As the holidays quickly descend, consider book events — as well as books -- as gifts for the bibliophile.
The Broward County Public Library Foundation’s popular Book With Brunch on Dec. 6 will feature New York Times best-selling author Andra Watkins beginning at 10:30 a.m. at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Cost is $25 for nonmembers; call 954-357-7382.
Watkins writes both fiction and nonfiction, including the memoir “Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace,” and the novel “I Am Number 13,” the third in her “Nowhere Series,” which has been called a blend of suspense, speculative history and paranormal fiction. “Nowhere” is the “in-between world” for those whose deaths are unsolved. Others in her series are “To Live Forever,” about Meriwether Lewis, and “Hard to Die,” an afterlife story of Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Aaron Burr.
The Foundation’s annual LitLunch, which generally sells out quickly, will feature international best-selling author Elizabeth Berg on Feb. 8. Berg has been called one of the best chroniclers of female friendship. She has been honored by Oprah Winfrey, named a “literary light” by the Boston Public Library and awarded the State of Illinois Literary Heritage Award. Her 19 novels, including her 2017 “The Story of Arthur Truluv” have been published in 30 countries.
LitLunch is 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Mary N. Porter Riverview Ballroom in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Individual tickets are $100 and include a signed copy of Berg’s latest book “Night of Miracles.” Call 954-357-7382. Premium tables for 10 are $1,250, which guarantees signed copies of “Night of Miracles” for each guest, a table photo and prime table position; call 954-357-8086. Reservations also can be made at bplfoundation.org/litlunch-2019.
The LitLunch is the kick-off event for Literary Feast, the foundation’s biggest event of the year, scheduled to begin March 1, 2019.
JCC festival features politics, fiction
The Mandel Jewish Community Center continues its 24th annual Book Festival this month with several events at its two venues. For information, visit JCConline.com/artsandculture or call 877-318-0071.
As a progressive commentator on Fox News and CNN, Sally Kohn often bridges political differences, and that approach has led to her first book “The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Humanity,” which looks at the cultural roots of hate. Kohn will discuss her book at 10 a.m. Dec. 4 at Temple Beth El, 2815 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. Tickets are $38 for members and/or participating Sisterhoods; $42 for guests.
Jenna Blum will be on hand to discuss her novel “The Lost Family” during the festival’s Bagels and Books series, beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 11 at the Mandel JCC, 5221 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens. Tickets range from $15 to $18. “The Lost Family” centers on a young man anguished by his experiences in the Holocaust as he begins a new family and a career as a chef during 1965.
Robert Watson, professor of American Studies at Lynn University and Senior Fellow at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, discusses two historical events as part of the festival. First up is “Hamilton: The Man, the Myth, the Musical…Mensch,” which looks at the Founding Father’s Jewish roots and close relationship with the Revolutionary-era Jewish community in America and the back story behind the Broadway musical at 10 a.m. Dec. 5 at the JCC, 8500 Jog Road, Boynton Beach. Tickets range from $18 to $22. Watson discusses “Fascinating Lives of America’s First Ladies” at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the JCC in Palm Beach Gardens. Tickets range from $28 to $32.
Ending the year in verse
End the year with a bit of poetry with Bards of a Feather, the free round-robin open mic reading, begins at 1 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Green Cay Nature Preserve, Community Room, 12800 Hagen Ranch Road, Boynton Beach. Bring up to four poems, original or not, to share with the group. Non-poets are welcome to attend. For more information, visit palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
Detecting a bargain at SleuthFest
Looking for another holiday gift for book lovers? Aspiring writers as well as avid readers will want to mark March 14-17, 2019, on their calendars for SleuthFest 2019, the writers’ conference. The four-day conference, sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, features sessions on writing, marketing and promoting your work with an array of writers, editors and agents at the Embassy Suites, 661 NW 53rd St., Boca Raton. The three-day registration for members is $380 now until Jan. 15 and $405 after Jan. 15. Registration for non-members is $420 until Jan. 15 and $445 after Jan. 15.
Third-Degree Thursday is an extra day of hands-on workshops taught by masters of the craft before the main conference; regular price is $85; the educator and librarian price is $50. For more information, visit sleuthfest.com, where a portion of the schedule is posted. Keynote speaker will be multi-Edgar Award-winning author T. Jefferson Parker. Among the authors who will be teaching workshops are Alexia Gordon, Alex Segura, Tom Straw and Elaine Viets.
Deadline for January Local Books is Dec. 20; email email@example.com.