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Open Book / Open Mind 2020

2020 Programs

December 6:  Alice Hoffman in conversation with Elisabeth Egan; “Magic Lessons.”
Beloved and acclaimed novelist Hoffman talked to Egan, also a novelist and an editor at The New York Times Book Review, about her latest New York Times bestseller, the prequel to her hugely successful “Practical Magic” series, which incorporates both historical fiction and elements of magical realism. A virtual event. 

November 15: Peter Baker and Susan Glasser in conversation with Jonathan Alter. “The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III.” A New York Times bestseller. Baker, the New York Times chief White House correspondent, and Glasser, a New Yorker staff writer, spoke with journalist, filmmaker and Presidential historian Alter about their book, which The Economist called “a masterclass in political biography.” They discussed the past, present and future of Washington’s political culture after the recent election. Susan, who grew up in Montclair, also shared her warm memories of the library. A virtual event. 

October 25: Jonathan Alter in conversation with Jim Axelrod. “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.” Alter, a journalist, filmmaker, contributor to MSNBC and prize-winning author of three previous bestsellers about American presidents, spoke with Axelrod, the senior national correspondent of CBS News, about the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, whom he calls America’s “most misunderstood president.” A virtual event. 

October 4: Michael Schmidt in conversation with Jay Schreiber; “Donald Trump v. The United States:Inside the Struggle to Stop a President.” Schmidt, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and White House correspondent for The New York Times, discussed his bestseller about White House staff’s behind-the-scenes efforts to contain the 45th president with Schreiber, his old friend and former editor. A virtual event. 

September 13: Christina Baker Kline in conversation with J. Courtney Sullivan; “The Exiles.” Co-presented by Succeed2gether’s Montclair Literary Festival. Longtime former Montclair resident and internationally beloved author Kline talked to her friend, the novelist Sullivan (“Friends and Lovers”) about Kline’s latest New York Times bestselling novel about the lives of women in 19th-century Australia. A ticketed virtual event. 

June 7:  Jesse Wegman in online conversation with Jim Johnson; “Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College. ” Wegman, a member of New York Times editorial board, spoke with activist, attorney and former U.S. Treasury official Johnson about his controversial, timely explanation of Electoral College history and argued for its removal. A virtual event. 

May 3: Ada Calhoun in conversation with Maureen Connolly; “Why We Can’t Sleep; Women’s New Midlife Crisis.” Our first webcast of Open Book / Open Mind. Journalist and memoirist Calhoun talked to Connolly, the editor in chief of Everyday Health, about her New York Times bestseller, which addresses middle-aged Gen X women’s difficulties in coping with the grand and unreasonable pressures to “have it all.” A virtual event.

March 1. Gail Collins in conversation with Dale Russakoff; “No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History.” Legendary New York Times columnist Collins spoke to author Russakoff (“The Prize: Who’s In Charge of America’s Schools?”) about Collins’s latest book, which presents women’s age as an arbitrary concept that has swung back and forth over the centuries in America.

February 23: Charlotte Alter; “The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For:  How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America.” In Conversation with Julian Lucas. In her debut book, Montclair native and Time magazine correspondent Alter talked to cultural critic Lucas, a contributing writer to the New York Times Book Review, about the next generation of political leaders and the issues that drive them.

February 9: Imani Perry in conversation with Emily Raboteau; “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons.” Perry, a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, conversed with Raboteau, a professor of creative writing at the City College of New York, about her memoir, which explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and how to parent children in a persistently unjust world.

January 26: Andrew Marantz in conversation with D.T. Max; “Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.” Marantz, a staff writer for The New Yorker, researched the book by embedding himself with alt-right propagandists, social media influencers and provocateurs, and social-media entrepreneurs. He discussed the past, present and future of social media with Max, who is also a staff writer at The New Yorker and is a longtime Montclair resident.

January 12: Taffy Brodesser Akner in conversation with Jake Silverstein; “Fleishman Is In Trouble.” Brodesser-Akner, a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, discussed her bestselling debut novel, “Fleishman Is In Trouble,” about the travails of a hapless, unexpectedly single father, with Jake Silverstein, editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine.

Open Book / Open Mind 2020 was presented by the Montclair Public Library through the generous financial support of The Montclair Public Library Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, and The Investors Foundation. We transitioned to an online format in April 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown. 

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