Frailichest Literary Fest 

The Contra Costa Jewish Book Festival

For going on seventeen years, this annual autumn celebration has given new meaning to that old aphorism "the people of the book." Spanning two weeks and always set to happen shortly before Hanukkah, the fest's main events are readings by locally, nationally, and internationally known authors on a wide range of topics from art to history to cooking to spirituality to humor and beyond, aiming to intrigue both the pre-b'nai mitzvah crowd and alte kockers of all ages. Last year's fest featured luminaries including Joel ben Izzy, whose book The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness is the inspiring tale of a storyteller who -- as happened to ben Izzy himself -- lost his voice; Marthe Cohn, whose memoir Behind Enemy Lines recounts her teen years as a French Jewish spy in Nazi Germany; and more than a dozen more, along with a concert by the Jerusalem Lyric Trio and a screening of The Merchant of Venice, in which Laurence Olivier portrayed that troublesome moneylender.

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