My new book SLAYING GOLIATH was launched in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on January 21. It was a delightful event, with Carol Burris and I discussing the book, talking about the national picture, and explaining the role of the Network for Public Education in pushing back against the Billionaire Combine. It was a lively and engaged crowd, including Lisa Rudley of New York State Allies for Public Education, one of the heroes of my book.

On Friday, Mary and I flew to Fort Lauderdale, where one of my nephews was getting married. It was a good time to catch up with family whom I don’t see often and to eat vast quantities of food (blowing away one of my New Year’s resolutions).

After the wedding festivities concluded, we moved to the apartment of New York friends who spend every winter in Fort Lauderdale.

Monday night was an event at one of America’s best independent bookstores: Books and Books in Coral Gables. And what a bookstore it is! I’m glad I got there early, with time to browse the shelves of this beautiful store, which has a vast supply of unusual books of literature and history. I could have spent hours there.

I met the owner, Mitchel Kaplan, who graduated from Miami public schools, spent three years as a high schoolEnglish teacher, then opened Books and Books. We did a podcast, and he was wonderfully enthusiastic about the book and had read it carefully (I have been interviewed in the past by people who had read nothing but the flap copy). After our conversation, which I will post here in a few days, we talked about our families and discovered that our grandparents came from the same place in Poland, called LOMZA (NOT Lombardi). My paternal grandparents emigrated in the 19th Century. His came to the U.S. at the end of World War 1. All the Jews of LOMZA were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

After the podcast, I hurried to a gathering of the leadership of United Teachers of Dade County at a nearby restaurant. Their president, Karla Hernandez Mats, is a very impressive, dynamic leader. She is also beautiful and enthusiastic. I couldn’t help but notice that she had a copy of the galleys of my book, filled with post-its. She read it!

We all went to the bookstore, which had a packed house, about 250 people, many of them teachers. Karla and I had a public discussion. I love this format. She raised the questions most important to Dade County, and I responded, riffing off into whatever else occurred to me.

The audience asked questions. Towards the end, a woman rose to speak and said ominously that all the schools in America were teaching Satanism, and they had to be stopped. She would have gone on and on, but I was able to pause her and told her I had visited many schools but had never seen any that taught Satanism.

A few more questions, and I started signing books. The line was long, and near the end, I realized I had to take a bathroom break, and I excused myself. I rushed to the WC, where I proceeded to drop my cell phone in the toilet (clean water) but it miraculously survived the ordeal. (A few years ago, my cell melted down after getting one drip of water on it at the bottom of my handbag…so, progress).

The evening over, I hugged my new lontzman, Mitchel Kaplan, and went with my friends back to Fort Lauderdale, an hour’s drive. This morning, off to DC. I will speak at Politics and Prose tomorrow night.