 22; March 7, 21; April 4,18; cost is $500. The eight-week Writers' Launch focusing on technique and style begins 1:30 p.m. Jan. 19, 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; and March 1, 8; registration is $300.
Reviewing the reviewers
A discussion on books criticism will be the program during the luncheon of the Fort Lauderdale branch of the National League of American Pen Women beginning at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14 at the Olive Garden, 5550 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-776-3341. Cost is $25. For registration, call 954-812-1860 by Jan. 11. For more information, visit nlapw-ftl.com.
Save on Sleuthfest
It's not too late to save money by registering early for Sleuthfest, considered to be one of the top conferences devoted to the craft of writing. Sponsored by the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Sleuthfest will be Feb. 25-28 at the Doubletree, Interstate 95 and Hillsboro Boulevard, Deerfield Beach. Writers of any genre will find a bounty of information discussed during the conference's panels and discussions. Guests of honor will be C.J. Box, author of the novels about Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, Florida honoree P.J. Parrish, and forensics guest of honor Valerie Plame, a former CIA covert operations officer, in addition to other published authors, agents and editors. Details on Sleuthfest and registration at sleuthfest.com. Registration, which includes some meals, through Jan. 15 is $365 for members and $405 for nonmembers. After Jan. 15, the price goes up to $390 for members; $430 for nonmembers.
Items for consideration in the February Local Books News column are due Jan. 20. Email email@example.com.