Meet the Author: Laura Silver

Laura Silver
Laura Silver

Tuesday, March 8th at 7 p.m.

Laura Silver, author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, will be our featured speaker.

When Laura Silver’s favorite knish shop went out of business, the native New Yorker sank into mourning, but then she sprang into action. She embarked on a round-the-world quest for the origins and modern-day manifestations of the knish.

The iconic potato pie leads the author from Mrs. Stahl’s bakery in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to an Italian pasta maker in New Jersey–and on to a hunt across three continents for the pastry that shaped her identity. Starting in New York, she tracks down heirs to several knish dynasties and discovers that her own family has roots in a Polish town named Knyszyn.

With good humor and a hunger for history, Silver mines knish lore for stories of entrepreneurship, survival, and major deliciousness. Along the way, she meets Minnesota seniors who make knishes for weekly fundraisers, foodies determined to revive the legacy of Mrs. Stahl, and even the legendary knish maker’s granddaughters, who share their joie de vivre–and their family recipe.

Knish connections to Eleanor Roosevelt and rap music? Die-hard investigator Silver unearths those and other intriguing anecdotes involving the starchy snack once so common along Manhattan’s long-lost Knish Alley. In a series of funny, moving, and touching episodes, Silver takes us on a knish-eye tour of worlds past and present, thus laying the foundation for a global knish renaissance.

About the Author

Laura Silver, the world's leading knish expert, is an award-winning journalist whose writing on food and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Forward, and NPR. Laura has been a writer in residency at the Millay Colony, the Banff Center, and the New York Public Library.

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

The Darien Library is proud to cosponsor this event with the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County.


Undercover with Chris Pavone and Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine

Chris Pavone, photo courtesy of Nina Subin.
Chris Pavone, photo courtesy of Nina Subin.

Wednesday, March 9th at 7 p.m.

Go undercover with Chris Pavone and his world of international intrigue while sipping on some of the wines that are mentioned in his new thriller The Travelers. Following Chris' presentation, Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine will host an informal wine tasting.

About The Travelers
Will Rhodes is an international correspondent for Travelers magazine, hopping around the world to write about food and wine, about foreign cultures and glamorous parties, about local celebrities and adventurous expats. He meets a lot of people; harmless flirtation is part of his job. But the sexy Australian who appears at his Argentinean hotel is not at all harmless, and she pulls Will into a complex and dangerous game.

Malcolm Somers runs Travelers, has a beautiful wife and children, a luxurious apartment, private driver—but Malcolm knows that things could unwind at any moment. He is a classic overachiever, but it isn’t his editorial job at Travelers that often keeps him at the office late at night.

Chloe, Will’s wife and former employee of Travelers, is now working freelance on a few select problematic assignments but is growing increasingly worried that her husband is becoming a problem in his own right. Will has found himself at the center of a dangerous web, completely in the dark, and he can’t figure out what’s going on until it’s nearly too late: his marriage threatened, his career in jeopardy, his life in peril.

About the author
Chris Pavone is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Accident and The Expats, winner of the Edgar and Anthony Awards for best first novel. He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family.


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


The Novel Tea featuring Cheryl Strayed

Photo credit: Joni Kabana
Photo credit: Joni Kabana

Wednesday, March 30th from 12 to 2 p.m.

Join us on an adventure with Cheryl Strayed at our first Novel Tea fundraiser. The lunch will be held at Wee Burn Country Club on Wednesday, March 30th from 12—2 p.m.

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir WILD, the New York Times bestsellers TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS and BRAVE ENOUGH, and the novel TORCH.

Tickets and tables are currently on sale here. Each table seats 10 people, and all attendees will receive a signed copy of Wild.

All funds raised from the Novel Tea will be dedicated to Darien Library resources, including technology, purchasing new books and supporting programs and guest speakers.

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun: A Revolutionary Painter

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842). Self-portrait, 1790. Oil on canvas; 100 x 81 cm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Florence (1905)
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842). Self-portrait, 1790. Oil on canvas; 100 x 81 cm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Florence (1905)

Tuesday, March 1st at 7 p.m.

Living during the late 18th century, one of the most turbulent periods in European history and one in which women were essentially excluded from the official French Painting Academy, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun defied the odds. A mostly self-taught but extremely talented artist, she achieved incredible success, even becoming, by her mid 20s, the favorite portraitist of Marie Antoinette. Forced to flee France during the upheaval of the Revolution, Vigée Le Brun lived in exile for several years, earning a comfortable living for herself and her daughter Julie by painting European heads of state. The painter’s fascinating, cosmopolitan life story is the the stuff of movies, avant la lettre.  In honor of both Women’s History Month and the Metroprolitan Museum of Art’s wonderful monographic exhibition of Vigée Le Brun’s work (running from Feb. 15-May 15), we celebrate this exceptional artist and cultural figure.

About the presenter
Over the last 12 years, art historian Larissa Bailiff has worked as an educator and instructor for MoMA, teaching more than 25 in-gallery courses. Her specialty is modern European art and culture, especially that of France and Spain. In recent months, Larissa has been developing content for a new immersive arts-education and technology company called WoofbertVR.

College Funding and Planning

Image courtesy of flickr user juanillooo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user juanillooo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, March 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Planning for college can be difficult, confusing and costly. Don’t go it alone. This is a great opportunity to learn how to make the right college choices and maximize your funding and financial aid results, as well as how to better prepare for SAT & ACT exams and achieve higher scores.

You will learn about:
•    SAT & ACT Prep Courses. Courses help students successfully prepare for SAT & ACT exams. 
•    College Profile Reports. Personalized report specially generated for your family that includes your student’s chances of enrollment at up to 10 colleges.
•    Merit Based Scholarship Eligibility.  This personalized report detailing merit scholarships your student may be eligible to receive.  
•    FAFSA & CSS Profile Form Completion.  Every year simple mistakes are made while filling out financial aid forms that cost families thousands of dollars. Don’t let this happen to you.
•    College Funding Analysis. This analysis will determine if your out-of-pocket college costs can be efficiently reduced.

About the presenter
Michael Alimo (CRPC; CLU; ChFEBC) is a 30 year industry veteran. For the past 15 years, financial service advisor Mr. Alimo has served clientele around CT & New England at his USA Financial & Tax Services, LLC. Committed to giving back to the community via educational workshops, Mr. Alimo has hosted many seminars for groups at libraries, churches, and social organizations about a variety of financial and planning topics.

Senior Moments: Metro North: From First to Worst

Image courtesy of flickr user mtaphotos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user mtaphotos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, March 10th at 3 p.m.

How did the best commuter railroad in the US suddenly become subject of Federal safety investigations after a series of derailments and collisions claimed lives? Why is Metro-North’s survival crucial to real estate prices in Darien? What’s the future of rail service along CT’s “Gold Coast”?

It’s a story of political intrigue, corporate malfeasance and corruption befitting a cheap novel… but it’s all true. Darien resident and long-time commuter advocate Jim Cameron spins the tale of “Metro-North: From First to Worst”.

About the presenter
Jim Cameron moved to Darien in 1991 and, as a commuter he saw first-hand the deterioration of service on Metro-North. Rather than just “getting mad”, he did something about it, joining the “Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council”, created by the CT Legislature, on which he served for 19 years, four of them as its Chairman. In 2014 he resigned and formed a new effort, The Commuter Action Group. He is member of the Representative Town Meeting in Darien CT, is Program Director of the town’s TV station, Darien TV79, and is author of the newspaper column, “Talking Transportation” which now runs in 25 newspapers across the state, including the Darien Times.

History of Sriracha

Image courtesy of flickr user nukelarburrito / CC BY 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user nukelarburrito / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, March 22nd at 7 p.m.

Sriracha is a cultural mashup that typifies American cuisine: based on a Thai sauce, it was created by a Vietnamese immigrant of Chinese descent, and is made outside of LA with California-grown ingredients. In 20 years, it’s crossed over from a condiment for Pho to a mainstream American ingredient.

Historic Gatronomist Sarah Lohman has traveled to Sriracha’s California birthplace to see the factory and interview David Tran, the hot sauce’s genius creator. She’ll share with you we’ll the fascinating history of Sriracha as well exclusive interviews, primary source research, and a special peek into its artisinal production process.All your burning hot sauce questions will be answered as we explore how Sriracha has become more American than apple pie.

About the presenter
Sarah Lohman graduated with a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2005 and for her undergraduate thesis opened a temporary restaurant/installation that reinterpreted food of the Colonial era for a modern audience. Lohman moved to New York in 2006 to work as Video Producer for New York Magazine’s food blog, Grub Street.  Currently, she works with museums and galleries around the city to create public programs focused on food.

Dubbed an “historic gastronomist,” Lohman recreates historic recipes as a way to make a personal connection with the past. She chronicles her explorations in culinary history on her blog,, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NPR.  She appeared in NYC-TV’s mini-series Appetite City cooking culinary treats from New York’s past and is featured in The Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction. Lohman’s first book, Eight Flavors, is due out with Simon & Schuster in Fall 2016.

History of the NYPD

New York (N.Y.) Police Department, Annual Report (1923). Held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections.
New York (N.Y.) Police Department, Annual Report (1923). Held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections.

Tuesday, March 29th at 7 p.m.

This class explores the complicated history of law enforcement in New York City. From its origins in the Dutch night watch system, past the pugilistic and corrupt cops of the Tammany Hall era, through the sporadic attempts at reform, and into the current era of policing, learn about the mechanics of the police force and the politics that drive it.

The class also examines recent trends in crime and criminality: the sharp spike in crimefrom the 1960s to 1990s, followed by the sudden and unexpected reduction in crime in the 1990s and 2000s. This shift, only partially explained, means that we’re living in a city that is possibly safer than ever before, but has also left some communities shattered by the thirty-year long war on drugs, zero tolerance policies, and statistically driven policing tactics.

About the presenter
Patrick Lamson-Hall is an urban planner and a research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. His research interests include urbanization in the developing world, alternative transportation, and public space. As part of his work at NYU, he manages the India Urban Expansion Observatory in Mumbai, India, along with the Ethiopia Urban Expansion Initiative, a project to prepare rapidly growing cities for their spatial growth. He hails from Portland, Oregon, and enjoys hiking, biking, and books.

Writer's Workshop

Photo by jjpacres / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Photo by jjpacres / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, February 18th at 7 p.m.

Come join The Writer's Workshop, a monthly class for writers of any genre.  A constructive atmosphere greets aspiring writers as they learn and understand a reader's perspective of their work.  While many in the group have dreams to publish, that is not a requirement.  Presently we have fiction, memoir, mystery and thriller, short story, personal essay, and poetry writers.  Let's put pen to paper and get writing!

Presented by Laura Cavers, who recently received an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. At Manhattanville, Laura was assistant editor to the college's award-winning literary magazine, Inkwell.  She is currently working on her first novel, Bellwethers.

For those interested in joining the Writer's Workshop please come 15 minutes early to meet the workshop leader and learn the Workshop guidelines.  She will meet you just outside the Writer's Room on the second floor.

Passport Days

Photo by clappstar | CC BY-NC 2.0
Photo by clappstar | CC BY-NC 2.0

Saturday, February 20th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Get your passport at Darien Library! We will process and accept new and renewal applications. We will provide all the paperwork. We will not be able to take passport photos at our February Passport Day. Passport Photos in Darien can be done at CVS and Big Shots. Specifications for passport photos can be found here.

What to Bring: Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate, one color 2’’ by 2’’ photo, a valid photo identification (such as a driver’s license) with a front and back photocopy of the ID, and personal check/money order or debit/credit card for payment of the passport fee.

Minors under age 16 cannot apply for a passport by themselves.  Both parents/guardians must appear in person and provide consent, authorizing passport issuance to the minor.  If one parent/guardian is unable to appear in person, then the application must be accompanied by a signed, notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the non-applying parent/guardian.  More information on passports for minors can be found here.

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

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