Summer Reading 2023

3 Jun

Whether you have the summer off or are working furiously, summer is still the best time to cozy up to new book. I just finished Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s light, fun and yes, romantic. If you are a fan of Saturday Night Live, you will love it. I read it with a mystery guest, and I will reveal who it is at the end of this post.

So if you don’t know what to read, I’ve compiled a list of sites to consult for your next reading adventure.

There are many celebrities who offer book suggestions. Of course, there’s Oprah. Here’s the complete list of her 100 choices to date. Click here. In addition to her, I especially like Reese Witherspoon’s picks (Reese’s Book Club) and Jenna Bush Hager’s choices (Read with Jenna).

If you are on Facebook, there are lots of reading groups to join where you can find some interesting books by genre. My favorite Facebook groups are: Friends and Fiction, Renee’s Reading Club and The Girlfriend Book Club.

Then, there’s the media sites. NPR picks are here. The Wall Street Journal has a summer beach reading list. The New York Times offers several lists with different genres. These sites sometimes are blocked to non-subscribers.

Another free site I enjoy is The Good Book Fairy. To view of photo of the Good Book Fairy and me, click here.

I’m also enjoying the free podcast The Bookcase with Charlies Gibson and his daughter Kate. I love the banter between them and their author interviews are great. I read the Sea Wife and I will Find You after listening to their podcast. I enjoyed both books and have more recommendations from them.

Now, for the mystery guest who read Romantic Comedy with me. It’s my one-year-old dog named Juno.

This is what the book looks like now!

Who else in your family likes to read?



18 Apr

An article I wrote was just published in the Detroit Jewish News about a town in Belarus where my dad and maternal grandmother were born.

A Sculpture of Remembrance and Hope


 Carla Schwartz

David-Horodok history teacher Gennadiy Grigorievich Bosovets with his students at the sculpture in the town square.
David-Horodok history teacher Gennadiy Grigorievich Bosovets with his students at the sculpture in the town square.

A history teacher ignites the flame remembering the Jewish descendants of the small town of David-Horodok, Belarus.

Some educators leave a legacy to their students. History teacher Gennadiy Grigorievich Bosovets of David-Horodok in Belarus takes it one inspirational step further. He initiated the creation of a monument in remembrance of the Jewish descendants of David-Horodok in the town square.

Carla Schwartz Contributing Writer
Carla Schwartz
Contributing Writer

Many of the descendants today, fondly known as David-Horodokers, live in Metro Detroit. The Detroit David-Horodok Organization has 600 families on the mailing list, while the Israeli David-Horodok Organization has 200. Both groups include members worldwide and include second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors. David-Horodok, Davyd-Haradok and David-Goradok are just some of the spellings of the town.

According to the website Shtetl Routes, the city was named after Prince David, grandson of Yaroslav the Wise and founded in 1100 with Jews settling in the 1500s. The Jewish community flourished in the 1800s, with three synagogues. Due to pogroms and antisemitism in Russia, many of the descendants left during the late 1800s and continued to leave until 1939.

From 1921 to 1939, David-Horodok was part of Poland, and afterwards the city became part of Russia. The Nazis entered the town in 1941 and shot 7,000 men, women and children in the forest. When the Soviets entered the town in 1944, no Jews were left in David-Horodok.

Today, there are no Jewish residents in the city.

But the memory of the Jewish presence is alive, thanks to historians and David-Horodokers. At the mass grave site, there is a monument established by the Israeli organization in 2009. Bosovets teaches his students about the area. When he noticed the path to the memorial was difficult for visitors to reach, he conceived the idea to construct another sculpture in the city center.

This project was funded by both the Detroit and Israeli organizations of descendants of David-Horodok.

The woodand granite sculpture, by local artisan Sergey Zhilevich, has a carving
of a father and son on one side and a mother
and daughter
on the other.
The wood and granite sculpture, by local artisan Sergey Zhilevich, has a carving of a father and son on one side and a mother and daughter on the other.

The new sculpture not only marks the path to the mass grave site, but also relays the Jewish history in town. This major endeavor included securing funds, permits, design and installation.

The prominent sculpture of wood and granite was designed by local artisan Sergey Zhilevich with a carving of a father and son on one side and a mother and daughter on the other. There is an inscription in English, Hebrew and Russian: “In memory of the 500-year-old Jewish community of David-Horodok, brutally annihilated by the Germans 1941-1942.”

The monument was completed in 2020, but due to COVID, the dedication was postponed. Special ceremonies for International Holocaust Remembrance Day were held on Jan. 27, 2023, at the mass grave site and at the new sculpture in the town square. Candles were lit and flowers placed as Bosovets reiterated the plight of the Jews from David-Horodok to his students.

Amy Friedman Brody of West Bloomfield and Roz Blanck of Franklin, are co-presidents of the Detroit David-Horodok Organization and believe this sculpture of remembrance evokes hope and is making an indelible imprint.

According to Blanck, “The monuments created are extraordinary because future generations will learn about the history of the Jewish community in David-Horodok.”

Connecting David-Horodokers

The Facebook page of the Descendants of David-Horodok connects landsmen and friends worldwide.

When former Detroiter Cheri Eisenberg, currently living in Atlanta, visited David-Horodok in 2010 with more than 100 David-Horodokers, she was enthralled by the history. “The trip greatly impacted me, and in 2013, I was motivated to start a Facebook page to connect other landsmen.”

Many of her relatives perished in David-Horodok, while some of her Eisenberg family settled in Detroit. She explains that the page evolved fusing her interest in Yiddishkeit and her family roots.

There are 1,500 followers, mostly with roots in David-Horodok, but others from neighboring towns like Stolin, Rubel and Turov joined. The page connects people with cousins in Israel, Argentina, Chile and all over North America. Recently, a family in Switzerland connected with cousins in Israel.

As the administrator of the page, Eisenberg feels rewarded. “Opening the doors to family connections is without a doubt the most rewarding dividend of our Descendants of David-Horodok Facebook page.”

Carla Eisenberg Schwartz is a former columnist for the Detroit Jewish News and blogger at Her father, Abe Eisenberg, was born in David-Horodok as well as her maternal grandmother, Ida Szusterman Mittler.

The Royal Coconut Beach Lunch Club

1 Apr

It’s a lunch club like no other. Author Diane Bergner describes her prosecco guzzling friends in this metaphor. Think Sex in the City meets the Devil Wears Prada sprinkled with Crazy Rich Asians. And please substitute Palm Beachers for Asians. I’m talking about the fictionalized ladies who lunch in her debut novel The Royal Coconut Beach Lunch Club.

Yes, they can be crazy, rich, scandalous and oh, so much more. The protagonist, Julia Wild, is an attorney who became a fundraiser for a Performing Arts Center in Royal Coconut Beach. By the way, the author is an attorney, and currently the vice president of development for the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Hmm. . . Perhaps this lady writes what she knows.

Bergner’s descriptions of the powerful and wealthy sparkle alongside the Jimmy Choo stilettos. I’m not sure why she left out the Lily Pulitzer prints, but she managed to mention the Stubbs and Wootton shoes.

Oh, did I mention that everyone is having an affair? Well, not exactly everyone. The protagonist only dreams of one with an Argentinian billionaire who she meets clandestinely on the bridge. Remember, Royal Coconut Beach, like Palm Beach, is an island.

She confides in her lunch buddies about work, pleasure and daily living. Can raising dollars for nonprofits really be a back-stabbing, challenging business? Does Bergner blur the lines of reality in this roman a clef?

Read it for yourself, because I know you will enjoy it. The short, witty chapters fly by. And, by the way, pass the prosecco please.

A Chic Luncheon for a Noble Cause

27 Mar

I recently attended the RDK Melanoma Foundation 23rd Annual Luncheon at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. The event with more than 400 attendees was ultra chic and included a fashion show by internationally acclaimed fashion designer Monique Lhuillier.

Debbie Schwarzberg created this foundation in memory of her brother who lost his life to melanoma in hopes of educating others about the disease. The annual luncheon is the main fundraiser for the foundation which address the prevention and detection of skin cancer.

The gowns were feminine, sophisticated and red-carpet worthy. My favorite is the upper left with a floral design on tulle. And as equally delicious as the fashions is the yummy, chocolate dessert, above.

Lhuiller has a cadre of Hollywood devotees including Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow and more. Reese Witherspoon wrote the forward to the coffee table book Monique Lhuiller: Dreaming of Fashion and Glamour.

The sponsors of the luncheon included Tampa General Hospital, the Leder Foundation and Sun Capital Partners Foundation.

As we enter the summer months and sun is strong, please wear sunscreen!

A Heartfelt Evening

18 Feb

Heart and home are always a winning combination. On the March 10, the Kips Bay Show Decorator Show House Palm Beach will be the site of a “Heartful Evening,” to benefit Simply From the Heart. I’ve written about the charity Simply from the Heart on this blog, and I’ve featured images about the Kips Bay Show House when I edited Style magazine, years ago.

This year’s event starts at 5:30 on the evening of March 10 and promises to be spectacular. Not only can you donate to benefit a great cause, but you will be able to see a fabulous home on Flager Dr. in West Palm Beach, Florida decorated by prestigious interior designers.

Simply from the Heart is a nonprofit organization raising the self-esteem for severely ill patients through therapeutic treatments such as massages, manicures, pedicures and more.

For more information about this event, please visit

For general information

A Fashion Lens

2 Feb

I recently visited the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida to view the Nicola Erni Collection of fashion photography. The exhibit High Fashion & Street Style featured more than 250 photographs by renowned artists. Some of the photographers include: Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, Vivian Maier and many more.

This debut exhibit features rare vintage prints from the 1930s to today. Photographer Norman Parkinson captured Wanda and Ostriches (above) for British Vogue in South Africa in 1951.

Jerry Schatzberg shot this photo, below, of Betsy Pickering on Wall Street for US Vogue in 1958.

There are plenty of modern photos as well including this one below by Tommy Ton printed in 2014. Note the Louis Vuitton handbag, the snazzy boots and the linked bracelets. It’s a great outfit for 2023.

Fashion photography is as beautiful as the clothing.

Sporty Streetwear Looks

12 Dec

If you are looking for a great holiday gift with a sports theme, try a local, Motown small business The 2nd String. Engineer Nick Bradley (right) started the business combining his love of sports and design. Although he is still an engineer with a day job, his passion for sports is in his collections.

“I have always loved the graphics produced in the 90s and couldn’t figure out why sportswear moved away from that, especially when in the streetwear space people are super creative and artistic in those designs,” says Bradley. He felt team logo apparel was boring and lazy, so he created The 2nd string in 2019.

There are several collections including, college teams (Spartans and Wolverines), streetwear and the 2nd string designs. As I write this blog, the Detroit Lions are on a winning streak, so I feel compelled to include this design.

As we say in Motown, depending on your team of choice — Go Blue, Go Green or Go Lions!

Complicated Relationships

16 Nov

I was honored to be the co-chair, with Sandi Rosen (left), at the recent Mandel JCC Sisterhood Brunch at Temple Emanu-El in Palm Beach. The event featured Sally Koslow (middle), author of The Real Mrs. Tobias.

The novel is about multi-generational mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws and the many complicated relationships within the families. Need I say more. . . the mother-in-laws are therapists. Think Nora Eprhon because some of the scenes are laugh-out-loud funny but yet poignant at times. This fast-paced read resonates with many people. Don’t we all have some complicated relationships?

The next event, if you are in the area, is December 15 with authors Alyson Richman and Shaunna Edwards, who wrote The Thread Collectors. For more information, click here.

Thumbs Up for Denise Lutz

30 Oct

I wrote this article about Denise Lutz for the November issue of Downtown NewsMagazine, Birmingham, Michigan.

The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none,” applies to many individuals but not to former Detroiter Denise Lutz. Lutz excels at everything. Friends describe her as a Renaissance woman for she is a photographer, equestrian, philanthropist, pilot, animal advocate and car aficionado.

And wait. . .there’s more. She just added published author to this lofty list. Lutz recently returned to her hometown to celebrate her first novel, Thumbs. She debuted the novel along with a landscape photography exhibit at the Robert Kidd Gallery in downtown Birmingham. Lutz’s “Heaven on Earth” exhibit featured 20 signed limited-edition photographs shot in Michigan, Kentucky and Switzerland. Always charity minded, she donated the proceeds of the art sale to local photojournalist Linda Solomon’s nonprofit, Pictures of Hope, helping children express their thoughts with a camera.

According to Lutz, Birmingham was the perfect venue for this celebration. “Detroit is my roots, and I used to work around the corner from the gallery,” she said.

Although she currently lives in Kentucky on historic Glen Lake Farm, Motown is part of her soul. Lutz grew up on the tree-lined streets of Lathrup Village with extended family nearby. Her idyllic childhood included summers Up North in a log cabin on a lake enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities, including horseback riding. Her interest in aviation began at an early age as her dad would fly the family to the cabin. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, she entered the advertising world, working local stalwarts W.B. Doner and J.Walter Thompson, becoming the first female art director in Detroit. Then, when she married auto executive Bob Lutz, of GM and Ford fame, she became the quintessential corporate wife wearing ballgowns, meeting dignitaries and fundraising for nonprofits.

After her divorce from Lutz, she wanted a different locale and decided to move to Kentucky to be closer to family, create her horse farm and begin a new life chapter.

“I decided I have a lot to say and share, and I knew how to write a bit, having been in advertising,” she said.

She began writing nonfiction with a partner and decided to break out on her own with a novel. A book agent questioned her fiction writing skills. Never shying away from a challenge, Lutz attended writing seminars in New York and programs at the Carnegie Center for Literacy in Lexington.

“I knew I loved outrageous, quirky characters,” she said. Thumbs, a comic thriller, tells the story of sweet Catharine, married to the inventor of sexting, who blackmails personnel. All goes awry with laugh-aloud antics when Catherine becomes an assassin’s bait.

“Denise Lutz has the lightning-fast mind, razor-sharp wit and fabulously dark sense of humor that would make masters of the craft from Hitchcock to Hiaasen giggle admirably,” said Erin Chandler, of Rabbit House Press, the book’s publisher.

This is certainly a debut novel as Lutz has many plot lines from her professional and personal life and looks forward to more publications. She describes herself as independent, appreciative and someone who listens to her own voice.

“I am curious and grateful for the blessings and strengths that I have, and for the beauty in life, the good friends, family and faith that sustain us through those events we cannot control.”

Story: Carla Schwartz

Photo: Laurie Tennent

Fashionista Friends and Authors

18 Oct

Neiman Marcus, in Troy, Michigan, recently hosted a fashionable event with three Detroit icons — Brenda Rosenberg (left), Suzy Farbman (middle) and Linda Solomon. Not only are these women known for their stylish looks, but they are authors of dynamic books. They are also friends, and I’m proud to say that they are my friends too.

When I wrote about Brenda previously in the former magazine Style, I described her as bold, bodacious and beautiful. Well, she’s so much more. For the past several years, she has been on a journey of peacemaking, bringing together many ethnic and religious groups. Now, she is the author of Charmed, a memoir told through her charm bracelet. Brenda will be honored on Nov. 10 at the Trade Secrets event at the Detroit Marriott Troy.

Suzy Farbman is a past honoree of Trade Secrets, featured previously on Motown Savvy. She is an award-winning journalist and compelling story teller. She has covered design for national and Detroit publications. Her latest book, Detroit’s Cass Corridor & Beyond, is part memoir and part art book. Farbman includes personal photos of her homes in Franklin, Michigan and Sarasota Florida with photographs by Beth Singer.

In welcoming readers to her book, Suzy writes: “By opening our doors and telling our story in these pages through vivid images and anecdotes, I am sending a personal love letter to each reader. As you turn these pages, I invite you to celebrate with me the love of family, the joys of collecting, the resilience of one of the world’s great cities, and the brilliant diversity of Detroit’s artists.”

Linda Solomon is an award-winning photojournalist nationally and locally. I featured her on Motown Savvy when her book on Aretha Franklin the Queen Next Door was first published. As I posted before, Linda developed a trusted relationship with Franklin and documented her career. From Christmas parties to birthday bashes to recording sessions, this is a personal portrait of a Motown legend. Yes, the Pink Cadillac is prominent.

Linda’s passion is her Pictures of Hope project, helping children in need express their thoughts with a camera.

As you can see, these three fashionable women are extraordinary!

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