NETWORK author Joel Chasnoff (The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah) will be blogging for the JBC over the next month about his travels around the country for Jewish Book Month. Be sure to check out his website to see if he’ll be visiting a city near you…maybe you’ll even end up in one of his posts! And, if you haven’t read his posts for the JBC/MJL Author Blog, you can find them all here.
Terrific event last night at the Miami Jewish Book Festival.
About a hundred people showed up. The crowd was focused, asked great questions, and was totally engaged, except for that one guy in the front row, a 90-plus-year-old man who brought his own oxygen tank and nodded off halfway through my introduction.
It was an older audience – lots of sixties and seventies, and older – and their questions reflected their demographic. I’ve done a few of these book events now – Detroit, Columbus, and, last Sunday, DC – and I’ve noticed a connection between the general age of the audience and the questions they ask.
Younger crowds, like the one in DC, ask questions about my military service itself: Was it difficult? Did I see action? Did I pull the trigger and/or get shot?
Middle-aged crowds, folks in their forties and fifties, are interested in the backstory: What was my upbringing like? And what compelled a nice Jewish boy like me to join the Israeli Army in the first place?
And older crowds, like the one last night, always want to know one thing:
“What did your parents say when you told them you were moving to Israel to join the army?”
Last night, I answered that question the way I always do – with a short reading from the second chapter of my book, the chapter called “Mr. Bay City High School”, in which I go to breakfast at an IHOP restaurant with my father and tell him that I plan to join the IDF.
The reading always gets a laugh. But I always wonder if the audience is laughing at my father’s shock or my own naivety that I, the skinny Jewish kid from Chicago, actually think I might be a hero in the legendary Israeli Army.
Joel Chasnoff is the author of The 188th Crybaby Brigade, a comedic memoir about his year as a combat soldier in the Israeli Army, published by Simon and Schuster. This fall, he’ll blog his book tour across America for the Jewish Book Council. Visit Joel and read excerpts from his book at www.joelchasnoff.com.