Author Susan Conley Discusses "The Foremost Good Fortune" ... on Video

It was our pleasure to host author Susan Conley last Wednesday, February 16th for a discussion of her new memoir, The Foremost Good Fortune.

Visiting us from Portland, Maine, Ms. Conley shared with the audience the story of her family's sudden move to China for her husband's two-year consulting assignment; shortly after the move, she discovered that she had breast cancer. Our guest read touching passages from this beautifully-written and critically-acclaimed book, giving us wonderful insight into her experiences navigating a foreign culture while dealing with an incredibly serious disease. Sharing the joys of living in a new world, the frustrations of being without the comforts of home, and the difficulties of motherhood and raising two young boys during a challenging time, Ms. Conley was thoughtful, inspiring, and luminous.

Click here or watch the video below to view the entire presentation and Q&A.

 

The Foremost Good February

Author Susan Conley will be at Darien Library on Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.
Author Susan Conley will be at Darien Library on Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Susan Conley

Author of The Foremost Good Fortune

Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

Our Winter/Spring Author Series begins in February, making this, despite the snow on the ground and the chilling forecast, one of our favorite times of year! It is, indeed, our good fortune to begin the series with Jonathan Adler, author of the Happy Chic series, on Thursday, February 3rd at 7 p.m., and to continue the goodness and good fortune with a visit from Susan Conley, the author of The Foremost Good Fortune, on Wednesday, February 16th at 7 p.m.


In The Foremost Good Fortune, Susan Conley brings us a memoir of her time when she moved with her husband and two young sons from Maine to Beijing, China. She was prepared for a year of new experiences and big changes as she and her family faced the unknown. Though Chinese customs and language posed a struggle, Susan embraced her new high-intensity life. While her husband worked to convince banks to implement a credit rating system in a country where credit cards aren’t accepted, she focused on tasks that were very different, if no less perplexing: how to buy produce at a Chinese mega-market (paying the cashier doesn’t cut it), fielding invitations to things like “Sweater Parties,” and working to establish new friends – akin to dating, and “very Jane Austen.”

Nothing occupied Susan’s mind and energies more than caring for her two confused and frustrated little boys as they try to find their way in a world utterly unlike the one they used to know. Bit by bit, they make friends and adjust to life in China. And though it’s more than she bargained for, life in Beijing isn’t anything Susan can’t handle – until she finds a lump in her breast and receives the news that nobody wants to hear, least of all in faltering English while lying in a Chinese operating room. After completing an aggressive treatment regimen in the States, Susan returns to China as a foreigner yet again – but this time, it’s her own body in which she doesn’t feel at home.  

Filled with candid insights about the difficulties and small triumphs that can make or break one’s day when attempting to navigate a foreign culture, “The Foremost Good Fortune” is a touching exploration of the big questions of motherhood – how do you talk to children about life and death? When is it okay to lie? – and an unsparing look at the realities of coming face to face with mortality when one least expects it.
 
“Luminous….Conley's writing is at once spare and strong…[She] pulls the reader into her world like a close friend.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


 “…compelling and humorous. . . . Beautifully written and insightful on many levels.” – Booklist

Click here to learn more about Susan Conley and The Foremost Good Fortune.


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

Susan Conley’s appearance at Darien Library is part of the Library’s Winter/Spring 2011 Author Series. Click here for the schedule.

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

Meet the Author - Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler will be at Darien Library on Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m.
Jonathan Adler will be at Darien Library on Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m.

“95% chic + 5% happy = 100% The Decorative Nirvana that I Call Happy Chic” – Jonathan Adler

Meet the Author!

Jonathan Adler

Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m.

Please join us for the kick-off of our Winter/Spring Author Series with Jonathan Adler!  (He's an author...a designer...a television star...he is a BRAND!)

Jonathan Adler is the author of the Happy Chic series, a sought-after interior designer, and the owner of an international gift and design company which bears his name.  He was also the lead judge on the Bravo series, “Top Design.”
Known for an aesthetic that mixes modernist forms with bold colors and “groovy graphics,” Jonathan Adler has become one of the newest and hottest names on the decorating scene.  Fully committed to producing beautiful collectibles for the ages, he hews to the company’s motto: “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it."

Each book in Jonathan Adler’s Happy Chic series gives you both the information and motivation you need to not only envision a tastefully chic home, but to also infuse your inner sanctums with wit and personality. His designs bring style, craft, joy, and a “spirit of grooviness” to the home.

In Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic: Colors, Adler inspires readers to be fearless in their decorating choices. He guides us through color-drenched rooms, from “True Blue” and “Going Rouge,” to “Champagne Sparkle.” Every chapter is devoted to his thoughts on one color scheme, and he reveals his go-to paint chips, favorite fabrics, and personal color muses, like Diana Vreeland and Grace Jones.

In Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic: Accessorizing, Adler takes us on a whirlwind tour through gorgeously styled interiors. Organized by type of furniture (bed, bookshelf, dining table, dresser, table), Adler divulges all the tricks and tips needed to artfully arrange anything in one’s home.
Jonathan Adler has eleven stores nationwide, a thriving on-line site and a wholesale business boasting more than 1,000 locations around the world.  He is also a highly sought-after interior designer working on luxury residential projects as well as large-scale commercial projects including the celebrity hot spot Parker Palm Springs Hotel and the High Roller suites at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas. Other high-profile projects include the retro-glam interior for the “real” Malibu Dream House for Barbie’s® 50th Anniversary.  

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


Upcoming events in Darien Library’s Winter/Spring Author Series include Susan Conley, author of “The Foremost Good Fortune,” on Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m., Deborah Wiles, author of “Countdown,” on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m., and Carlos Eire, author of “Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy,” on Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m. Click here for more information about the series.

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

Winter/Spring 2011 Author Series

Jonathan Adler
Jonathan Adler

The announcement of our 2011 Winter/Spring Author Series requires that ink meet the calendar! (Save the dates!)


Winter and spring will swell with adventure at Darien Library as we seek and study the chic, the cultural, and historic; presenting stories of craftsmanship, crisis, and coping...in the home, on the homefront, and with homesickness in a foreign land.
Join us for insight into the “spirit of grooviness.” Marvel at the resilience of a young mother with breast cancer who is far from home. We’ll revisit the Cuban Missile Crisis through the eyes of an 11-year old girl, and see 1960s America through the eyes of an 11-year old boy – a Cuban refugee.


Thursday, February 3 at 7 p.m.


Jonathan Adler (pictured at left)
Author of the Happy Chic Series

Jonathan has a mission: to quash the world’s fear of decorating. Each book in his Happy Chic series gives you both the information and motivation you need to not only envision a tastefully chic home, but to also infuse your inner sanctums with wit and personality. In a confessional tone, you’re encouraged to answer questions about your own tastes, interest, and influences.

Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic:
“95% chic + 5% happy = 100% The Decorative Nirvana that I Call Happy Chic.”

 

Wednesday, February 16 at 7 p.m.

 

Susan Conley
Author of The Foremost Good Fortune

 

Susan Conley, her husband, and their two young sons say good-bye to their friends, family, and house in Maine for a two-year stint in a high-rise apartment in Beijing, prepared to embrace the inevitable onslaught of new experiences that such a move entails. But Susan can’t predict just how much their lives will change.
Upon learning that she has cancer and undergoing treatment in Boston, she returns to Beijing, again as a foreigner—but this time, it’s her own body in which she feels a stranger.  Set against the eternally fascinating backdrop of modern China and full of insight into the trickiest questions of motherhood—How do you talk to children about death?  When is it okay to lie?—this wry and poignant memoir is a celebration of family and a candid exploration of mortality and belonging.

“Luminous….Conley's writing is at once spare and strong…[She] pulls the reader into her world like a close friend.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

Deborah Wiles
Author of
Countdown

(A One Book, One Community* Event.)

It’s 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. 11-year-old Franny Chapman doesn’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the world — no more than she knows how to deal with what’s going on with her family and friends. But somehow she’s got to make it through.
Countdown features a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962. Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. It is an experience you will never forget.

“Wiles palpably recreates the fear kids felt when air-raid sirens and duck-and-cover drills were routine, and when watching President Kennedy’s televised speech announcing the presence of missiles in Cuba was an extra-credit assignment.” – Publishers Weekly

 

Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m.

 

 

Carlos Eire
Author of
Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy


(A One Book, One Community* Event.)

This program is co-sponsored by the Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County.

Carlos Eire, author of the 2003 National Book Award-winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, returns to Darien Library. In Waiting for Snow in Havana, the author narrated his coming of age in Cuba just before and during the Castro revolution. Learning to Die in Miami begins with his journey to America.

The year was 1962 and he and his older brother, Tony, had fled along with 14,000 other children from “Castrolandia.” They were not only refugees, but also orphans—both of Carlos’s parents were stuck behind in Cuba. During those first years, Carlos learns to adjust to life in America as he spends nearly a year in a Dickensian foster home, struggles to learn English and blend into American schools, and confronts the age-old immigrant’s plight—he is surrounded by the bounty of this rich land yet unable to partake. He believed that in order for his new American self to emerge, his Cuban self must "die."
Flashing back and forth between past and future, we watch as Carlos balances the divide between his past and present homes and finds his way in this strange new world, one that seems to hold the exhilarating  promise of infinite possibilities, and one that he will eventually claim as his own.

 “A mix of insightful observation, humor, and heartfelt emotion. . . . Easily one of the more impressive memoirs on the thorny issue of immigration.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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


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

*One Book, One Community encourages everyone in town to read the same book and then come together to explore its themes. Our 3rd annual One Book, One Community Program will take place during March and April. The selected book for the town-wide read is Countdown by Deborah Wiles.

Video - Author Michael Korda discusses Lawrence of Arabia

We had a standing-room-only crowd in attendance at our Fall 2010 Author Event with Michael Korda, held on Thursday, December 2 at 7 PM. Mr. Korda, author of the best-selling Ike: An American Hero and With Wings Like Eagles visited Darien Library for the third time in as many years to discuss his newest book, Hero: The Life & Legend of Lawrence of ArabiaIt was fitting for this historical tour-de-force, who perhaps had a keener understanding of the Middle East situation than anyone before or after his time, to be chronicled by such an admired and respected biographer. 

In case you missed it, click here or on the video below to watch Mr. Korda's presentation, which includes a Q&A the reveals fascinating tidbits of information about Lawrence's personal life, his struggles with loyalty and fame, and his untimely death.

After reading the book, if you are interested in watching the Hollywood movie Lawrence of Arabia but simply don't have 4+ hours to spare during this busy holiday season, you might like to watch Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World. In 2001, PBS produced this multi-million dollar film on the life of T.E. Lawrence that combines re-enactments with interviews of historians, biographers, and even an elderly man who was alive at the time that Lawrence and his troops fought for Arab independence during World War I.

 

Meet the Author: Michael Korda from Darien Library on Vimeo.

In Case You Missed It! Author & Chef Dorie Greenspan's Visit . . . on Video

It was an evening of joy, laughter, and amazing food on Thursday, November 18, 2010 as Darien Library hosted the delightful Dorie Greenspan, chef and award-winning author of numerous cookbooks, who visited us to speak about her latest, Around My French Table: Over 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. She shared wonderful stories of her times spent in Paris as well as her inspirations for the recipes included in the book, which makes modern French cooking approachable in the same way that Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking did for traditional dishes so many years ago. It's no wonder that the book was recently chosen by Amazon.com as the best cookbook of 2010!

Click here or watch the video below to see the entire presentation from the evening, which includes a tour of all of the dishes made by the members of the Darien Library staff for the refreshments table. (For close-up photos of all of the dishes, click here.)

We simply adore Dorie...and you will, too!

 

Meet the Author: Dorie Greenspan from Darien Library on Vimeo.

Meet the Author - Michael Korda

 

MICHAEL KORDA

Author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

Thursday, December 2 at 7 p.m.

Best-selling author Michael Korda (Ike: An American Hero) returns to Darien Library to discuss his new biography of T.E. Lawerence, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia.

It's the story of an epic life on a grand scale, a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile—including his sun-burnished blonde looks and flowing white robes—made him an object of intense fascination, known the world over as “Lawrence of Arabia.” Yet unlike other biographers, Mr. Korda does not seek to burnish or destroy the legend; rather he aims to demystify and reveal the real man—T. E. Lawrence—as he truly was.

A diffident 5’5” Oxford scholar and archeologist, Lawrence vanished into the desert in 1917 to become the greatest and most colorful figure of World War I.  He was the inventor of modern guerilla warfare, the master of explosives, the world’s first media celebrity, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and the boldest of warriors.

Ultimately, as Korda demonstrates, Lawrence remains the paradigm of the hero in modern times, the arch-heroic type whose life was both a triumph and a sacrifice, and whose capacity to astonish remains undimmed.

"This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous -- and -- bizarre ways. Korda's vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Much has been written about him, but no one has succeeded in illuminating the quintessential Lawrence of Arabia so profoundly and so well as Michael Korda. HERO is a work of brilliance, discernment and meticulous scholarship that surely will be hailed as the gold standard.” -- Henry A. Kissinger

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

Refreshments will be served.


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

Dorie - The Day After

Last night, Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours,  visited Darien Library and entertained and enthused us with her fun-filled and food-filled talk. We'll be following up with more about this extraordinary author event, but in the meantime, check out the photos from last night on our facebook page.

 Click here to see the photos on facebook. 

Check back for more about this event, including more on "the pout," "the shrug," and geographical incorrectness.

(Big thanks to Dorie for coming to Darien Library, and to Barrett Bookstore for arranging this appearance!)

 

August in Autumn

 

 

Autumn at Darien Library includes two august authors; both known and respected internationally in their professions and their areas of expertise.

We are proud and honored to announce that our fall calendar includes author events that will feature Dorie Greenspan and Michael Korda.

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

Refreshments* will be served at both events.

DORIE GREENSPAN

Author of Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

Thursday, November 18 at 7 p.m.

Dorie Greenspan has been called "a culinary guru" by The New York Times. She is the author of the James Beard Award-winning Baking: From My Home to Yours, which inspired the creation of the online baking community Tuesdays with Dorie. Her new book, Around My French Table, is winning raves and fans. According to New York Journal of Books, Around My French Table is "positively chock full of new interpretations of old classics as well as a few surprising new recipes." The reviewer adds "In addition to all the wonderful recipes, her anecdotal tidbits about life in Paris are priceless."

Americans have had a long love affair with French cuisine, but in the past decade, we discovered Italian, Mexican, Asian and other foreign traditions. Now, however, we are in the midst of a French revival: witness the renewed interest in Julia Child at the movies and on bestseller lists.
 
Still, someone had to remind us that French cooking at home is one of life’s great pleasures, and that someone is one of the most admired of American cooks, Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan, who has been visiting Paris for more than three decades and has been living there part time for the past thirteen years, shares the remarkable dishes—some classic, many surprising and new—that she and her French friends cook at home every day.

Around My French Table is not French cooking by the rulebook. This is the author's "French kitchen journal" -- her own synthesis of the food she's been passionately involved with for all these years -- true elbows-on-the-table food that can be made and enjoyed by everyone.

This is a book that shows how people in France eat and cook now -- a timely and engaging reminder that America's love affair with French food is as passionate and as exciting as ever.

*Darien Library staff members are passionate about cooking...and books...and (no surprise!) cookbooks. We will be providing homemade refreshments for this event, choosing from the "more than 300" recipes from Dorie's French table! 

Dorie Greenspan's appearance is made possible by Barrett Bookstore. 

MICHAEL KORDA

Author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

Thursday, December 2 at 7 p.m.

Best-selling author Michael Korda (Ike: An American Hero) returns to Darien Library to discuss his new biography of T.E. Lawerence, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia.

It's the story of an epic life on a grand scale, a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile—including his sun-burnished blonde looks and flowing white robes—made him an object of intense fascination, known the world over as “Lawrence of Arabia.” Yet unlike other biographers, Mr. Korda does not seek to burnish or destroy the legend; rather he aims to demystify and reveal the real man—T. E. Lawrence—as he truly was.

A diffident 5’5” Oxford scholar and archeologist, Lawrence vanished into the desert in 1917 to become the greatest and most colorful figure of World War I.  He was the inventor of modern guerilla warfare, the master of explosives, the world’s first media celebrity, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and the boldest of warriors.

Ultimately, as Korda demonstrates, Lawrence remains the paradigm of the hero in modern times, the arch-heroic type whose life was both a triumph and a sacrifice, and whose capacity to astonish remains undimmed.

"This magisterial biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous -- and -- bizarre ways. Korda's vivid portrait of Lawrence and his warring impulses captures the brilliance and charisma of this fascinating figure." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Much has been written about him, but no one has succeeded in illuminating the quintessential Lawrence of Arabia so profoundly and so well as Michael Korda. HERO is a work of brilliance, discernment and meticulous scholarship that surely will be hailed as the gold standard.” -- Henry A. Kissinger

Please join us at Darien Library for these engaging and entertaining programs!

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

Meet the Author - Dorie Greenspan

Meet the Chef: Dorie Greenspan - Thursday November 18th at 7 p.m.
Meet the Chef: Dorie Greenspan - Thursday November 18th at 7 p.m.

Dorie Greenspan

Author of Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours

Thursday, November 18 at 7 p.m.
 

Dorie Greenspan has been called “a culinary guru” by The New York Times. Julia Child was a fan. And...there's more. Dorie is the author of the James Beard Award-winning Baking: From My Home to Yours, which inspired the creation of the online baking community “Tuesdays with Dorie.” Currently, her brand new book, Around My French Table, is winning raves and fans. (It is GORGEOUS!) According to New York Journal of Books, Around My French Table is “positively chock full of new interpretations of old classics as well as a few surprising new recipes.” The reviewer added, “In addition to all the wonderful recipes, her anecdotal tidbits about life in Paris are priceless.”
Dorie, who is one of the most admired of American cooks, has been visiting Paris for more than three decades and has been living there part time for the past thirteen years. In her new book, she shares the remarkable dishes – some classic, many surprising and new – that she and her French friends cook at home every day.
Around My French Table is not French cooking by the rulebook. This is the author’s “French kitchen journal” – her own synthesis of the food she’s been passionately involved with for all these years – true elbows-on-the-table food that can be made and enjoyed by everyone.
This is a book that shows how people in France eat and cook now – a timely and engaging reminder that America’s love affair with French food is as passionate and as exciting as ever.

We will be providing homemade refreshments for this event – Library staff members will be choosing from the "more than 300" recipes to prepare from Dorie's French table!

A book signing will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase. (Think Holiday Gift Giving!!!)

This event is the first of our Fall Author Events at the Library. Click here for more information.


Dorie Greenspan’s appearance is made possible by Barrett Bookstore.

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

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