An Interview with Ken Follett

On Saturday, despite record-breaking temperatures in the high 90s and a record crowd of 150,000 people in Washington D.C. for the National Book Festival, I recorded a very cool event in my personal and professional life. I had the extraordinary pleasure of interviewing author Ken Follett. (Pardon me while I continue my slow (and reluctant) descent from Cloud 9.)

Fall of Giants, the first in the author's new Century trilogy, comes out tomorrow (the books are in the building and ready to hit our shelves in the morning!). In other words, we are READY! So ready, in fact, Jen told me that she's got it on order for delivery to her Kindle at midnight tonight! Obviously, we cannot wait to get our hands on this new epic from one of the world's best storytellers.Tomorrow will come soon enough. In the meantime, here's what the author has to say about the book.

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Ken Follett Interview from Darien Library on Vimeo.

Meet the Author: John Barricelli

John Barricelli will be at the Library on Thursday, March 25th at 7 p.m.
John Barricelli will be at the Library on Thursday, March 25th at 7 p.m.

Our Spring Author Series continues on Thursday, March 25th at 7 p.m. with a visit John Barricelli, author of The SoNo Baking Company Company Cookbook: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion. The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook has been named one of 2010's Most Exciting Food Books by Publishers Weekly. 

John Barricelli is the owner of the SoNo Baking Company & Café in South Norwalk, a sought-after destination for artisanal breads, specialty cakes, delicate pastries, and much more. As a third generation baker, host of PBS’s Everyday Baking from Everyday Food, and regular guest on NBC’s The Martha Stewart Show (the book’s foreword is by Martha Stewart), Barricelli emphasizes using the best ingredients, techniques, and equipment to produce beautiful, professional-quality results at home. From his numerous television appearances, Barricelli has become a household name in the world of baking. In this visually stunning new cookbook, he presents 150 comprehensive, easy-to-follow, and inventive recipes for sweet and savory items, including cookies, cobblers, pies, brownies, tarts, and quiches. Feast on delectable treats from SoNo Baking Company & Café while the author shares expert tips that will empower both novices and the most advanced chefs to revamp their baking repertoires and create new variations on old favorites.

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

 

 

Spring Author Abundance!

It's not even officially spring yet, but we are abloom with spring author news! Our spring has just been extended with some added bounty and color for our Spring Author Series. As if it wasn't already great enough (great? It's fantastic!), we have just added two authors to our Meet the Author events. T. J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt will be here on Thursday, May 13th at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m. we will welcome Lee Child, whose new Reacher novel, 61 Hours will be hot off the presses. All the details are below.

Our March authors focus on family and home; health and hearth.

 

Thursday, March 4 at 7 p.m.

JUDITH WARNER - Author of We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication

Each year, millions of families struggle with how to help children who are suffering from a host of disorders, including autism, Asperger’s disorder, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more. Treatment and remedies are topics that involve some of the most important and complex decisions that parents will ever make for their children. In her newest book, Judith Warner, New York Times bestselling author of 2005’s Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, returns to explore the answers to two very timely questions: Are we overdiagnosing and overmedicating our children? Are parents and physicians labeling children to “explain away” bad behavior? The author followed and spoke with a cross-section of parents, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts over the course of her five years of rigorous research for her insightful and compelling book. With sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and clarity, as seen through the stories of real children and their families, Warner brings concerns and perspective to this controversial debate. This program is co-sponsored by YWCA Parent Awareness Network.

 

 

Thursday, March 25 at 7 p.m.

JOHN BARRICELLI - Author of The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook: The Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for Every Occasion

John Barricelli is the owner of the SoNo Baking Company & Café in South Norwalk, a sought-after destination for artisanal breads, specialty cakes, delicate pastries, and much more. As a third generation baker, host of PBS’s Everyday Baking from Everyday Food, and regular guest on NBC’s The Martha Stewart Show, Barricelli emphasizes using the best ingredients, techniques, and equipment to produce beautiful, professional-quality results at home. In this visually stunning new cookbook, he presents 150 comprehensive, easy-to-follow, and inventive recipes for sweet and savory items, including cookies, cobblers, pies, brownies, tarts, and quiches. Feast on delectable treats from SoNo Baking Company & Café while the author shares expert tips that will empower both novices and the most advanced chefs to revamp their baking repertoires and create new variations on old favorites.

 

 

Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p.m.

CHARLOTTE SMITH - Author of Dreaming of Dior: Every Dress Tells a Story

Five years ago, Charlotte Smith, Curator of The Fashion and Textile Gallery in Sydney, Australia, inherited a priceless vintage clothing collection from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. Dating from 1790 to 1995, the collection had been a lifetime labor of love for Darnell and consists of more than 5,000 treasures, ranging from a pioneer womans daintily mended best dress to couture originals by Dior, Chanel, and Balenciaga. Once Smith received the collection and unearthed her godmother’s book of stories about the dresses and the women who wore them, the true value of what was bequeathed to her actually hit home – that this isn’t a mere collection of beautiful things; it is a collection of lives – tiny snapshots of joys and disappointments, entrances and exits, and triumphs and tragedies. The book, complete with gorgeous illustrations by Grant Cowan, is for any woman who knows that a dress can hold a lifetime of memories. The author’s presentation will include a display of several pieces from the collection.

Sunday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m.

JONATHAN EIG - Author of Get Capone: The Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster

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.  

 

Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

T. J. STILES - Author of The First Tycoon: the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

This national bestseller and 2009 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction 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 mroe 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

(T. J. Stiles' appearance is jointly funded by the Friends of the Darien Library and Barrett Bookstore.)

 

 Sunday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m.

LEE CHILD - Author of 61 Hours

Lee Child is the #1 internationally bestselling author of 13 Reacher thrillers, including The New York Times bestsellers The Enemy, One Shot, The Hard Way, and the #1 bestselling Bad Luck and Trouble, and Nothing to Lose. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery, and The Enemy won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel. Child, a native of England and a former television director, lives in New York City.

61 Hours is Lee Child's 14th Reacher novel. Jack Reacher is back and the countdown has begun! Get ready for the most exciting 61 hours of your life. Lee Child's latest thriller is a ticking time bomb of suspense that builds electric tension on every page.

“All good thriller writers know how to build suspense and keep the pages turning, but only better ones deliver tight plots as well, and only the best allow the reader to match wits with both the hero and the author. Bestseller Child does all of that in spades.... [He] sets things up subtly and ingeniously, then lets Reacher use both strength and guile to find his way to the exciting climax.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review (Review for Gone Tomorrow)

"Do yourself a favor and get hooked on this series." - Cleaveland Plain Dealer

Each presentation will conclude with a book signing. Books will be available for purchase.

Refreshments will be served.

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

Amy Bloom (Will Hang Out) at Darien Library

Amy Bloom (Photo credit BethKelly Photography)
Amy Bloom (Photo credit BethKelly Photography)

On Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m., Amy Bloom, author of Away, and the just-released  Where the God of Love Hangs Out, will be hanging out with us right here at Darien Library! She is a New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award Finalist, and a National Book Critics Circle Nominee. Where the God of Love Hangs Out , which comes out on January 12th, is an interconnected story collection focusing on two pairs of people, and radiating out from there to all the complexities of love, family, and friendship.

Amy Bloom is a beloved short story writer, whose writing has been praised by The New York Times as “alive with incident and unforgettable characters.” The Boston Globe comments that “it’s not easy to be lyrical, funny, and brilliant all at once, and Bloom is.”

Bloom’s trademark wry humor, dazzling prose, strong voice, and lively particulars can be found throughout Where the God of Love Hangs Out, as a student comes to terms with her roommate’s murder, a mother and stepson share a dark secret, and two married middle-aged friends begin an affair, among other complicated entanglements.

“Amy Bloom’s new stories are heartbreaking marvels of concision.” – Elle Magazine

Amy Bloom's training and long experience as a psychotherapist bring an insightfulness and an understanding of complex emotions to her writing. She is the author two collections of prize-winning and acclaimed story collections, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate, and Salon. She teaches creative writing at Yale University.

A book signing will follow the presentation. Books will be available for sale. Refreshments will be served.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library's contributions to our Annual Campaign, and the author's appearance is made possible by Barrett Bookstore.

 

Tonight at the Library: Norb Vonnegut - Author of "Top Producer"

Norb Vonnegut
Norb Vonnegut

 

Coming to Darien Library on Thursday, December 17th at 7 p.m.!

NORB VONNEGUT

Author of Top Producer

Norb Vonnegut built an extensive career in private wealth management, most recently as Managing Director with a finance boutique in New York City and previously with Morgan Stanley, Paine Webber, and Kidder, Peabody. Now he brings the reader into the world of Top Producer, a sharp and twisted thriller that moves at breakneck pace.

Click here for all the details.

 

 

We're just MAD about Lucinda!

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It was an evening of laughter, great food, wine, and friends as we continued our Fall Author Series last night with a visit by acclaimed chef Lucinda Scala Quinn, who offered some tried and true tips from her new cookbook, Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, on how to tame the "wild beasts" in our lives and share with us how to make a family meal that will attract even the pickiest of eaters and satisfy even the most urgent of hungry situations!

Aside from her expertise as Martha Stewart's "food guru," co-host of the PBS show Everyday Food, and frequent contributor to Today and Martha, Lucinda lives with three sons and a husband who all love to eat - so she really knows her stuff! Here are just some of the brilliant (and hilarious!) tips she gave the audience on how to make boys and men crave those nutritious, home-cooked meals and function on their own around the kitchen:
  • Always have bacon on hand. The stuff lasts forever! And whether you're serving it as a main part of your dish or not, the smell of bacon cooking will surely lure anyone to the kitchen table.
     
  • You will build a vegetable eater if you give vegetables their due credit. Rather than hiding spinach in a brownie dessert, celebrate the taste of the leafy green simply by sauteing it in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, to the point where it just begins to fall. Don't let it get soggy, and you'll have boys who will begin to adore the traditionally feared side-dish!
     
  • Men are not genetically incapable of washing dishes. They just need a little encouragement! If they leave crusted, dirty pots in the sink or on the stove, put them in a place that will have them horrified and rushing to the sink looking for the SOS. Lucinda’s suggested locations: their car seat or their sock drawers. Hmmm….
Not only did she dole out great strategies, our speaker and her eldest son Calder (remember that name; this boy is going to be a star!) prepared for the entire audience a tasting of the salsa recipe from the book. The secret to awesome salsa? Add radishes and water! It was amazing.... 
 
And we all feasted on the to-die-for desserts that the Library staff baked for refreshments during the book signing reception. (We did not bake the stunning book cake shown in the photos; but thank you so much to our favorite "To Read or Not To Read" gals for including us all in their birthday celebration!) Another tip from Lucinda - bake the coffee cake recipe from the book and then freeze it hot. It seals in all the moisture, so that when you cut a slice in the morning, it will be absolutely incredible. Freeze while still hot? Who knew?!
 
By the way, have I mentioned yet just how fabulous the new cookbook actually is? The recipes are diverse and comforting, the advice is practical and thorough, the photography is gorgeous, and the pages stay open on their own.  Plus, as one patron keenly pointed out last night, the book is complete with stories and explanations, and would make for as compelling a bedside read as the latest fiction best-seller.
 
What more can I say, other than, you'd be mad not to get your hands on this book!
 
Oh, and Lucinda loves Darien Library just as much as we love her! How cool is this?!

The A.J. Effect

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Yesterday evening, we kicked off our Fall Author Series with a visit from A.J. Jacobs, the delightful and hilarious best-selling author of The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and his most recent memoir, The Guinea Pig Diaries.

And what an evening it was!

There was certainly no shortage of laughter to be had as A.J. shared personal stories of the experiments he has put himself (and his wife) through over the past 15 years in a quest to explore his curiosities about life. Perhaps one might think that deciding to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z, or choosing to follow all (literally all) the tenants of the Bible for an entire year, or spending a month practicing radical honesty, or posing in the nude for a magazine all might be suitable as punishment for committing a major crime. However, thank goodness A.J. sees the potential in these difficult and crazy tasks to add meaning to his life - and through each of his books, a whole lot of laughter and amazement to ours.

(By the way, last night, the audience got to meet his wife, Julie, "the saint." It was a bit of a surreal moment. And yes, she is absolutely wonderful!)

Now, many of us here are still recovering from what Barbara T. has brilliantly coined - The A.J. Effect. You know you're experiencing it when you find yourself spontaneously combusting into laughter at the mere thought of George Washington...or Crest Toothpaste...or Kate Hudson movies. It's true - none of these things are inherently funny. But when you combine A.J. Jacobs and his observations, witty style of writing, and thought-provoking insights with just about any subject, the result is something so hilarious and unforgettable that you are compelled to tell everyone (seriously, everyone) about his books and insist that they read them, too. 

If you happened to miss our event last night, or if you just want to re-live all of the laugh-out-loud goodness, keep your eye on our website. In the coming days, we will have A.J.'s entire talk available to watch as a webcast.

And here is a bit more fantastic news that we learned yesterday. A.J. is currently in the midst of his next major quest - to become the healthiest person in the world. He has a board of advisors (that includes Dr. Oz!), has starting visiting the gym, and he even refrained from snacking on the cheese and crackers at our reception last night (not a healthy food, he admitted). He takes his experiments very seriously - and I seriously cannot wait to read his next book!

Talking about "The Richest Man in Town"

 

W. Randall Jones, the founder of Worth magazine and the author of The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth, will be at the ibrary on Sunday, May 3 at 5 p.m.

Mr. Jones, who will be launching his book tour at Darien Library, interviewed the richest men and women in the 100 largest towns in America – all of them self-made financial giants. In his new book, “The Richest Man in Town,” which debuts on May 4, he reveals the key common traits of these individuals and makes their success tips available to everyone. Mr. Jones, a frequent commentator on numerous television shows including The TODAY Show, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, and FOX News, will talk about his research and some of the surprising and extraordinary revelations he made.

“Clear, concise and actionable advice from 100 of the greatest self-made success stories of our time, ‘The Richest Man in Town’ shows you how you too can become the most successful person in your town.” – Jennifer Openshaw, personal finance columnist, MarketWatch.com

Mr. Jones serves as Chairman and CEO of American Idea Lab, a media ideation and investment firm. He sits on the boards of Wilmington Trust New York, Trinity Capital Services, Yureekah Technologies, and American Idea Lab. In addition, Jones is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the Creative Coalition, and the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy. To satiate his passion for economic education, Mr. Jones has served as a board member of the National Council for Economic Education. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America recently honored him as “Philanthropist of the Year.”

Considered a serial entrepreneur, W. Randall Jones is an author, publisher, and media executive who has spent 30 years in the publishing, TV, internet, film, and media businesses.

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

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

 

Grand Opening Author Series To Open with Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill will be the first speaker in our Grand Opening Author Series.

Date: Sunday January 25, 2009

Time: 5 p.m.

(Doors open at 4:30)

Place: Darien Library Community Room

 

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

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