Make sure you're Library-bound for "Mudbound"

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Hillary Jordan
(photo credit: William Coupon)

As if we weren't already excited enough about this summer's Adult Summer Reading 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,

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The Grand


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.

Dishing Up Dirt With Our Mystery Writers!

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!


Everything's Coming Up...Daisies

(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

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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! ('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.

Storm Warnings -- So what?

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.

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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.

Patton, Impending

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On Sunday, June 8th, at 5:30 p.m., we continue our "Meet the Author" series. Robert H. (Bob)Patton will be here to discuss his new book, Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution.

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The book came out on May 20th and Bob came into the library that morning for a brief interview. He's got a great way of humanizing his historical subjects, and given the topic, the book is quite an adventure.

Please join us for what's certain to be a great presentation. There will also be a reception and book signing.

Refreshments will be served.

(Copies of Patriot Pirates will be available for purchase.)


"Patriot Pirates" and Patton and Podcasts

Lately, we've been getting some great mileage (so to speak) out of our MP3 recorder! Over the course of the last four weeks, Janet and I have done one interview per week and it's been incredibly exciting and gratifying to be able to have those interviews available to you to listen to as podcasts.

This morning, Robert H. (Bob) Patton came in to chat with us about his new book, Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution, which hits the shelves today.

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Bob Patton



Bob will be our featured speaker on Sunday, June 8th at 5:30 p.m. as part of our Meet the Author Series. The book is great; Bob does a terrific job of humanizing his Revolutionary subjects. The timing couldn't be better -- coming after so many of us have already been swept away by the excellent John Adams series on HBO, it is more than welcome to those of us ready for more. The book is getting great reviews and Bob is such an enthusiastic and engaging speaker...if it's not already on your calendar, be sure to add it now. You won't want to miss it!

In the meantime, click here to listen to the interview.

We REALLY Like Him, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Meet the Author - Bob Spitz
Bob Spitz (yesterday at the Library)

When Bob Spitz got divorced, had his heart broken, was nearly destitute, and turned 50, what did he do? He fled to Europe and embarked on a culinary adventure. Hmmm. Let's see. I had my heart broken, got divorced, was nearly destitute, and turned 50...what did I do? I bought a practical car and got my ears pierced. Bob's is definitely the better story, and he tells it in his new book The Saucier's Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe. It's a wonderful book and he was here yesterday afternoon to talk about it.

The book really is a great read...fantastic stories, recipes, and laughs. He's got a wonderful way with words and tells a great story -- we'd be happy for him to come speak here anytime, but given that we were the first stop on his book tour, we were thrilled!

What's Cooking?

SAUCIER'S APPRENTICE COVER.webjpgLots! These last few months, we have been at a constant simmer with some great Meet the Author programs at the Library. This Sunday, we heat things up a bit with Bob Spitz, who'll be here to talk about his new book, The Saucier's Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe. It's a culinary memoir and it's a great and fun read (it even has recipes!). It also just came out this week and we will be the first stop on Bob's book tour at 5:30 p.m. this Sunday, May18th.

Bob stopped in this morning to chat with me and Janet and it was, as usual, a delightful experience. The link to the podcast of that interview is right here

From here, he heads out to California (the same night!) to begin his tour.

The Norwalk Hour had a great story about Bob and the book in yesterday's edition. And(!) we must make sure to be on the alert for the August issue of Oprah magazine where a story about Bob cooking with his daughter will be featured. We can't wait!

...and we can't wait for Sunday to hear more from Bob. Please join us!

One Fein Day

Okay. I know...enough already with the fine/Fein puns. I'm sorry; I can't help it. And besides, it's not entirely true anyway. John Feinstein's appearance here on Sunday was actually so much better than fine. Five minutes in this man's presence and it's easy to see why he is considered one of the best and most-respected in the broadcasting business. He is, also, by the way, a bestselling author. He was extremely entertaining...sharing wonderful anecdotes and stories - some factual, some poignant, and some hilarious. We were in his spell and to those of us who were here on Sunday, we KNOW we witnessed an extraordinary event. We expect to have the webcast up anyminutenow, but, in the meantime, check out our video short from this memorable program.


MSNBC interviews author Ed Gray

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Talk about a major scoop!

Last Wednesday, Barbara and Janet interviewed Ed Gray, co-author of In Nixon's Web: A Year in the Crosshairs of Watergate, and posted the podcast on our website. The questions are masterful, the answers are mesmerizing, and you'll definitely be intrigued for Sunday night's 5:30pm book tour launch at Darien Library. Little did we know that Barbara and Janet had scooped a major cable news television show by landing the first interview!

Take a listen to our podcast, and don't miss Ed Gray's appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe show, which airs tomorrow morning, March 7th, during the 6am to 9am broadcast.

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