William Landay is coming! 3/12, 7 pm at the Brookline High School

William Landay, author of New York Times best-selling novel Defending Jacob, will be in Brookline for the culminating event of “Brookline Reads,” the community’s popular town-wide celebration of books and reading.

On Wednesday March 12, Landay will speak about his novel, this year’s Brookline Read’s slection at the Brookline High School Auditorium in a program sponsored by the Trustees of the Public Library of Brookline.

A novel that writer Stephen King has called “the best courtroom drama in years” and Times critic Janet Maslin described as “an issue-oriented family implosion,” Defending Jacob tells the story of a 14-year old boy accused of murdering a classmate, and of his father, a successful district attorney, who is drawn into his defense.

Full of intriguing plot twists and shocking revelations, the book also asks its readers to face complex issues about mental health, morality, and the responsibilities of parents to their children and the broader society.  As Mr. Landay said in a recent interview, “My real goal was to write a story that honors both the reader’s intellect and the desire to be entertained. My story gets at what it means to come to terms with parenting, growing up, and even one’s own childhood.”

Mr. Landay, like his protagonist, Andy Barber, a Yale and Boston College educated former prosecutor, will talk about how he became a novelist after many years of practicing law, and how he came to write Defending Jacob, set in Newton and featuring many local landmarks that make the story strike chillingly close to home.

Join William Landay and the Trustees of the Brookline Public Library for the grand finale of Brookline Reads 2014.  Spend a rewarding “Evening with William Landay” on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 PM in the Brookline High School Auditorium.  Mr. Landay has graciously offered to sign books at the event.  Admission is free; doors open at 6:30.

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Defending Jacob Panel, 2/24/2014

Defending Jacob Panel, 2/24/2014

Dr. Ron Schouten of MGH answers a question posed by moderator Hank Phillippi Ryan.

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by | March 4, 2014 · 4:35 pm

Congratulations to our winners of DEFENDING JACOB!

Our book winners were announced on Friday from Twitter, email, and drawings at the libraries and Senior Center!   It’s time for everyone to get reading – our panel discussion is 2/24!

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There are three ways to win:

1) Enter at your local branch of the Brookline Public Library

2) Email windefendingjacob@gmail.com

3) Retweet Brookline Reads-related tweets from @brklib


Winners will be chosen at noon on February 14th.  Books can be picked-up after the drawing at the branch library used to enter OR Main Library if entered on-line.






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How well do we know our children? Are some of us just born bad? Is there a murder gene? These are some of the provocative questions raised by local lawyer-turned-author William Landay in his critically acclaimed novel Defending Jacob.

The Trustees of the Brookline Public Library are pleased to announce the selection of Defending Jacob as the focus of this year’s Brookline Reads, a month-long, town-wide celebration in which the community chooses one book to read and discuss together.

Previous Brookline Reads selections include The Dirty Life and The Imperfectionists. A New York Times best seller, Defending Jacob has been hailed by critics as “the best crime-and-courtroom drama in years” and “a powerful portrayal of a family, a crime, and a community.”

The subjects treated in this suspenseful and thought-provoking book—issues of juvenile justice but also of parenting, of conflicting loyalties, and of the nature of evil—will be examined in a series of Brookline Reads events, all of which are free and open to the public.

Landay will be in Brookline to discuss his novel on March 12. “An Evening with William Landay” is the culminating event of Brookline Reads, now in its tenth year. All are invited to join the author in the auditorium of Brookline High School at 7 PM (doors will open at 6:30).

Set in Newton, Defending Jacob tells the story of Andy Barber, a respected prosecutor and loving husband and father who is suddenly thrust into a disturbing murder case. The victim is a 14-year-old high school student; the accused is Jacob, a classmate of the victim’s—and Barber’s son.

The subjects treated in this suspenseful and thought-provoking book—issues of juvenile justice but also of parenting, of conflicting loyalties, and of the nature of evil—will be examined in a series of Brookline Reads events, all of which are free and open to the public.

On February 24, investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan will lead a conversation entitled, “Born to Be Bad? Ethics, Parenting, and the Law.” Her fellow-panelists—an attorney, a judge, and two psychiatrists—share expertise in the legal, emotional, parental, and ethical issues surrounding violent juveniles. Ryan, herself a renowned mystery writer, will bring a reporter’s and author’s perspective to the panel, and will invite questions from the public. The discussion will take place in Hunneman Hall of the Main Library, beginning at 7 PM.

Between February 24 and March 20, all three libraries and the Senior Center will host book groups discussing Defending Jacob. Brookline Reads will also sponsor two film screenings at the Coolidge Corner Library. The Bad Seed will be shown at 1 PM on February 27, with a discussion to follow; this event is co-sponsored by the Senior Center. On March 6 at 7 PM, Brookline Reads will show The Good Son, which stars Macaulay Caulkin as a boy with a pathological preoccupation with violence and death.

Brookline Reads is sponsored by the Trustees of the Brookline Public Library. All events are free and open to the public. For additional information, please see the Brookline Reads section of library ‘s website http://www.brooklinelibrary.org/

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Thank you!

Our finale panel discussion was a great success! The nearly 70 people who attended were treated to a lively and informative discussion of this year’s theme, “Where and from whom does information originate?”

A special thanks to the members of the panel: Lynn Sweet, Callie Crossly, Erin Clossey, and Joshua Benton; and our moderator, Alex Jones.

Thank you to Brookline Access Television for broadcasting the event.

And many thanks to you, Brookline citizens who participated in book groups, attended movie screenings and other events, and added your voice to the discussion!

See you next year.

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Where and from whom does information originate?

This is the question a distinguished panel of guests will be discussing on Wednesday, March 2 in Hunneman Hall at 7pm. These are the guests who will be joining us:

  • Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun Times
  • Callie Crossly, WGBH
  • Erin Clossey, Editor, Brookline Tab
  • Joshua Benton, Director, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard
  • Alex Jones, Director, Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy, KSG, Harvard (Moderator)

We look forward to a lively dialogue and the opportunity for you, the participants in the 2011 edition of Brookline Reads, to interact with our panel.

In the meantime, let us know what you are thinking about this overarching question. What has The Imperfectionists taught you about information and its sources? What are the challenges that arise from an information-saturated (and sometimes misinformation-saturated) culture like ours? What are the consequences of the decline and possible disappearance of print media? Is something lost in the conversation between reader and journalist when the medium is a screen and not newsprint?

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