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About the Author
Born in Italy, Anna Francese Gass came to the United States as a young child and grew up eating her mother’s Italian cooking. But when this professional cook realized she did not know how to make her family’s beloved meatballs—a recipe that existed only in her mother’s memory—Anna embarked on a project to record and preserve her mother’s recipes for generations to come.

In addition to her recipes, Anna’s mother shared stories from her life in Italy that her daughter had never heard before, fascinating tales that whetted Anna’s appetite to learn more. So, Anna began reaching out to her friends whose mothers were also immigrants, and soon she was cooking with dozens of women who were eager to share their unique memories and the foods of their homelands.

In Heirloom Kitchen, Anna brings together the stories and dishes of forty strong, exceptional women, all immigrants to the United States, whose heirloom recipes have helped shape the landscape of American food.

Anna Francese Gass is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. After a stint in corporate sales, she traded the boardroom for the test kitchen, and has since worked for Whole Foods, Mad Hungry, and Martha Stewart Living Ominmedia. Currently, she is a regular contributing editor and recipe tester at Food52 and contributing writer for She lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children. 

SBF Online: Anna Francese Gass Cooking Demo from HEIRLOOM KITCHEN

Join Northshire Bookstore and the Saratoga Book Festival Online, for a special event and cooking demonstration with Anna Francese Gass, author of the Northshire Staff Favorite Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and Family Stories from the Tables of Immigrant Women. As a celebration of the culinary traditions of strong, empowering immigrant women and the remarkable diversity that is American food, a warm and inspiring reminder that the story of immigrant food is, at its core, a story of America.

Cook along with chef & cookbook author Anna Francese Gass. Gass will explain and demonstrate the recipe for pierogies that appears in the book and if you like you can have the ingredients on hand to cook during the event.

Follow Anna’s instagram and website:

SBF Online: Michael Ian Black in Conversation

Northshire Bookstore and Saratoga Book Festival welcome comedian, actor, and author Michael Ian Black for a special virtual conversation about his latest book A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son with Skidmore College professor Beck Krefting.

A poignant look at boyhood, in the form of a heartfelt letter from comedian Michael Ian Black to his teenage son before he leaves for college, and a radical plea for rethinking masculinity and teaching young men to give and receive love.

About the Author

Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian, and writer who started his career with the sketch comedy show The State, on MTV, and has created and starred in many other television shows. Movie appearances include Wet Hot American SummerThe Baxter, and Sextuplets.

Black is the author of several books for children, including the award-winning I’m BoredI’m Sad, and I’m Worried, and the parody A Child’s First Book of Trump. His books for adults include the memoirs You’re Not Doing It Right and Navel Gazing, and the essay collection My Custom Van. Black also co-authored with Meghan McCain America, You Sexy Bitch.

As a stand-up comedian, Michael regularly tours the country, and he has released several comedy albums. His podcasts include Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, with Tom Cavanagh; Topics, with Michael Showalter; How to Be Amazing; and Obscure.

He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

About the Author:

Dr. Andre M. Perry is a Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. His research focuses on race and structural inequality, education, and economic inclusion. Perry has written on urban development and education for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and in his weekly column for The Hechinger Report.

About the Interviewer:

Amon Emeka joined the Skidmore College in the Fall of 2013 after having spent the previous several years on the faculty at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington in 2004. His dissertation “New Blacks, New Whites, and the New Day” traced patterns of intergenerational mobility and stagnation among immigrants from the Caribbean and Europe and their U.S. born children. Since then he has lead courses and sociological studies on a variety of topics relating to demography, immigrant adaptation, and racial inequality. His research and writings have been published in scholarly journals such as International Migration Review, Social Science History, and Social Science Research and cited in popular media outlets including the New York Times. Professor Emeka teaches courses on Immigrant Adaptation, Racial Inequality, Demography, and Statistical Techniques for Social Scientists, and his latest research focusses on the experiences and achievements of African immigrants to the U.S. since 1965.

SBF Online: Andre Perry in Conversation with Amon Emeka

Saratoga Book Festival, Saratoga Springs Public Library, and Skidmore College are pleased to present this SaratogaREADS! event featuring Dr. Andre M. Perry, Senior Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, and author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities, in conversation with Dr. Amon Emeka, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the First-Year Experience at Skidmore College.

In KNOW YOUR PRICE: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities Perry uses hard data and careful research paired with the example of his own life-story to interrogate the ways Black America can finally grasp and own its true worth. Perry takes readers on a guided tour of six Black-majority cities to review those differences and to examine the Black assets and strengths that are undervalued in those cities. Perry begins with a look at his hometown of Wilkinsburg before examining Detroit, New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.—providing an intimate look at the assets from these communities.

Our Past Events:

The Saratoga Book Festival in partnership with Saratoga Springs Public Library hosts an online virtual discussion between Fred Guttenberg, author of FIND THE HELPERS, and psychologist and Skidmore College Professor, Sheldon Solomon. The two will explore Guttenberg’s experience and resilience following the loss of his daughter Jaime in the school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, FL on February 14, 2018 where 34 people were shot just four months after Guttenberg lost his brother Michael, aged 50, to pancreatic cancer he contracted after he was exposed to toxic chemicals, debris and dust following the terror attack on the World Trade Center in NYC in 2001.



About the Author

Fred Guttenberg’s professional life included over a decade in sales and management with Johnson & Johnson, followed by almost fifteen years as an entrepreneur, having built a business including nineteen Dunkin Donuts. Fred and his wife Jennifer now spend time challenging elected officials to do more. They began a nonprofit organization dedicated to Jaime’s life called “Orange Ribbons for Jaime.” He has been a regular on TV news programs and myriad online and print media. The nonprofit is now his full-time mission.

About the Interviewer
Sheldon Solomon is Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College. His studies of the effects of the human awareness of death on behavior have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Solomon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011).

Readers looking for a copy of FIND THE HELPERS by Fred Guttenberg are encouraged to visit Northshire Books of Saratoga:

To watch the full event: 




Saratoga Book Festival Online, Saratoga Springs Public Library, and Northshire Bookstore present: Pandemic Memories with Roger Rosenblatt, Erica Freudenberger, and Ike Pulver.

Bestselling memoirist, essayist, and playwright Roger Rosenblatt, whose latest book is The Story I Am: Mad About the Writing Life, will join in a conversation about the importance of journaling and documenting everyday life during this pandemic with Erica Freudenberger, of the Southern Adirondack Library System, who is overseeing Leaving Our Fingerprints: Documenting COVID-19 in the Southern Adirondacks, a regional history project inviting residents to share their experiences. Saratoga Springs Public Library Director, Ike Pulver, will moderate.

Watch the full event below: