Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism

Image courtesy of flickr user piaser
Image courtesy of flickr user piaser

Tuesday, May 12th at 7 p.m.

Credit for the current Arab Spring has been accorded to President Obama with his 2009 speech in Egypt, or President Bush with his unseating of Saddam in 2003, or President Carter with the Camp David Accords in 1978. Yet, the Western military leader who has done more than three American presidents to change the face of the modern Middle East was Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1798, Napoleon led a French Revolutionary Army into Egypt and the Levant.  With this army came the ideas unleashed by the French Revolution:  Liberalism, Democracy, Republicanism, Socialism, Secularism, Nationalism, Parliamentarianism; ideas that would help to accelerate the demise of an already tottering Ottoman Empire.  This talk will explain this phenomenon in relation to the present situation in the Middle East.

About the presenter

Mark Albertson is the historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine and is a long-time member of the United States Naval Institute. In addition, Mark Albertson teaches history at Norwalk Community College. His courses include: World War I and Iraq:  Creation of Colonialism, Iraq:  A History, Vietnam:  A History, World War I, The Turning Points of World War II, The Great Patriotic War: The Titanic Clash Between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and American Empire: Grand Republic to Corporate State. In May 2005, Mark was presented with a General Assembly Citation by both houses of the state legislature in Hartford for his effort in commemorating the centennial of battleship Connecticut.

First Look Darien: Lauren Acampora

Wednesday, May 13th at 7 p.m.

Lauren Acampora, author of The Wonder Garden, will be our featured speaker.

In the affluent and tranquil town of Old Cranbury, a man strikes an under-the-table deal with a surgeon to spend a few quiet seconds closer to his wife than he's ever been; a young soon-to-be mother looks on in paralyzing astonishment as her husband walks away from a twenty-year career in advertising at the urging of his spirit animal; an elderly artist risks more than he knows when he's commissioned by his newly-arrived neighbors to produce the work of a lifetime. Beneath their dreamy suburban surfaces, none of Acampora’s characters are anything like they appear. Deliciously creepy and masterfully choreographed, The Wonder Garden heralds the arrival of a phenomenal new talent in American fiction.

Advance Praise for The Wonder Garden

“Spooky and fabulous... a cleareyed lens into the strange, human wants of upper-class suburbia.”—Kirkus (STARRED review)

Acampora brilliantly captures the heartaches and delusions of American suburbanites.”—Booklist (STARRED review)

About the Author

Lauren Acampora's fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, and Antioch Review. Raised in Connecticut, she now lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, artist Thomas Doyle, and their daughter.

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

First Look Darien is our debut author series designed to spotlight first novels handpicked by our staff.

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

Friday Night Feature - 'Selma'

Friday, May 15th at 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. - Selma (2014) David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Jim France, Trinity Simone; Rated PG-13; 128 minutes; Presented with captions for the hearing impaired.

The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's "Selma" tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

For more information, please watch the film's trailer. Check out what else we're screening.

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

Passport Days

Image courtesy flickr user clappstar
Image courtesy flickr user clappstar

Saturday, May 16th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, June 20th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, July 18th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, August 15th 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 and take photos. Please bring fifteen dollars in cash or check for photos.  If you prefer, you can bring your own photographs. 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).

Wednesday Matinee- 'Unbroken'

Wednesday, May 20th at 1:30 p.m. - Unbroken (2014) Starring Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Finn Wittrock, Garrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Takamasa Ishihara; Rated PG-13; 137 minutes; Presented with captions for the hearing impaired.

Angelina Jolie directs this true-life tale of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in World War II, only to fight for his life against nature and eventually as a prisoner of war. Joel and Ethan Coen provide the script. Louis (Jack O'Connell) grows up a rough-hewn kid on the verge of becoming a full-on delinquent, until his brother starts training him to be a track star. Louis excels at the sport, and eventually represents America at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. During his training, he learns to become resilient and disciplined; his brother's words of advice, "If you can take it, you can make it," push him to overcome any adversity. He must live up to that adage under the most extreme circumstances after his plane is shot down during another bombing raid. He is stranded at sea for more than a month, only to be found by the Japanese and forced to endure constant physical abuse at the hands of sadistic prison-camp guard Mutsuhiro Watanabe (Japanese pop star Miyavi), who wants to break Louis' indomitable spirit. 

For more information, please watch the film's trailer. Check out what else we're screening.

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

Writer's Workshop

Image courtesy of flickr user jjpacres
Image courtesy of flickr user jjpacres

Thursday, May 21st 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.

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

Friday Night Feature - 'Still Alice'

Friday, May 22nd at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. - Still Alice (2014) Starring Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Alec Baldwin, and Shane McRae; Rated PG-13; 101 minutes; Presented with captions for the hearing impaired.

Alice Howland is a renowned linguistics professor happily married with three grown children. All that begins to change when she strangely starts to forget words and then more. When her doctor diagnoses her with Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, Alice and her family's lives face a harrowing challenge as this terminal degenerative neurological ailment slowly progresses to an inevitable conclusion they all dread. Along the way, Alice struggles to not only to fight the inner decay, but to make the most of her remaining time to find the love and peace to make simply living worthwhile.

For more information, please watch the film's trailer. Check out what else we're screening.

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

Friday Night Feature - 'American Sniper'

Friday, May 29th at 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. - American Sniper (2014) Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Jake McDorman, and Ben Reed; Rated R; 134 minutes; Presented with captions for the hearing impaired.

 In the aftermath of 9/11, Chris Kyle decides to serve his country by becoming a Navy SEAL. Once deployed, Chris' reputation as a sniper who never misses makes him a legend among his fellow troops, and earns him the moniker "The Devil of Ramadi" from his enemies. With a substantial bounty on his head, Kyle makes it his personal mission to take out a sadistic Iraqi soldier known as "The Butcher," as well as an elusive enemy marksman with a skill to rival his own. The closer he gets to achieving his goals during repeat tours of duty, however, the more fellow soldiers he sees die, and the further he drifts from his wife and their two children back home. It all leads up to a tense rooftop gunfight in a raging sandstorm -- one that convinces the sniper once and for all to make his family his top priority. Unfortunately, all is not well as Kyle struggles to make the transition back to civilian life, but he discovers that helping his fellow veterans is an effective way to do good and make peace with his wartime experiences.

For more information, please watch the film's trailer. Check out what else we're screening.

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

Pick Up Your Farm Share at Darien Library this Summer!

Image courtesy flickr user Suzie's Farm
Image courtesy flickr user Suzie's Farm

You may have heard of a “CSA,” “vegetable box,” or “farm share” before. CSA stands for ‘Community Supported Agriculture” and it means community members get together to invest in a farm during the winter or early Spring and then when the harvest season rolls out, they pick up a weekly package of vegetables at a designated pick-up location (like us, the Library).

In 2015, Darien Library will once again be the pickup location for Stoneledge Farm’s CSA. The farm share pickup will be every Wednesday evening from 4:30-7:30 p.m. running from June 3rd until November 11th (24 weeks).

To take part, you have to sign up for a vegetable share. If you do, you can also sign up for a fruit, mushroom and/or coffee share, too.

There is the option to split a share. When you sign up and add the share to your cart, provide your share partner's name, phone number, and email address.

Costs for a share are as follows:

Vegetable $520.00

Fruit $240.00 

Mushroom $120.00 

Coffee $126.00 

Click here for more information, and here to register. The vegetables are grown locally so they are fresher than anything you’ll find in a grocery store, and incredibly varied. 

As a member of the CSA, you will be asked to complete two hours of volunteer work during the season. Volunteers do things like check people in when they pick up their share, make sure the vegetables are replenished, or move boxes.

Questions? Please contact Mallory Arents, Head of Adult Programming, at marents@darienlibrary.org.