Journalist Lily Koppel found buried treasure right outside her front door in a NYC dumpster. The treasure was in the form of a little red book; the five-year diary of a young girl -- Florence Wolfson. The years? 1929-1934. The place? Manhattan's Upper West Side. Wow. This is not the NYC I know! And I wanted to know more.
Luckily, Lily did a great job with this story. She tracked down Florence, who now lives in Connecticut (and Florida), and is in her 90s. Florence's still-sharp memory fills in the blanks of the short daily entries in the diary which, despite the crumbling pages, sparkle with intelligence, culture, curiosity, sophistication, and intimacy. What's resulted is a fascinating memoir -- The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal.
The diary is quite revealing and we can find out even more when Lily comes to the Library on Thursday, October 2nd at 7 p.m. to talk about the book and this adventure! There will be a book signing following the presentation. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served. Please join us!
Eighteen of the 39 Groovy Gardeners who helped tend our library garden this summer gathered on August 21 to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The lively and enthusiastic group enjoyed pizza accompanied by salad which included squash, cucumbers, pear tomatoes, peppers, and nasturtium blossoms nurtured by them. In addition, we had eggplant dip, dill dip, basil dressing and iced mint tea made from vegetables and herbs we grew. One young gardener wished we could have grown a pizza plant! We topped off the meal with ice cream and cookies, and sang "Happy Birthday" to one attendee who chose to eat vegetables with us on her special day.
The weather is cooling and the back-to-school ads are running- it must be time to start planning for Fall and (yikes!) Winter. Before you get out your snowshoes or plan that apple-picking excursion, here's what's coming to the Darien Library:
On October 19th, the Library's Annual Meeting will start at 5pm. The featured speaker will be popular local author Philip Van Munching.
Many of you have been asking about our upcoming move. Here's the plan: the current building will close on November 26th at 6pm. The New Darien Library will have its grand opening on January 10th, 2009.
Our fall author visits will be as spectacular as the foliage
photo by Flickr user Nicholas_T
Wednesday, September 17th at 7 p.m, Starre Vartan will be here to talk about her book The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green.
Sunday, September 21st, beginning at 5:30 p.m, Brad Meltzer will be talking about his books, including his newest, Book of Lies.
Thursday, October 2nd at 7 p.m Lily Koppel will be talking about her book The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal.
Jordon Pecile returns for the Fall Book Discussion Series beginning September 14. The theme is "Of Thee I Sing: Novels About the Changing Face of America."
September 14 will be Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
October 5 will be America America by Ethan Cainin
October 26 will be The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III
November 16 will be Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Last, but never least, the Foreign Film Series will begin on Friday, October 10, and continue every Friday at 7:30 through to our last Friday in the building -- November 21. (Schedule to be announced.)
At 7 p.m. next Wednesday, August 13th, Hillary Jordan, the author of Mudbound will be the special guest speaker at our Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale. We know how wildly popular the book is (there are 42 holds on the book right now!), so we also know that you're as eager as we are to learn more about "Mudbound"...and Hillary. Well, as luck and timing would have it, Janet and I had the chance to talk for a bit with Hillary earlier today, and you can listen to the conversation
Summer's beginning to wind down and we'll enjoy some down time at our Grand Finale wine and cheese party. We're counting on having a good time, which is why we're counting down...counting down to Mudbound.
mo·sa·ic [moh-zey-ik] , noun, adjective, verb.
A picture or decoration made of small, usually colored pieces of inlaid stone, glass, etc.
When pondering the definition of mosaic, it might be hard to visualize anything as grand or wonderful as Roger Brown's work, which is on display in the Main Reading Room until September 1st.
(Amphitrite hides and awaits)
We are always excited to witness a new art show going up...an exhibit being "hung." This exhibit was an "installation." Literally. For instance, the focal point of the exhibit, "Amphitrite hides and awaits" (pictured above), is six-by-five feet. (Um. No, we do not have picture hooks that'll hold that.) All of the pieces are stunning...one actually turns a corner.
This exhibit is really something special...and different. Please make it a point to stop in during the month to behold these exquisite mosaics....bits and pieces that make up the whole...just like life.
(photo credit: William Coupon)
As if we weren't already excited enough about this summer's Adult Summer Reading Program...now we get to celebrate! (Well, I know we celebrate books and reading here every day...but, this...THIS(!) is different!) On Wednesday, August 13 at 7 p.m. we will host the Grand Finale! and it's going to be good. Really good.
Join us for a wine and cheese party and Grand Prize drawing,
AND... meet Hillary Jordan, the author of Mudbound! We are extremely happy that she's agreed to come to Darien Library. First of all, we love the book. Period. It's an extraordinary story, incredibly well told. My hunch is that it is destined to become an important American book; one which earns a spot in our collective memory. Not a lot of books are able to do that.
Erica and I met Hillary back in January when we attended a conference in Philadelphia, and we each received advance reading copies of Mudbound. Neither of us big fiction readers, Mudbound swallowed us whole and we came out the other side richer for the experience. The word-of-mouth about this book is loud, and clear, and sustained, which is unusual for a first-time author. And it's not just here in town. We're hearing Mudbound-chatter no matter where we go. We're calling this "the little book that could" and we're just watching as it gains momentum. It's a beautiful thing.
Wednesday evening marked the first "Meet the Authors" event of our Adult Summer Reading program, and we were truly delighted that Jane Cleland and Rosemary Harris visited Darien Library for a chat about their respective new mystery novels Antiques to Die For and Pushing Up Daisies.
Barbara, our mini-moderator, interviewed the authors as they dished up the dirt on the inspirations for their novels. Now, talk about real life mysteries translating to the page! For Jane, it was a chance encounter she had with a stolen Rembrandt etching and for Rosemary, it was reading about a body found buried in an unassuming suburban Connecticut home. The audience was served a real treat when both authors candidly shared their experiences as first-time writers, as well, and gave us the insider's view on getting published, working with editors, and marketing their books.
I hope you've decided to add these fun 'n fabulous cozy mysteries to your list of beach reads this summer! Also, check out what our visiting authors have on their nightstands. Rosemary recommends I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Jane recommends The Fiddlers: A Novel of the 87th Precinct by Ed McBain.
Click the arrow below to see photos from the event. Antiques, daisies, fabulous conversation, "dirt" dessert. It was one fabulously dishy night!
(l-r) Barbara Thomas, Rosemary Harris,
Jennifer Dayton, and Erica Bess
A few of us from Darien Library recently gathered with others from other area libraries and attended a Programming
Roundtable discussion at Fairfield Library. We love the comfortable back-and-forth of the Roundtable and the sharing of ideas; it's such a valuable experience. One of the panelists, coincidentally, was Rosemary Harris, who will be one of the speakers here on July 9th at 7 p.m. It'll be the first of our "Meet the Author" special events -- part of our Adult Summer Reading Program.
Rosemary talked about her personal efforts in promoting her well-received book, Pushing Up Daisies (now in its second printing(!)), her advertising background, and her foray into writing. So, since we were already excited about the upcoming program, now after meeting Rosemary and hearing her speak, we really can't wait! (Remember...it's Wednesday, July 9th at 7 p.m.)
The "Meet the Author" event will also feature fellow mystery writer Jane Cleland. This is going to be such fun! It's on my calendar -- you'll want to put it on yours.
Despite the extreme heat and the threat of severe thunderstorms, there was quite a crowd here on Sunday to hear Bob Patton speak about his new book, Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution.
Robert H. (Bob) Patton
Bob gave an interesting and enlightening presentation, answered questions from the audience and later, mingled at the reception and book signing.