Every other month, HCRJ members and the community gather for a book discussion. The author of the book being discussed often attends the program and leads the talk.
See below for our 2020 book events! To attend an HCRJ book discussion, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.
Sunday, September 13 at 2pm
Confessions of an Innocent Man by David Dow (Virtual)
Our next virtual book discussion is on Sunday, September 13 at 2pm right before the High Holy Days. Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, Rorschach Visiting Professor of History at the Rice University and author, David Dow, will visit with us on Zoom to discuss his book, Confessions of an Innocent Man!
“Every person wrongfully convicted of a crime at some point dreams of getting revenge against the system. In Confessions of an Innocent Man, the dream comes true and in a spectacular way.” – John Grisham, New York Times, bestselling author of The Reckoning.
A thrillingly suspenseful debut novel and a fierce howl of rage that questions the true meaning of justice.
Rafael Zhettah relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. He is the owner and head chef of a promising Houston restaurant, a pilot with open access to the boundless Texas horizon, and a bachelor, content with having few personal or material attachments that ground him. Then, lightning strikes. When he finds Tieresse—billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticate, bombshell—sitting at one of his tables, he also finds his soul mate and his life starts again. And just as fast, when she is brutally murdered in their home, when he is convicted of the crime, when he is sentenced to die, it is all ripped away. But for Rafael Zhettah, death row is not the end. It is only the beginning. Now, with his recaptured freedom, he will stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him.
This is a heart-stoppingly suspenseful, devastating, page-turning debut novel. A thriller with a relentless grip that wants you to read it in one sitting. David R. Dow has dedicated his life to the fight against capital punishment—to righting the horrific injustices of the death penalty regime in Texas. He delivers the perfect modern parable for exploring our complex, uneasy relationships with punishment and reparation in a terribly unjust world.
Sunday, July 26 at 11am
Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith (Virtual)
On Sunday morning, July 26 at 11am on Zoom, join us for a virtual conversation with Emily Kramer-Golinkoff. Emily is Co-Founder of Emily’s Entourage, an innovative 501(c)3 foundation that accelerates research for new treatments and a cure for nonsense mutations of Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system. She is also an internationally recognized patient advocate and speaker. Emily has CF. She is also Jewish. To read more about Emily’s Entourage, please click here.
Emily will talk about her experience living with cystic fibrosis and relate it to the story of Mallory Smith. Mallory’s book, Salt in My Soul – An Unfinished Life, was published in March 2019. You do not need to read Salt in My Soul to attend this program.
The book are the diaries of a remarkable young woman who was determined to live a meaningful and happy life despite her struggle with cystic fibrosis and a rare superbug—from age fifteen to her death at the age of twenty-five.
Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three, Mallory Smith grew up to be a determined, talented young woman who inspired others even as she privately raged against her illness. Despite the daily challenges of endless medical treatments and a deep understanding that she’d never lead a normal life, Mallory was determined to “Live Happy,” a mantra she followed until her death. Mallory worked hard to make the most out of the limited time she had, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, becoming a cystic fibrosis advocate well known in the CF community, and embarking on a career as a professional writer. Along the way, she cultivated countless intimate friendships and ultimately found love.
Sunday, June 14 at 2pm
You Are Not What We Expected by Sidura Ludwig (Virtual)
panning fifteen years in the lives of a multi-generational family and their neighbors, this remarkable collection draws an intimate portrait of a suburban Jewish community and illuminates the unexpected ways we remain connected during times of change.
When Uncle Isaac moves back from L.A. to the quiet suburb of Thornhill, Ontario, to help his sister, Elaine Levine, care for her suddenly motherless grandchildren, he finds himself embroiled in even more neighborhood drama than he would like. Meanwhile, a nanny miles from her own family in the Philippines, cares for a young boy who doesn’t fit in at school. A woman in mid-life contends with the task of cleaning out the house in which she grew up, while her teenage son struggles with why his dad moved out. And down the street, a mother and her two daughters prepare for a wedding and transitions they didn’t see coming. This stunningly intimate collection of stories, which spans fifteen years in the lives of the Levine family, is an exquisite portrait of a Jewish community, the secular and religious families who inhabit it, and the tensions that exist there.
Tuesday, April 28 at 10am
Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family by David Berg (Virtual)
A searing family memoir, hailed as “remarkable” (The New York Times), “compelling” (People), and “engrossing” (Kirkus Reviews), of a trial lawyer’s tempestuous boyhood in Texas that led to the vicious murder of his brother by the father of actor Woody Harrelson.
In 1968, David Berg’s brother, Alan, was murdered by Charles Harrelson, a notorious hit man and father of Woody Harrelson. Alan was only thirty-one when he disappeared (David was twenty-six) and for more than six months his family did not know what had happened to him—until his remains were found in a ditch in Texas. There was an eyewitness to the murder: Charles Harrelson’s girlfriend, who agreed to testify. For his defense, Harrelson hired Percy Foreman, then the most famous criminal lawyer in America. Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Harrelson was acquitted.
Sunday, February 23 at 11:15am
The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors by Marc Grossberg
Join us for our next book discussion on Sunday, February 23 at 11:15am as author Marc Grossberg discusses his book, The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors!
Paddy Moran, a former cop from Brooklyn, is a newly licensed attorney in Houston with dreams and aspirations to make it big. He survives early rough bumps and ethical challenges. Then, through networking, he lands two high-profile clients. With his brash moxie and brilliant legal strategy, he gets outstanding outcomes that put him on the success trajectory to the upper echelons of the city’s divorce bar. But, faced with difficult choices in high-stakes litigation, will he balance his thirst for recognition and respect with his sense of right and wrong?
The Best People also follows Pilar Galt, a sensuous, intelligent single mother from the Houston barrios, for whom a temp assignment evolves into a relationship with the richest man in town. Her path intersects with Paddy’s and eventually converges with his during a pivotal time in her life when she must overcome self-destructive tendencies to survive.
A legal drama and social satire set after Enron and before the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, The Best People portrays a Houston as it is: a glitzy meritocracy populated with larger-than-life characters. It is the landscape where the country-club and café-society sets clash amidst clever legal maneuvering, big law firm politics, a Ponzi scheme, and judicial corruption.
In a stunning debut novel, author Marc Grossberg, a native Houstonian who has practiced law in Houston for more than fifty years, offers a glimpse into a world where you can’t always tell who the best people are.
The Best People: A Tale of Trials and Errors can be purchased at the HCRJ office for $17.
To sign up for this book event, please contact Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.