Any verifiable facts about its author Lao Tzu (Loazi) have been lost to history.
The title refers to the fact that there are really two books here: The Tao Ching, which is the first half of the text (chapters 1-37) and the Te Ching (chapters 38-81). If this is your first experience with the Tao Te Ching, don’t worry. The 81 chapters are brief collections of verses.
I recommend that we read Derek Lin’s translation. It’s a nice balance of accuracy and fluidity. You can find it free here: http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm. If you are moved to go deeper, his annotated book is available for around $11 online.
I look forward to the ongoing discussion on the Facebook group page and to our eventual meeting on August 1st.