Meet the Author - Kristen Harnisch

Kristen Harnisch [credit: Alix Martinex Photography]
Kristen Harnisch [credit: Alix Martinex Photography]

Tuesday, October 21st at 7 p.m.

Kristen Harnisch, author of The Vintner's Daughter, will be our featured speaker.

In 1895, seventeen-year-old Sara Thibault’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as master winemaker at their stunning Loire Valley family vineyard, Saint Martin. Although many don’t understand her ambition, Sara forges ahead toward her goal with a determination that will soon prove essential.

When Sara’s father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their land to a business rival whose eldest son married Sara’s sister, Lydia. Sara is shocked and deeply disappointed, having hoped to take over, to make her father proud. Disappointment quickly turns to fear when she realizes that her new brother-in-law Bastien has no real interest in the vineyard and far too much interest in her.

A violent tragedy leaves Bastien dead and compels the sisters to flee to America. Sara plans to eventually reclaim her family’s vineyard, but for now she travels to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Bastien’s brother, Philippe—a man as committed to bringing his brother’s killer to justice as he is to building the largest vineyard in the Napa region—they are instantly drawn to each other. But now she must make a choice: to risk discovery or run again. Will he help her regain Saint Martin, or prosecute her for her crime? How much more can she lose? And what loss is finally too great to bear?

About the Author

Kristen Harnisch drew upon her extensive research and experiences living in the San Francisco Bay Area and visiting the Loire Valley to create the story for The Vintner's Daughter, the first in a series about the changing world of vineyard life at the turn of the century. Harnisch has a degree in economics from Villanova University and currently resides in Darien, Connecticut, where she has lived for fourteen years.

A book signing will follow the authors’ presentations. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

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

Meet the Author - Dana Cowin

Dana Cowin
Dana Cowin

Tuesday, November 11th at 7 p.m.

Dana Cowin, author of Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen will be our featured speaker.

An uproarious, inspiring cookbook from the longtime editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine, in which the first lady of food spills the secret of her culinary ineptitude, while learning—finally—to cook, side-by-side with some of the greatest chefs working today, from David Chang to Alice Waters to Thomas Keller.

About the Author

Dana Cowin, Food & Wine’s Editor-in-Chief since 1995, has been covering the world of food, wine, style, and design for over 30 years. She sits on the board of directors of City Harvest, a New York City hunger-relief organization, Wholesome Wave Foundation, dedicated to providing access to sustainable foods, and Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that helps train low-income men and women to join the culinary workforce. In 2012, she was an inductee into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who in Food & Beverage in America. She is an alumna of Brown University and lives in New York City with her husband and two children. To read more about Dana’s adventures follow her at @fwscout on Twitter and on Instagram.

A book signing will follow the authors’ presentations. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

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

Meet the Author - Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand

Wednesday, November 12th at 7 p.m.

Elin Hilderbrand, author of Winter Street, will be our featured speaker.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can't get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley's second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who's playing Santa at the inn's annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley's ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn. 

About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand made a paper angel ornament in third grade that is still in her family's custody. She celebrates the holidays by making batches of homemade mustard and chive pine nut dip and gifting them to her lucky friends. Her favorite carol is "O Holy Night." Winter Street is her fourteenth novel.

Books will be available for purchase at this event. Refreshments will be served.

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

Meet the Author - Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson
Marilyn Johnson

Thursday, November 13th at 7 p.m.

Marilyn Johnson, author of Lives in Ruins, will be our featured speaker.

Lives in Ruins is an absorbing and entertaining look at the lives of contemporary archaeologists as they sweat under the sun for clues to the puzzle of our past. Johnson digs and drinks alongside archaeologists, chases them through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and even Machu Picchu, and excavates their lives. Her subjects share stories we rarely read in history books, about slaves and Ice Age hunters, ordinary soldiers of the American Revolution, children of the first century, Chinese woman warriors, sunken fleets, mummies.

What drives these archaeologists is not the money (meager) or the jobs (scarce) or the working conditions (dangerous), but their passion for the stories that would otherwise be buried and lost.

About the Author

Marilyn Johnson has been a staff writer for Life and an editor at Esquire, Redbook, and Outside. The Dead Beat was chosen for the Borders Original Voices program and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award.

A book signing will follow the authors’ presentations. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

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

Video of Nicholas Dawidoff

On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, Nicholas Dawidoff, author of "Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football", was our featured speaker.

Football is the country's most popular pastime, and yet most of what happens in today's NFL is a mystery. The New York Jets gave Nicholas Dawidoff a security code, a locker, an office in the scouting department, and for an entire year he lived with the team. He has written a vivid, funny, and moving narrative about an emblematic NFL season that deepens the way we know the game.

For more information, please visit the original event listing.

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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