The A.J. Effect

Please install Flash® and turn on Javascript.

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!

I am madly in love with "Mad Hungry"

Really. This is my new favorite cookbook. Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn doesn't come out until mid-October, but I've seen a copy and believe me, it's glorious! I don't have any men and/or boys in my household anymore, but I suppose that if I did, I might love this cookbook even more(!) am here to tell you that these recipes are good for all genders, ages...and occasions! Don't let the title throw you! These are practical recipes for delicious homemade meals....and the book is beautiful with page after page of color photographs!

We will have to wait a little while for the book to be released, but then on Thursday, October 22nd at 7 p.m., Lucinda Scala Quinn will be our featured speaker as one of our Fall Author Series authors! Lucinda is Vice President and Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. She is also the co-host of the Everyday Food program on PBS.

We'll be baking some excellent dessert recipes right out of this book to serve at the program...AND Lucinda will be doing a live demonstration of one of her recipes!

If this cooler weather is putting you in a cooking or baking frame of mind, plan on checking out this new book from Martha Stewart's Food and Entertainment guru and make sure to come to the program on the 22nd!

People will be talking...

 ...and listening...and watching. And, we think, smiling. In October, we return with our Foreign Film Series, another short story discussion series (Short Stories for Short Days), the One Page Poetry Circle, a special film screening for Domestic Violence Awareness month, and our Fall Book Discussion Series. We'll be continuing with our increasingly popular Meet Us on Main Street throughout October, and present the first in our fall Classics 2.0 program where we will take a closer look at literature and its timeless relevance. This month, we will also introduce Book Group Savvy, a workshop for those looking to start a book group or just looking to add some pizzazz to their exisiting group.

Briefly, here are some key dates for October at the Library:

Every Tuesday at 3 p.m. - Short Stories for Short Days

Every Wednesday at 11 a.m. - Meet Us on Main Street

Sunday, October 4, 5:30 p.m. - Fall Author Series: A. J. Jacobs, author of "The Guinea Pig Diaries"

Wednesday, October 7, 11 a.m. - Book Group Savvy

Friday, October 9, 7:30 p.m. - Film Screening - "Gaslight"

Tuesday, October 13, 7 p.m. - Fall Book Discussion Series - (A Golden Age is the discussion book.)

Sunday, October 18, 530 p.m. - Professor John Wargo - Green Intelligence: Creating Environments that Protect Human Health

Monday, October 19, 2 p.m. - Classics 2.0 (film screening: "Sense & Sensibility")

Wednesday, October 21, 7 p.m. - One Page Poetry Circle (Poetry & Masks)

Thursday, October 22, 3 p.m. - Classics 2.0 (book discussion: "Sense & Sensibility")

Thursday, October 22, 7 p.m. - Fall Author Series: Lucinda Scala Quinn, author of "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys"

Friday, October 23, 7:30 p.m. - Foreign Film Series begins ("The Class" is the first of seven films in the series)

And, as long as we're talking about...well...talking...we have more news for you --our teens have been talking, too! Last month, they created and posted their very first Darien Library TEENCAST!

Click here to listen.

They are pleased and psyched (and preening) about their podcast prowess and are gearing up for more. 

The Intelligent Color Choice for Fall: Green!

John Wargo
John Wargo

Darien Library and Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County Speakers' Series Present


Chair of Environmental Studies, Yale University

Green Intelligence: Creating Environments that Protect Human Health

Sunday, October 18 at 5:30 p.m.*


Darien Library is pleased to bring you this exciting and timely presentation and discussion with Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County Speakers' Series. Please join us for this important event featuring Professor John Wargo, where he'll talk about the risk of toxic exposures and the health threat, particularly on children. In his new book, Green Intelligence, he demonstrates that exposure to hazardous health-damaging chemicals is widespread and poorly regulated, and that knowledge of contamination and danger is often kept from a too-trusting public. 

Most individuals carry in their tissues a combination of metals, pesticides, solvents, fire retardants, waterproofing agents, and by-products of fuel combustion and not surprisingly, many toxins are significantly more concentrated in the bodies of young children. 

Pesticides. Nuclear testing. Vehicle emissions. U.S. military activity. Plastics. These are some of the specific examples of past and present exposures to identify weaknesses in our system and lessons we can apply to guard human health.

Professor Wargo's sobering assessment of the impact of toxic chemicals on human health is frightening, but he also proposes clear solutions, and outlines practical protective measures and guidelines. 

Professor Wargo was a guest this week on the Living on Earth radio show and podcast - click here to listen. 

John Wargo is professor of environmental policy, risk analysis, and political science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Political Science at Yale University. He is Chair of the Environmental Studies Major in Yale College and has been an adviser to several EPA administrators and National Academy of Sciences Committees, theU.S. Congress, the U.N. World Health Organization, and Vice President Al Gore.

Here are more details about the October 18th program at the Library:

* - 4:30 p.m.  - Special behind-the-scenes Green Tour of our environmentally innovative Darien Library

  - 5:30 p.m. - Presentation by Professor Wargo

  - 6:15 p.m. - Q&A and reception

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

Fall Author Series Begins This Sunday!

Meet A.J. Jacobs, the author of
Meet A.J. Jacobs, the author of "The Guinea Pig Diaries"!


A. J. Jacobs, author of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, will be here at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 4th. For more information about our Fall Author Series, click here. For more information about A.J. Jacobs and his upcoming appearance at Darien Library, check back right here during the week. 

...and speaking of that Fall Author Series, please note:

Thursday, October 22, 7 p.m. - Lucinda Scala Quinn, author of Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys

Sunday, November 1, 5:30 p.m. - Michael Mauboussin, author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

Thursday, November 5, 7 p.m. - David Baldacci, author of True Blue

Sunday, November 15, 5:30 p.m. - Chris Welles Feder, author of In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles

We hope that we're on your calendars!  

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Our Fall Author Series begins next Sunday, October 4th at 5:30 p.m. when our first featured author will be A.J. Jacobs (pictured below), who'll be talking about his newest book, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment. Also this fall, we'll be welcoming Lucinda Scala Quinn, Michael Mauboussin, David Baldacci, and Chris Welles FederAll the details are right here!

I think that you'll agree - this is a FABULOUS series! Despite my excitement about the fall events, I, for one, cannot help but think about the author programs that we've already had this year! We all have special memories from each and every program -- and that serves as a reminder for us again to say thank you for the continuous and generous support from our members  (all of our programs are funded solely by contributions to the Annual Campaign. (Pretty amazing, isn't it? Thank you!)).

We are overjoyed to be bringing you another season of excellent author programs however, as we take a deep breath before the fall plunge, excuse us while we stand still for a few moments and look back at the author events from earlier this year...and look forward to our upcoming author visits!

Stand still with us, enjoy our animoto short video, and, as the song says, "enjoy the view"!


I hope that this brought back some great memories...I also hope that you've got us on your fall calendar with plans to come to the Library and enjoy another outstanding author series! 

The Fall Author Series at the Library

Look who's coming to the Library this fall!  


 A. J. JACOBS - Author of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

Sunday, October 4, 5:30 p.m.





LUCINDA SCALA QUINN - Author of Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys

Thursday, October 22, 7 p.m.






 MICHAEL MAUBOUSSIN - Author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

Sunday, November 1, 5:30 p.m.





DAVID BALDACCI - Author of True Blue

 Thursday, November 5, 7 p.m.





CHRIS WELLES FEDER - Author of In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles

Sunday, November 15, 5:30 p.m.




Click here for all the details.

You Won't Want to Miss a Thing (and you don't have to)!

It is with tremendous (practically pulse-pounding!) excitement that we (once again) bring you calendar-worthy news for the fall! Technically, our Fall Author Series doesn't begin until October, but we are putting you on early alert because we believe that you will want to get these dates in ink right away! And, if you're like us and love early alerts and up-to-the-minute news, you'll love our tweets. If you're worried that you may miss what's happening at the Library, please follow us on Twitter.

Prepare  yourself for an autumn at Darien Library that includes talk of strange experiments...survival...power...murder...and a peek into the personal life of a Hollywood icon.

Please join us for...

A. J. JACOBS - Author of The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

Sunday, October 4, 5:30 p.m.

From the writer who read the entire encyclopedia (The Know-it-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World) and followed every rule of the Bible for one year (The Year of Living Biblically), comes his most outrageous and thought-provoking series of adventures yet. In The Guinea Pig Diaries, A. J. Jacobs immerses himself in nine different lifestyles, including living undercover as a beautiful woman, outsourcing his life to India (the best month of his life), and practicing extreme honesty (the worst month of his life).  With each experiment, he learns surprisingly profound lessons about love, business, fame, and marriage. Editor-at-large of Esquire, contributor to NPR, and a columnist for mental_floss magazine, Jacobs's new book is so side-splittingly hilarious, it should come with a warning label! (Suggested "experiment" from me: Just try to read the first chapter of The Guinea Pig Diaries on the train without making a spectacle of yourself! I don't think it can be done.)

A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow the presentation.


LUCINDA SCALA QUINN - Author of Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys

Thursday, October 22, 7 p.m.

 Lucinda Scala Quinn, Vice President and Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, has three sons and a husband who love to eat. Perhaps best known for her regular appearances on NBC's Today and Martha, as well as hosting her weekly radio show and co-hosting PBS's Everyday Food, this popular chef, cooking teacher, caterer, food writer and expert has created a cookbook that hopes to help "civilize the wild beasts in your life, one meal at a time." Mad Hungry is a practical cookbook that contains recipes for nutritious and homemade meals, provides cooking techniques and survival strategies, and offers advice for teaching men and boys to create meals for themselves.

 A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow the presentation.


 MICHAEL MAUBOUSSIN - Author of Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition

Sunday, November 1, 5:30 p.m.

Why does it seem so difficult to make sound business decisions? In his newest book, Think Twice, Michael Mauboussin, author of the critically-acclaimed More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places, explains how to avoid common mental missteps when making important judgment calls. Sharing vivid stories from business and beyond, he explains how to know when to think twice, question your reasoning, and adopt decision-making strategies that are far more effective, even if they seem counterintuitive. Michael Mauboussin is Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management and an adjunct professor of finance at Columbia Business School.

 A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow the presentation.


DAVID BALDACCI - Author of True Blue

 Thursday, November 5, 7 p.m.

David Baldacci, the internationally acclaimed author of 17 bestselling novels, will speak about his newest book, True Blue. This thriller, set in Washington D.C., follows wrongfully disgraced police officer Mason "Mace" Perry and young lawyer Roy Kingman as they investigate murders that put them on a collision course with the dark side of national security. True Blue is definitely a page-turner from (trust me!) page two. (It is a mystery to me how the author does that!)

David Baldacci is best known for his Camel Club series and the King and Maxwell series. Over 90 million of his books appear in print and are published worldwide in at least 45 languages.

A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow the presentation.


CHRIS WELLES FEDER - Author of In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles

Sunday, November 15, 5:30 p.m.

Orson Welles's oldest daughter, Chris Welles Feder, has written a revealing book about one of cinema's greatest icons. Though many books have been written about Orson Welles, the mastermind behind such films as Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil, none have provided the deeply personal and nuanced portrait that emerges from Welles Feder's memories of her father. In My Father's Shadow offers a moving and insightful look at life lived in the shadow of a legendary figure; it is an immensely entertaining story of growing up a child of Hollywood.

A wine and cheese reception and book signing will follow the presentation.


Green Day at the Library

Usually, our "green" news has to do with our fabulous new green building, but this time it's with a capital G, as in Green, as in George Dawes Green, who was our featured speaker at our Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale last week. In case you don't know already... his newest novel, the fabulously-reviewed Ravens is my favorite book of the summer. When the author agreed to come to Darien Library to speak, I was expecting something really good...possibly GREAT...what we got was AMAZING.!










There's something about a Southerner being in the room that slows the whole pace down just a bit. When you factor in the remarkable writing and storytelling ability and his skill at provoking thriller-worthy tension for the reader/listener, George Dawes Green was the perfect tonic for the lull of August. Just as he does in Ravens, he drew everyone in instantly. Thrills. Laughter. Pin-dropping tension. His genre is the thriller. His writing is poetic. His storytelling, masterful. This was goosebumps in August.

We can't mention George Dawes Green's incredible storytelling ability without mentioning that he is the founder of The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization. That's the very basic description...if you saw this past Sunday's New York Times, then you know it's much bigger than that. The Sunday Styles section led with a (huge!) fabulous article about The Moth. We are so pleased that George agreed to spend some time with us and share his great talent.

This special author event was the highlight of our Grand Finale for our Adult Summer Reading Program but that night, we also had the drawing for the Grand Prize winners. Considering the hundreds of entries that we had, it was such fun that all three winners were in the audience that night! Here are just a few more shots from this extraordinary event.



 Thank you to everyone (members...staff....George) for making this our most successful Adult Summer Reading Program ever!



Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale!

We conclude our 4th Annual Adult Summer Reading Program with our Grand Finale on Thursday, August 13th at 7 p.m. Our special guest speaker will be George Dawes

George Dawes Green is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels The Caveman's Valentine and The Juror. It's been 14 years since Green published The Juror, but the wait has certainly been worthwhile - his new book Ravens is a captivating thriller and it's been getting great reviews. Personally speaking, I loved it...I could not put it down. Click here to read what The Wall Street Journal had to say about Green's return.

George Dawes Green is also the founder of the not-for-profit storytelling organization, The Moth. Now in its 11th year, The Moth conducts six ongoing programs featured widely on television and radio. "Stories at the Moth" has attracted such notable headliners as Margaret Cho, Ethan Hawke, Moby, Rosie O'Donnell, George Plimpton and Julia Stiles. The annual Moth Ball was called the 'it' charity by the New York Observer and has included such guests as Garrison Keillor, Malcolm Gladwell, and Adam Gopnik.

Our Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale will also include a book signing by Green (books will be available for purchase), a wine and cheese party, and the drawing for the Grand Prizes. It's sure to be a great evening and we hope that you can join us!

As I write this, we still have nearly two weeks of Adult Summer Reading left and it's not too late to sign up and enter to win some great prizes! I don't, however, think it's too early for me to say that this year's effort has been a huge success! Thank you!

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

Syndicate content