MARBLEHEAD — Ben Mezrich is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Accidental Billionaires,” the authoritative account of Facebook’s founding and the basis of the 2010 Academy Award-winning film, “The Social Network.” His latest book, “Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption,” recounts the financial revenge and redemption of the Winklevoss brothers, those Harvard University blond twin towers who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole their idea, and were awarded a barrel of dough. They realized it was a pyrrhic victory when they tried to reinvent themselves as venture capitalists and no one would take their money.
Mezrich, who opens the 25th Silver Anniversary of the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore Jewish Book Month Speaker Series on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead, will introduce his newest book, which describes the Winklevosses’ journey from humiliation to becoming the first bitcoin billionaires and their rollercoaster ride in between. The event includes a post-talk reception.
Closing night brings Rebecca Erbelding, historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., to discuss “Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe,” winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for writing based on archival material. She will share what she uncovered that formed the backbone of her compelling but little-known true story on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the JCCNS in Marblehead, and includes a reception.
Sandwiched in between, the series offers a menu of the provocative, mysterious, and just plain fun. “[Jewish Book Month] is one of our annual signature events and supports our commitment to being the central gathering place for Jewish life, learning, and culture on the North Shore,” said Marty Schneer, JCCNS executive director.
Long a JBM tradition, Kernwood Country Club in Salem will again host Girls Night Out, an evening of cocktails and dinner, boutiques, schmoozing and, of course, fascinating dialogue with a best-selling author. Dani Shapiro, whose “Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love” describes her stunning surprise when the DNA test she took revealed the man who raised her was not her biological father, is the guest speaker. Her memoir explores the consequences of that discovery and her journey to embrace them.
“I would absolutely do the DNA test if I could rewind the clock,” Shapiro told the Journal when asked the question every reader must ask themselves. “It was shocking initially, and a very intense experience to discover that such a fundamental aspect of my identity had been kept secret from me all my life. But it also made sense of so many things that had been puzzling. In the end, it has been profoundly liberating to know the truth.”
The event is Thursday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. and tickets include a copy of the book, a glass of wine, and valet parking.
On a lighter note, Roz Chast, the self-proclaimed “poet-laureate of neurosis” and renowned cartoonist for The New Yorker, and Patricia Marx, a humorist and staff writer at that magazine, will present their program, “An Afternoon of Ukuleles, Cartoons and Conversation” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. Come prepared to laugh and delight as the two-woman ukulele band entertains with musical parody, amusing anecdotes, and whimsical visuals. Ticket price includes a reception and PEM admission.
Children’s author Jane Bernstein will share “Gina from Siberia,” her true story about an immigrant family and their beloved dog, Gina, at a family-friendly free event on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. at Epstein Hillel School (adjacent to the JCCNS).
Rounding out the roster are two fiction authors. Hallie Ephron, New York Times best-selling mystery and suspense author, will introduce her latest book, “Careful What You Wish For,” the tale of a professional organizer who uncovers a deadly problem she may not be able to clean up. The event is Sunday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. at the JCCNS and includes brunch.
“Mistress of the Ritz,” by Melanie Benjamin, the best-selling author of “The Swans of Fifth Avenue” and “The Aviator’s Wife,” is a taut tale based on true events. When the Germans set up their headquarters at the glamorous Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1940, the hotel’s hosts do everything in their limited power to thwart their Nazi “guests.” The event is Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the JCCNS and includes a reception.
Boston University professor and former Boston Globe reporter Mitch Zuckoff will strike a more somber note when he discusses “Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11” on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead. His narrative masterfully weaves together the interrelated strands of the events in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, Penn., to create the first minute-by-minute history of that horrendous day. A reception follows his talk.
Diane Knopf, chair of the book month series, culled some of the lineup from the Jewish Book Council conference last spring, where over 250 authors presented their two-minute pitches. “It was like speed dating with authors,” she joked.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit jccns.org or call 781-476-9906.