And not because I like pumpkin pie. And definitely not because fall is waning and we begin the unavoidable trek into winter. No. The eleventh month is high on my list because November is Jewish Book Month, celebrated with a book lover’s equivalent to a ninth inning grand slam — Jewish Book Fairs.
You don’t have to be Jewish to love and attend Jewish Book Fairs. You just have to love books. Like them even. Each November, Jewish Community Centers across the country host authors galore who come to speak about their latest books. There are luncheons, Q&A’s with the authors, there are books to peruse and book lovers to chat up. There are books to buy (natch) and have autographed. What makes it Jewish? Author or subject matter. Or both. What makes it wonderful? All those books. All that energy. All those people who thrill at the written word and the authors eager to share their latest work.
Book history fact: Detroit is the birthplace of the auto industry, Vernor’s, Saunder’s fudge and my two beloved children. It’s also the birthplace of the very first Jewish Book Fair. Begun right here more than fifty years ago by Irwin Shaw, of blessed memory, Jewish Book Fairs are one reason publishers are willing to take a chance on so many books of Jewish interest. They know there is a readership and built-in promotional structure.
Now organized nationwide by Carolyn Hessel and her great folks at the Jewish Book Council, every major and not-so-major US city has a Jewish Book Fair (or Festival) in November. Check it out. Call your local JCC. Bring a friend or two. Or three or four.
With the publication of I Love Jewish Faces, I’m on the Book Fair circuit this year: New Haven JCC (Woodbridge, CT) November 3 at 6pm; Detroit Jewish Book Fair (Oak Park & West Bloomfield, MI) November 8th at 12:30pm & 3pm respectively) and in Ann Arbor, MI on November 15th, from 10 am – noon. Come give a listen.
So wherever you live, and whatever you love to read, attend your local community’s Jewish Book Fair. November will never be the same.