November 8: Isabel Allende in conversation with Christina Baker Kline; “In the Midst of Winter.” Allende, one of the world’s most popular authors (“The House of the Spirits,” “Paula” and “My Invented Country”) talked to bestselling author Kline (“Orphan Train,” “A Piece of the World”) about her latest book as well as the topics of refugees, women’s rights, and how best to dispose of a dead body in service of storytelling. An event at Buzz Aldrin Middle School auditorium.
October 13: Katy Tur in conversation with Tom Johnson; “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.” NBC news correspondent Tur discussed her unique and sometimes frightening experience covering the 2016 presidential campaign with Johnson, the former executive editor of Bloomberg Politics News and an award-winning senior broadcast producer at ABC News. Partly funded by Pollack Financial Group.
October 1: Floyd Abrams in conversation with Vincent Blasi; “The Soul of the First Amendment.” Described by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan as “the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age,” Abrams spoke to Blasi, the Corliss Lamont Professor of Civil Liberties at Columbia Law School, arguing that America has, historically, defended free speech more often, more intensely, and more controversially than is the case anywhere else in the world, including democratic nations such as Canada and England.
September 17: Maureen Dowd in conversation with Andrew Rosenthal; “The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics.” Dowd, a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist at The New York Times, discussed the current state of political affairs with Rosenthal, an Op-Ed columnist and former editor of the Times editorial page. Dowd traced the psychologies and pathologies of one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever, serving up her trademark cocktail of wry humor and acerbic analysis. An event at the Buzz Aldrin Middle School’s auditorium.
June 16: Jacqueline Woodson in conversation with Tayari Jones; “Another Brooklyn.” Woodson, a poet and winner of the Newbery and National Book awards for her children’s books (“Brown Girl Dreaming” and “Miracle’s Boys”) spoke about her adult novel, “Another Brooklyn,” with her friend Jones, a novelist best known for “Silver Sparrow,” which was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016.
May 19: Marina Budhos in conversation with Arun Venugopal; “Surveillance Theatre” and “Watched.” After a NYC-based ensemble Theatre 167 staged a live performance inspired by Budhos’s young adult novel “Watched,” Budhos talked with Venugopal, a reporter for WNYC and NPR. They discussed the plot of the story, which centers around police surveillance of a Bangladeshi Muslim community in Queens, New York, in light of the current climate for South Asians and Muslims in contemporary America. An event at Montclair High School’s Little Theater.
May 9: Bobbi Brown in conversation with Kristen Dollard; ‘Bobbi Brown’s Beauty From The Inside Out.” Best-selling author, international cosmetics entrepreneur, and Montclair resident Brown spoke to Dollard, digital editor for Yoga Journal and Vegetarian Times about appearance, wellness and confidence. Brown encouraged attendees to bring along gently used clothing donations to benefit Reaching Out Montclair, a local non-profit that assists underserved Hispanic families in Montclair.
April 30: Elisabeth Rosenthal in conversation with Richard E. Besser, M.D.; “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back.” Rosenthal, a longtime New York Times reporter and the editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, spoke about the ugly hidden truths behind America’s system of healthcare for profit with Besser, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, acting director of the CDC, and author of “Tell Me The Truth, Doctor.”
March 23: Mark Kurlansky in conversation with Alexis Romay; “Havana: A Subtropical Delirium.” Author of the New York Times bestselling “Cod” and “Salt,” Kurlansky explored the bright and dark aspects of Cuba and its culture with Romay, a Cuban-born novelist. Kurlansky, a James Beard Award winner, also shared his personal adventures on the island since first visiting as a journalist in the 1980s. Unfortunately there is no video available for this event.
February 24: Christina Baker Kline in conversation with Caroline Leavitt; “A Piece of the World.” Beloved Montclair novelist Kline returned to Open Book / Open Mind to launch her latest New York Times bestseller. She discussed the mysterious muse behind Andrew Wyeth’s masterpiece “Christina’s World” with Leavitt, the bestselling author of “Cruel Beautiful World.” Afterwards, guests enjoyed light refreshments and a live performance by Montclair High School’s well known a capella group, Passing Notes.
January 8: Jonathan Alter in conversation with Stephen Engleberg and Tom Johnson about the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. Alter, a news correspondent at NBC / MSNBC and bestselling author, Engleberg, the editor-in-chief of ProPublica, and Johnson of Bloomberg Politics offered their predictions and advice for the rocky road ahead. Their wide ranging discussion touched on healthcare, climate change, race relations, wealth inequity, reckoning in the media, and how ordinary citizens could engage long before the next election. Unfortunately the sound quality of this recording is uneven.