Books & Authors

Photo: Jared Blank crosses the finish line in Antarctica, the first of seven marathons he ran on seven continents in seven days.

Running the Distance with dyslexia 

Running the Distance, Jared Blank’s story about the relationship of dealing with dyslexia and successfully running the World Marathon Challenge, is due out on audiobook soon. The International Dyslexia Association published the hard copy and paperback in fall of 2019 at the IDA Conference in Portland. 
Jared is the son of Lynn and Owen Blank, members of Congregation Beth Israel where Jared became a bar mitzvah. Diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 5, Jared now supports the IDA in numerous ways. In January 2018, he ran the World Marathon Challenge (seven marathons on seven continents in seven days) to raise awareness and $50,000 for the IDA. He will participate in this year’s Virtual Dyslexia Dash, which has a Running The Distance Oregon Team that people can join. And his book is a fundraiser for the association.
The Oregon Branch of the IDA has launched the Running the Distance Scholarship Fund
Jared says running seven marathons in seven days and writing a book while coping with dyslexia were challenging. “The activities are very similar, I enjoy both and both require a lot of work,” says Jared. “For me, writing was more of a challenge than running. Like running, I needed to find ways to dig deep in content and organization.”
He says he is grateful to have the support of IDA’s Denise Douce for her editing and IDA CEO Sonja Banks for believing in the project. 
When Jared was a student, he broke his days into alternating blocks of study and sports. Now he breaks his days into work and workouts. “There are only so many spots to train during workdays. So it makes natural blocks. I think my school years and sports helped in managing this type of schedule.”
Jared finished all seven races in the Marathon Challenge and ranked 12th overall with an average of 4 hours, 32 minutes and 16 seconds per marathon. He hopes his book enjoys similar success raising funds for the IDA.
The 114-page paperback is available for $20 or $18 for IDA members. Information on the audiobook will be available soon. Order at

JCCs offer Bookfest in Your Living Room 
In addition to this fall’s free MJCC Author Series (see story last issue), the Mittleman Jewish Community Center is presenting Bookfest in Your Living Room.
Bookfest in Your Living Room is a nationwide virtual series developed by the JCC Literary Consortium. The JCC Consortium consists of over 100 JCCs throughout North America, including the MJCC, committed to providing premier literary events.
The series began earlier this month and continues with 30 programs through December, culminating with Michael J. Fox and his book No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality.
The diverse books include kids’ books, cookbooks, novels, memoirs and nonfiction explorations of climate, crime, justice, LGBTQ, college, aging and the Mossad. Authors include Natan Sharansky, John Grisham and Dale Berra, writing about My Dad, Yogi.
Most Bookfest events are $6 or $11 for a virtual ticket or range from $25 to $55 for a virtual ticket and copy of the book. Check out all the authors and books at

Book club hosts author of Blue Thread
Congregation Neveh Shalom and The Feldstein Library will host (virtually) Portland author Ruth Tenzer Feldman at 4 pm, Oct. 24, for a mother-daughter discussion of Blue Thread.
Blue Thread is a historical fiction young adult novel that takes place in Portland during the early 1900s, a time when women were marching to get the vote. The 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment granting women the vote is this year. The story also time travels to the eras of Moses and women’s rights. This is a timely, thrilling, pro-feminist read.
Women aged 12-120 are invited to meet the author and other guests for an exciting hour. The program is open to grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts, nieces, as well as mothers and daughters. Since the book group currently is virtual, it is now open to the community and out-of-town relatives.
For more information or to register for the Zoom event, contact Laurie Fendel at or 503-244-0205. Include the names, emails and phone numbers of all interested people and whether any are members of Neveh Shalom.

Oregon Poetry Association Zoom Oct. 10
Portland Jewish poet Willa Schneberg will present a workshop on documentary poetry at this year’s Oregon Poetry Association Zoom Conference. The conference will be 8:30 am-5:30 pm, Oct. 10. Ashley Toliver, winner of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry, will be the keynote speaker.
Willa, a 2002 Oregon Book Award winner for In The Margins Of The World, will present Introduction to Documentary Poetry during the first workshop session at 10 am. Workshop participants will explore how nonfiction poetry brings a fresh take on history and documents injustice. Participants are encouraged to talk about which current or historical events they would like to manifest in poetry. If time permits, participants will work on first drafts.
For information on the conference or to register, visit Conference fee is $55 for the entire day.


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