Concluding in Grand Fashion

Alexandra Lebenthal
Alexandra Lebenthal

What do you wear to meet a socialite?


What do you wear to meet a CEO-cialite?!

That was the question on hand (or perhaps just in my mind?!) last Thursday as Darien Library hosted it's 5th annual Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale Party!

Our guest speaker was Alexandra Lebenthal, the socially prominent (and completely stunning) President and CEO of Lebenthal & Co. and its wealth management division, Alexandra & James, Inc. Ms. Lebenthal, who also serves as a board member of the School of American Ballet and is involved with several other leading New York cultural institution (and who approves of the CEO-cialite moniker, dubbed by the press!), visited us to talk about her debut novel, The Recessionistas, which is set during the 2008 economic landslide and follows a cast of high society characters living in New York City. She gave the audience some fascinating and expert insight into the entire financial debacle and revealed the inspiration for this fictional account by sharing some of the true stories - the what, where, why, and how - that occurred in New York City among the financial and social elite at the time of the slide -- and yes, the talk did involve a bit of fashion and fierce shoes! (I took notes!)

Fascinating, entertaining, and completely enthralling. It was a quintessential summer-in-the-city experience, centered around this quintessential summer-in-the-city read! (In case you missed the event, Alexandra's presentation is posted below. And take a look at more photos from the event here.)

To make the evening complete, our guest speaker helped us draw the winners for our grand finale prizes, the Amazon Kindle (with a leather case and gift certificate to, and just for those in attendance, our last weekly tote bag filled with books (including a signed copy of The Recessionistas). Then, it was time for wine, cheese, and celebration of a summer full of reading and talking about books!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this year's program. We received over 600 participants and over 500 reviews, and over the next few weeks, we'll be adding them to our website (as reviews by "Summer Reading 2010"), so that we can all share what we thought about the books we've read over the past few months!


Alexandra Lebenthal at Darien Library from Darien Library on Vimeo.

Emily Gray Tedrowe at Darien Library - The Video of the Presentation

Last Thursday evening, July 15th, we hosted the first of our Adult Summer Reading Meet the Author events. We were delighted to welcome Emily Gray Tedrowe, the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Commuters,and she graced us with a thoughtful and fun presentation. If you've been to our weekly Meet Us on Main Street program recently, or if you visit our website frequently, you'll know that Commuters is one of our favorites this year - highly recommended as a summertime (or anytime) read.

Emily spoke of her love of books, her memories of reading, and her memory of the conversation (gossip???) that planted the seed for this story in her mind. In the crafting of this literate first novel, the author, an award-winning short story writer, created rich and three-dimensional characters and tells the story through the voices of three main characters. Vanity. Greed. Illness. Betrayal. Love. Loss. Lust. Secrets.  ...they all converge in this multi-layered, multi-generational, one-year-in-the-life, truly original story.


Emily Gray Tedrowe, author of Commuters: A Novel from Darien Library on Vimeo.



Meet the Author: Emily Gray Tedrowe

Emily Gray Tedrowe
Emily Gray Tedrowe

Emily Gray Tedrowe

Author of Commuters: A Novel

Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m.

Living the life of a commuter may not be the ideal during the hot summer months, but we're happy to be enjoying the newly-released book, Commuters: A Novel by Emily Gray Tedrowe- an engrossing read, ideal for summer (or any time, actually). Add to that our happiness at being able to announce Ms. Tedrowe's visit here to Darien Library as part of our Adult Summer Reading program, and, well, yes...we have lots of reasons to smile.

Commuters depicts the shockwaves set in motion by the sudden marriage of one middle-class family's 78-year-old matriarch to a wealthy outsider. Winnie Easton has found love with Jerry Trevis - and their decision to purchase the biggest house in their small upstate New York town is met with anger and skepticism from their families. It's an insightful human story about human nature, the nature of families, and the inherent complexities and repercussions of those relationships and decisions. Told from alternating perspectives, Ms. Tedrowe captures the profound and the intimate in this beautifully-drawn family drama.

"Tedrowe is an exceptionally adept first-time novelist, creating a thoroughly engrossing plot, redolent settings, and intriguing characters coping valiantly with fear, terrible decisions, and the bewitchment of money. Tedrowe's tale of family conflict, shelter, love, and loss is suspenseful, funny, and tender." -- Donna Seaman, Booklist

"In her wonderfully cohesive debut novel, short story writer Tedrowe graduates to elegant novelist with a winding, convincing familial drama about the ties that bind and the bonds that bend to the breaking point... The author's deft handling of a large and distinctive cast should win raves from those who revel in this sort of ensemble crazy quilt. A lovely and literate family drama wins bonus points for its sincerity and open-hearted delivery." -- Kirkus

Recently, at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington D.C., I had the good fortune to speak with Ms. Tedrowe who was at the Harper Collins booth  signing copies of her book.  Happy to receive one, I (coincidentally) saved the book for the commute back to Connecticut. The author is delightful - the book, so completely engrossing, multi-layered and literate, it's hard to believe that she is a first-time novelist. Not only does this book seem destined to become a favorite selection for book groups, it also marks the beginning of this new novelist's solid footing in the world of literature.

A resident of Chicago, she's looking forward to her visit to Darien Library. We look forward to welcoming her!

Please join us on Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m. for this very special Adult Summer Reading author event.

Refreshments will be served.

A book signing will follow the presentation.

Books will be available for purchase.


Lee Child at Darien Library - The Video of the Presentation

Lee Child visited the Library on June 6th. His newest book is
Lee Child visited the Library on June 6th. His newest book is "61 Hours."

When Lee Child was here last Sunday to talk about his newest book in the Reacher series61 Hours, we had a standing-room only crowd for his most-excellent presentation. It was such an honor to host the #1 bestselling author, and it was made doubly (triply?!) satisfying because he was warm and interesting and funny and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. One fan drove from upstate Connecticut, through near-tornado conditions to see her favorite author. Attendance at the event was an early Father's Day surprise for another one of our visitors, whose family beamed as he was, indeed, delightfully surprised. 

Forgive us if we are still on a little bit of an author high ourselves. We are overjoyed that Lee agreed to make Darien Library a stop on his international tour. (Pause. Reflect. Sigh. Put feet on ground.)

For those of you who were here for the program, you'll recall that the author took a photo of the audience to post on his website. Well, post it he did! Here's the photo of us (at right) and you can read what he had to say on his tour blog by clicking here.

If you were unable to attend Sunday's smash event, below is the video of the author presentation. And if you were here for the event, we know that you know that you'll just have to watch it again to see if it really was as good as you remember. (It was!) 

Lee Child author of 61 Hours from Darien Library on Vimeo.

Author Julie Hersh Visits Darien Library: A Video of the Presentation

Author Julie Hersh visited Darien Library on Friday, June 4, 2010.
Author Julie Hersh visited Darien Library on Friday, June 4, 2010.

Last Friday, Darien Library held a special Meet-the-Author event with Julie K. Hersh, author of the recently released book, Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope. The book shares with great candour and humility the author's intense struggles with depression.

In this very eloquent, engaging, and entertaining presentation, Julie tells the story of her depression, the factors that contributed to the seriousness of her illness, and the controversial treatment, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), that aided in her recovery. She also shares practical tips for distinguishing between having a "down" day and being depressed, the additional factors that helped Julie achieve mental health again, and ways that you can to maintain your mental health, as well.


Julie K. Hersh author of Struck by Living from Darien Library on Vimeo.

For additional resources pertaining to mental health awareness in the local community, The Community Fund of Darien has published Creating Connections, a directory of mental health and support services for Darien. Click here to access the full directory. Specific hotlines within Darien that attend to mental health include:

Infoline: 211
Child Guidance: 888-825-6777
Family Centers: 877-349-4689


"Struck by Living" Author at the Library

Julie K. Hersh
Julie K. Hersh

On Friday, June 4 at 10 a.m., Julie K. Hersh will be at the Library to speak about her new book, Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope. Ms. Hersh is a mother, corporate wife, and advocate for mental health awareness. The book traces Ms. Hersh’s search for identity through her career, interfaith marriage, motherhood, and clinical depression. In “Struck by Living,” Hersh picks apart the irony of her life with humor and brutal honesty. Despite having a loving husband, healthy children, and financial security, she tried to kill herself three times.

(A study conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in September 2009 that 2.3 million adults had made a suicidal plan and that 1.1 million adults actually attempted suicide in the past year in the United States.)

“My goal with ‘Struck by Living’ is to dispel the stigma associated with mental illness and make it more real for those who have never experienced depression,” the author says. Ms. Hersh’s recovery path includes electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT. “In my case, ECT was that last option for pulling me out of depression much like a triple bypass is used for someone with severe heart disease,” she states. In summary, her book provides a personal account of what a clinically depressed person feels and the challenges faced for a medical problem with an inexact methodology for recovery.

"As a severe case, Hersh gives a clear, resonant voice to many aspects of a complicated illness, while offering a moving and hopeful (though at times frightening) narrative for those fighting to overcome depression's worst." -- Publishers Weekly 

The program will include refreshments and a book signing. Books will be available for purchase.

Please join us for this important author event.

Meet the Author: Lee Child

Meet the Author: Lee Child - Sunday, June 6th at 5:30 p.m.
Meet the Author: Lee Child - Sunday, June 6th at 5:30 p.m.

Our Spring Author Series will conclude on Sunday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m. with a visit from bestselling author Lee Child. Lee Child is the #1 bestselling author of 14 Reacher thrillers, including his newest, 61 Hours, which was published on May 18th.  

The series character Jack Reacher is a former United States Army Military Policeman who led a fictional unit, the 110th Special Investigations Unit, formed to handle exceptionally tough cases, especially those involving members of the United States Army Special Forces.

Now a drifter, the only possessions Reacher appears to keep are a foldable toothbrush, an expired passport, and an ATM card. 61 Hours is set in South Dakota and Reacher is traveling on a sightseeing tour bus when it crashes during a savage snow storm. As the riders are stranded in the middle of nowhere during a blizzard, Reacher gets caught up in a hunt for a murderer and the protection of a key witness who is set to testify in court against an international drug ring.

Here's what the critics are saying about 61 Hours (and its author):

 “Child is a superb craftsman of suspense, juggling several plots and keeping his herrings well-rouged... Best of all, this is a rare series book that reads like a stand-alone. Everything you need to know about Jack Reacher is contained within its pages. And chances are you’ll want to seek out other Reacher adventures the moment you finish.” – Entertainment Weekly

 “Child’s writing is superb. Not only is this thriller believable, but the descriptions of the blizzard will make readers want to hug their furnaces. Fast paced and exciting, this is highly recommended.”Library Journal, starred review

 “This is Child in top form, but isn’t he always?”Booklist, starred review

The Stamford Advocate did a nice story in last Friday. Click here to read the article. Also, here's the link to Joe Meyers' great feature for the Connecticut Post.

Child is a native of England and a former television presentation director for Granada Television in Manchester. During his tenure, his company made Brideshead Revisited, "The Jewel in the Crown," Prime Suspect, and Cracker.

A book signing and reception will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase.

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen’s).

See The Big Picture (and Bottle Shock)

Friday, May 21st at 7:30  p.m. -- Meet the Author: Kevin Coupe
Friday, May 21st at 7:30 p.m. -- Meet the Author: Kevin Coupe

On Friday, May 21 at 7:30, Meet the Author Meets  Friday Night Films! Kevin Coupe, co-author of the book The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies will be here to talk about the book...and the movies. The film Bottle Shock will be shown following the presentation. The book, written by Coupe and Michael Sansolo, uses movies ranging from The Godfather to Young Frankenstein to illustrate tenets of leadership, the importance of marketing and branding, and how to survive in the workplace.

Kevin is a Darien resident and has his own website/blog,, which after 10 years, has well over 20,000 subscribers. He also runs Coupe Communications, a production company that specializes in business videos designed to help companies define and share big ideas with employees, customers, and clients.

The author presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will include a book signing. (Books will be available for purchase.) The film screening of Bottle Shock will begin at 8:30 p.m. We hope that you'll join us for this enlightening and entertaining evening!

Bottle Shock (2008) Starring Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman; Rated PG-13; 109 minutes

This film is based on an inspiring true story from the early days of California winemaking. In 1976, in the Napa Valley, a small winery and its workers compete in a blind taste test against French wine.

"Bottle Shock is more than the story. It is also about people who love their work, care about it with passion and talk about it with knowledge." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"This intelligent, affectionate, beautifully acted movie gives crowd-pleasers a good name." -- Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

Click here to watch the trailer for the film.

Click here to see the schedule of our upcoming Friday Night Films.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen’s).

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author T.J. Stiles at the Library

T.J. Stiles will be the featured speaker at Darien Library on Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

T.J. Stiles, the author of The First Tycoon: the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography for The First Tycoon.  His appearance is part of our Spring Author Series and we are delighted that he will be here to tell us about Cornelius Vanderbilt, the man who inspired the term "robber baron." The title of the book includes the word epic (and it is); Dwight Garner of The New York Times calls the prize-winning book a "whacking new biography." How in the world can we miss this talk?

The First Tycoon is a national bestseller and 2009 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction. It is a gripping, groundbreaking biography of the combative man whose genius and force of will created modern capitalism.

Founder of a dynasty, builder of the original Grand Central, creator of an impossibly vast fortune, by far the wealthiest man of his time, Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt is an American icon. In this definitive life of the great capitalist, we see Vanderbilt help to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan, and invent the modern corporation. In fact, as T. J. Stiles elegantly argues, Vanderbilt did more than perhaps any other individual to create the economic world we live in today.

"A mighty - and mighty confident - work...This is state-of-the-art biography, crisper and more piquant than a 600-page book has any right to be." -- The New York Times

"Stiles, a superb researcher, has unearthed quantities of new material and crafted them into the illuminating, authoritative portrait of Vanderbilt that has been missing for so long." -- The Washington Post

This event is jointly funded by the Friends of the Darien Library and Barrett Bookstore and the author's appearance made possible by Barrett Bookstore.

A book signing will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase.

Refreshments will be served.

T.J. Stiles' visit mid-May will be a great treat. We hope that you'll join us!

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen’s).

To learn more about upcoming events at the Library, please click here.

Meet the Author: Jonathan Eig -- Author of "Get Capone"

Sunday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. - Meet the Author: Jonathan Eig
Sunday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. - Meet the Author: Jonathan Eig

Jonathan Eig, author of Get Capone: The Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster,” will be our featured speaker on Sunday, May 2nd at 5:30 p.m.

Get Capone, which comes out on Tuesday, April 27, is an engrossing biography packed with booze, bullets, and blood. This is American history at its most riveting, written by New York Times best-selling and critically-acclaimed author Jonathan Eig (Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season). Part biography and part detective story, “Get Capone” shatters many of the myths surrounding the man referred to as “Scarface.” Drawing on newly discovered wiretaps, memos, IRS documents, prison records, and personal letters of Al Capone, the book explores how America’s “Public Enemy No. 1” was caught not by Elliot Ness and his “Untouchables” but by government attorneys and accountants operating on direct orders from President Herbert Hoover. Eig explains how Capone, a son of Italian immigrants, rose from small-time thuggery in Brooklyn to become one of the world’s first international celebrities and America’s most ruthless and successful gangster.  

“In a page-turning account, Eig details the chase for the elusive Capone, dissecting both the man and his myth.” Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

“…Eig’s riveting telling of this iconic American Story is both fresh and utterly dazzling.” – Ken Burns, filmmaker

A book signing and reception will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase.

Jonathan Eig’s appearance is part of our Spring Author Series.

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen’s).


Syndicate content