Literatour is a community-wide celebration in its fifth year with 12 exceptional events featuring authors, celebrities, and cultural influencers throughout Berks County from September 2023 to May 2024.

 

Literatour is being presented by Jewish Federation of Reading in partnership with Exeter Community Library.

3/13/2024
11:00 AM
JCC
​ Rosanne Leipzig
“ Honest Aging: An Insider’s Guide to the Second Half of Life”

 

From Dr. Rosanne M. Leipzig, a top doctor with more than 35 years of experience caring for older people, Honest Aging is an indispensable guide to the second half of life, describing what to expect physically, psychologically, functionally, and emotionally as you age. Leipzig, an expert in evidence-based geriatrics, highlights how 80-year-olds differ from 60-year-olds and why knowing this is important for your health. With candor, humor, and empathy, this book will provide you with the knowledge and practical advice to optimize aging. The book helps you recognize age-related changes in your body and mind and understand what’s typical with aging and what’s not.

Honest Aging provides guidance for common health concerns, including problems with memory, energy, mood, sleep, weight, sex, and more. Leipzig shares advice on how to make decisions about health care, driving, and where to live, and she includes helpful checklists and lists of medications to prepare for doctor and hospital visits. Enriched by illustrations, patient stories, and deep dives into science and the latest research, Honest Aging gives you the too.

4/3/2024
6:00 PM
Exeter Community Library
Rachel Beanland
“The House is on Fire”

 

Richmond, Virginia, 1811. At the city’s only theater, the Charleston-based Placide & Green Company puts on two plays a night to meet the demand of a populace that’s done looking for enlightenment at the front of a church. On the night after Christmas, the theater is packed with more than six hundred holiday revelers. In the third-floor boxes, sits newly-widowed Sally Henry Campbell, who is glad for any opportunity to relive the happy times she shared with her husband. One floor away, in the colored gallery, Cecily Patterson doesn’t give a whit about the play but is grateful for a four-hour reprieve from a life that has recently gone from bad to worse. Backstage, young stagehand Jack Gibson hopes that, if he can impress the theater’s managers, he’ll be offered a permanent job with the company. And on the other side of town, blacksmith Gilbert Hunt dreams of one day being able to bring his wife to the theater, but he’ll have to buy her freedom first.

When the theater goes up in flames in the middle of the performance, Sally, Cecily, Jack, and Gilbert make a series of split-second decisions that will not only affect their own lives but those of countless others. And in the days following the fire, as news of the disaster spreads across the United States, the paths of these four people will become forever intertwined.

4/16/2024
12:00 PM
JCC: Noontime Knowledge
Richard Hurowitz
“In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust”

 

These powerfully illuminating and inspiring profiles pay tribute to the incredible deeds of the Righteous Among the Nations, little-known heroes who saved countless lives during the Holocaust.

Less than a century ago, the Second World War took the lives of more than fifty million people; more than six million of them were systematically exterminated through crimes of such enormity that a new name to describe the horror was coined: the Holocaust. Yet amid such darkness, there were glimmers of light—courageous individuals who risked everything to save those hunted by the Nazis. Today, as bigotry and intolerance and the threats of fascism and authoritarianism are ascendent once again, these heroes’ little-known stories—among the most remarkable in human history—resonate powerfully. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, has recognized more than 27,000 individuals as “Righteous Among the Nations”—non-Jewish people such as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler who risked their lives to save their persecuted neighbors.

In the Garden of the Righteous chronicles extraordinary acts at a time when the moral choices were stark, the threat immense, and the passive apathy of millions predominated. Deeply researched and astonishingly moving, it focuses on ten remarkable stories, including that of the circus ringmaster Adolf Althoff and his wife Maria, the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Italian cycling champion Gino Bartali, the Polish social worker Irena Sendler, and the Japanese spy Chinue Sugihara, who provided hiding places, participated in underground networks, refused to betray their neighbors, and secured safe passage. They repeatedly defied authorities and risked their lives, their livelihoods, and their families to save the helpless and the persecuted. In the Garden of the Righteous is a testament to their kindness and courage.

4/21/2024
4:00 PM
Exeter Community Library: StoryWalk
Susan Verde
“Can You See It?: Sensing Your World”

 

Gracefully written by Susan Verde, bestselling author of the I Am books, and winsomely illustrated by Juliana Perdomo, the Sensing Your World series teaches little ones to experience the world around them more deeply, using the five senses to find joy, connection, and beauty in the small, everyday moments. Can You See It? encourages us to look closer to see deeper — not just with our eyes, but with our whole hearts.

5/15/2024
6:00 PM
Exeter Community Library
Weina Dai Randel
“Night Angels: A Novel”

 

1938. Dr. Ho Fengshan, consul general of China, is posted in Vienna with his American wife, Grace. Shy and ill at ease with the societal obligations of diplomats’ wives, Grace is an outsider in a city beginning to feel the sweep of the Nazi dragnet. When Grace forms a friendship with her Jewish tutor, Lola Schnitzler, Dr. Ho requests that Grace keep her distance. His instructions are to maintain amicable relations with the Third Reich, and he and Grace are already under their vigilant eye.

But when Lola’s family is subjugated to a brutal pogrom, Dr. Ho decides to issue them visas to Shanghai. As violence against the Jews escalates after Kristallnacht and threats mount, Dr. Ho must issue thousands more to help Jews escape Vienna before World War II explodes.

Inspired by a remarkable true story, Night Angels explores the risks brave souls took and the love and friendship they built and lost while fighting against incalculable evil.

9/13/2023
6:00 PM
Exeter Community Library
Lisa Belkin Gelb
“Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night”

 

Independence Day weekend, 1960: a young cop is murdered in Stamford, Connecticut. More than sixty years later, journalist Lisa Belkin explores the paths of the three men whose lives collide on that summer night.

How did one grandson of immigrants become the cop, one his killer, and one her stepfather — a doctor who inadvertently set this shooting into motion? Following these threads to their tragic outcome in July 1960 and beyond, Belkin examines the coincidences and choices that led to one fateful night. The result is a brilliantly researched, narratively ingenious story, which illuminates how we shape history even as we are shaped by it.

9/19/2023
12:00 PM
JCC: Noontime Knowledge
Christopher C. Gorham
“The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America”

 

The first-ever biography of Anna Marie Rosenberg, the Hungarian Jewish immigrant who became FDR’s closest advisor during World War II and, according to Life, “the most important official woman in the world” —a woman of many firsts, whose story, forgotten for too long, is extraordinary, inspiring, and uniquely American. Her life ran parallel to the front lines of history yet her influence on 20th century America, from the New Deal to the Cold War and beyond, has never before been told.

11/18/2023
7:00 PM
JCC
Susan Wider
“It’s My Whole Life: Charlotte Salomon: An Artist in Hiding During World War II”

 

Charlotte Salomon was a German-Jewish artist born in Berlin. She is remembered for her autobiographical series of paintings, Life? or Theater?, which consists of 769 individual works painted between 1940 and 1942 while she was in hiding from the Nazis in the south of France, and which has been called a painted parallel to Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl and an early graphic novel. In 1943, she entrusted her collection of paintings to a friend. In October of that year, she was captured and deported to Auschwitz, where she and her unborn child were gassed to death upon arrival. 

It’s My Whole Life covers Charlotte’s remarkable life from her childhood and art school days to her time as a refugee in Nazi-occupied France, where she created the largest single work of art created by a Jew during the Holocaust. Compellingly written and accompanied by vivid color photographs of Salomon’s artwork, Susan Wider has crafted an illuminating portrait of an enigmatic and evanescent young artist.

11/21/2023
12:00 PM
JCC: Noontime Knowledge
Rebecca Clarren
“The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota, and an American Inheritance”

 

Rebecca Clarren only knew the major plot points of her immigrant family’s origins. Her great-great-grandparents, the Sinykins, and their six children fled antisemitism in Russia and arrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, ultimately settling on a 160-acre homestead in South Dakota. Over the next few decades, despite tough years on a merciless prairie and multiple setbacks, the Sinykins became an American immigrant success story. What none of Clarren’s ancestors ever mentioned was that their land, the foundation for much of their wealth, had been cruelly taken from the Lakota by the United States government. America had broken hundreds of treaties with hundreds of Indigenous nations across the continent, and the land that had once been reserved for the seven bands of the Lakota had been diminished, splintered, and handed for free, or practically free, to white settlers. In The Cost of Free Land, Clarren melds investigative reporting with personal family history to reveal the intertwined stories of her family and the Lakota, and the devastating cycle of loss of Indigenous land, culture, and resources that continues today.

2/20/2024
12:00 PM
JCC: Noontime Knowledge
Daniel Stone
“Sinkable: Obsession, the Deep Sea, and the Shipwreck of the Titanic”

 

It’s one of the most beloved stories of all time, and it has the most gut-wrenching human themes: tragedy, trauma, and survival. But what came next? Sinkable is a sequel to the widely known Titanic story — not of a ship, but of a wreck, complete with a century’s worth of scientific, economic, and biological oddities. It’s a character-driven story about ship-wrecks and the strange underworld of obsessive people who devote their lives to sunken ships. And it includes tons of fun stories about big ships, our mysterious oceans, and some wild CIA operations you’ve never heard of. National Geographic editor and Jewish author Daniel Stone takes audiences on an exciting deep-sea journey of mystery, discovery, and triumph with tales of ocean battles and eye-popping buried treasure. Geared toward a general audience, Stone answers the age-old question, what else on earth is still waiting to be discovered?

Exeter Community Library

4565 Prestwick Dr. Reading, PA 19606

 

Jewish Cultural Center

1100 Berkshire Blvd. Suite 125

Wyomissing, PA 19610

 

 

For program inquires: info@jfreading.org .