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One Book Author Update

One Book Author Update

One Book | One Community
Seven Years of One Book Authors: Where Are They Now?

By Katie Liguori, Spertus Institute-Hillels of Illinois Harriet and Maurice Lewis Family Summer Intern. Katie is an English major at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

For the past seven years, Spertus Institute has celebrated Jewish Book Month with One Book | One Community, in which a single book is chosen as the focal point for discussions, events, and author appearances across Chicago and the suburbs. As we plan this year’s programs, here’s a look at what our past authors have been up to in the years since.

2011 Selection
A Day of Small Beginnings by Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum
Spertus kicked off Chicago’s One Book initiative in 2011 with Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum’s acclaimed debut, A Day of Small Beginnings. Rosenbaum is working on a nearly finished new book titled Sacrificial Man. It centers around the betrayal of a marriage in East St. Louis during the McCarthy Era. In addition to her book-writing career, Rosenbaum is active with Jewish Women’s Theatre in Santa Monica, CA, where she serves as writer, dramaturge, podcaster, and creator of events and programs.

2012 Selection
One More River by Mary Glickman
Just one year after Spertus featured One More River, Mary Glickman continued her exploration of race and faith in the American South with the publication of Marching to Zion. Aurora Mae Stanton, a character from One More River, reappears in this story about the unlikely romance between a Jewish immigrant and a black man in early twentieth century Missouri. Glickman’s most recent publication, An Undisturbed Peace, was named a best novel of 2016 by Southern Living.

Saint Mazie by Jamie Attenberg2013 Selection
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Jami Attenberg has been busy since One Book featured The Middlesteins in 2013. Her fifth and sixth novels, Saint Mazie (2015) and All Grown Up (2017), have garnered national attention and acclaim, making their way onto national bestseller lists and receiving kudos from NPR, Amazon, Vogue, The New York Post, and more.

There is also a good chance that these books will make the jump from page to screen. Helena Bonham Carter is slated to star in and produce a miniseries adaptation of Saint Mazie — and All Grown Up has been optioned for a television series by David Heyman, the Oscar-nominated producer behind the Harry Potter movie franchise. Apart from writing bestsellers and scoring TV deals, Attenberg recently moved from New York to New Orleans. Her witty writing and acerbic social commentary can be found in pieces on sex, technology, design, and urban life in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Vogue.

2014 Selection
The Family by David Laskin
It has been four years since One Book featured The Family, David Laskin’s expertly crafted memoir. While Laskin hasn’t added to his collection of memoirs since then, he is a frequent contributor to the Travel section of The New York Times, and you can find more of his essays in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

2015 Selection
A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin
When asked about his future writing plans in a 2015 interview with Spertus, Lev Golinkin expressed his wish to try his hand at magazine features before working on another book. He’s fulfilled that goal and then some with intellectually stimulating, critically acclaimed essays and opinion pieces appearing in an impressive array of prestigious publications. A former child refugee from Ukraine, Golinkin brings an informed, compelling perspective to important contemporary issues. Examples include a The New York Times piece on the rise of the political right in Ukraine, an article in the Washington Post about extreme vetting, and a recent an essay in the Forward about the separation of immigrant families.

Mother Country2016 Selection
The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn
In addition to working as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, Irina Reyn is putting the final touches on her next novel, Mother Country. Its topic could not be more timely: it follows a Russian mother and daughter separated by immigration laws. Reyn, who was born in Moscow, now divides her time between Pittsburgh and Brooklyn.


2017 Selection

Windy City Blues by Renée Rosen
Chicagoan Renée Rosen is enjoying the success from Windy City Blues while working on her next book. Like Windy City Blues, it weaves history and fiction — in this case into a novel about Helen Gurley Brown, longtime editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. It is due to be published in 2019.

For those whose interest in Chicago blues music was piqued by Windy City Blues, the Chicago History Museum has a yearlong special exhibition on view that explores blues history. It features many of the musicians who appear as characters in Rosen's book, including Little Walter, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters. It runs through August 10, 2019. Info at

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Image at left

Author Jami Attenberg. Photo by Chris Granger for A novelist's New Orleans: Jami Attenberg brings her sharp wit to the Crescent City, by Kadee Krieger for | The Times-Picayune, March 1, 2018.