Seven years ago, first-time author Laura Hillenbrand gave us Seabiscuit, a breakout hit that became a major motion picture and re-introduced us to one of the most amazing athletes of the 20th century: a knock-kneed, undersized colt who went on to become perhaps the greatest racehorse that ever lived.
Hillenbrand is finally back with a book that has taken her nearly a decade to write, Unbroken. It's the story of a very different kind of athlete, a human this time. While researching Seabiscuit, Hillenbrand had seen an article about a young runner, Louis Zamperini. Curious about his life, she contacted him and began a correspondence. Zamperini was born in New York, survived a rough childhood, and ran track at USC and with the 1936 US Olympic team in Berlin. This might have been enough to craft an unusual biography, but it's only the beginning.
Just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Zamperini enlisted in the Air Force. As the war escalated, he survived a harrowing plane accident and was eventually captured and held as a POW. By the time he finally returned home, his family had already given him up for dead. Today, Zamperini has made peace with his past -- meeting with and expressing forgiveness to his captors -- and a film adaptation of his story is currently in development (set to star Nicolas Cage). Unbroken arrives on November 16 and is already receiving outstanding reviews, so place your hold now!
Before Hudson was a river, Columbus was a city, and Magellan was a GPS, they were all people -- men from the Age of Exploration (roughly defined as lasting from the 15th to early 17th centuries). This was a time of travel into uncharted areas of the world, when ships undertook voyages with the very real possibility that they would never return.
It might seem hard to imagine in this time when we're never quite disconnected...that men left their homes for years at a time, attempting to create new trade routes and map the globe. Our knowledge of the oceans and continents was changed immeasurably by the many voyages that took place during this time. The Age of Exploration also serves as a bridge between the Middle Ages and our more modern era. Come and discover the amazing stories of these explorers on our 2nd floor display this week!
Photo by Flickr user gwgs.
The temperature is dropping which means knitting season is finally upon us! Learn how to stitch your way to toasty hands and feet this fall. Here are a few helpful guides to get you started:
Photo by flickr user LollyKnit.
It seems like every day brings a new health warning or piece of advice...Make sure you do this! Don't let that happen! Call your doctor to ask if this medication is appropriate for you! It can be overwhelming.
Each person is different, and that's where our Body & Soul collection can help. We have books and resources for children's health issues, adolescents, young or middle-aged adults, and seniors, all in one easy, browsable section. Whether you want a yoga DVD, the latest nutritional information, diet advice, research on a specific illness or condition, or help finding an excellent doctor, this is the place to start. We've taken some of our most popular health books and created a special display -- please stop by the 2nd floor and let us help you find peace of mind AND a sound body!
Photo by Flickr user Darwin Bell.
The cycle goes around and around...each generation has to eventually assume the role of caregiver for the one before. For many of us, that means watching out for aging parents (and even grandparents), often while raising our own families. Health and housing, money, transportation, and eventually end-of-life decisions are all difficult topics, but there is help and hope out there.
We have a special display of Elder Care books available on the 2nd floor this week and would be happy to help you choose titles that fit your needs, whether you're in the midst of a transition time now or are looking ahead to the future. Included are books on choosing a nursing home, Alzheimer's, exercise, family dynamics, macular degeneration, and many more issues specific to older adults and their caregivers. The books are all part of our nearby Body & Soul section, just as seniors are part of our families and commmunity as a whole. See our list of recommended titles below or stop by to browse the larger selection of Elder Care resources at Darien Library.
Photo by Flickr user marymuses.
Autumn officially began last week on our calendars, but crunchy apples, colorful squash, and beautiful, shiny pumpkins have been tempting us at local farmers' markets and food stores for a while...what to do with all of that delicious fall bounty?
We have a great collection of books at Darien Library that give us plenty of recipe ideas for local produce and home-grown fruits and vegetables. Soups, crisp fruit pies and tarts, sandwiches, and piping-hot casseroles -- this is the time of year for comfort foods that bring us together and warm us up. Our list of recommended titles is just the start of what you'll see on our 2nd floor Harvest Cooking display table!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user NatalieMaynor.
In addition to the crisp fall air, apples, football and bon fires there are some very exciting titles coming your way! This month there is one author who I am sure that everyone is aware of, but there are three who you may not be familiar with that we are just wild for and we would love for you to know about them.
By Nightfall by Pulitzer Prize winning author (The Hours) Michael Cunningham is something we are all looking forward to. Peter and Rebecca Harris are in their mid forties, financially secure, and living a life worthy of envy. But when Rebecca’s drug addict brother Ethan, (also known as Mizzie because he was a “mistake”) comes for a visit, Peter begins to question everything that he has constructed and held close. We love the way Cunningham writes and we cannot wait to read what his take is on these modern day Manhattanites.
False Friend is by Myla Goldberg. You may have read one of her previous novels, Bee Season which is a huge Staff Favorite. Her latest offering seems to have that same sort of vibe to it. Celia is a 32 year old woman who has returned to her hometown to right a wrong that she committed as an 11 year old regarding the disappearance of her childhood friend. But there is a problem. No one believes her. And the friends that she was with that fateful day won’t back her story up. Goldberg is a master at examining the foibles of us all. And how could you resist such an autumnal cover this time of year?
Pursuit of Happiness is the second American offering by Douglas Kennedy. He has been a sensation in Europe for years now and we are just discovering him on this side of the pond. This one promises to be as wonderful as his first which came out this summer; Leaving the World. Sarah Smythe has decided upon the life of a Bohemian and run off to Greenwich Village in the years following WW II. When she meets Jack Malone at a party her world changes forever. Very few male writers can successfully write in a female voice. Happily Kennedy is not one of them.
And finally here is the book that you just know will be an instant blockbuster! The Confession by John Grisham will be out at the end of the month. Travis Boyett raped and killed a cheerleader in 1998. The local police somehow deduced that the local football hero was the murderer and marched him off to death row. Now all these years later, Travis has an inoperable brain tumor. Will he do the right thing and confess that they are about to execute the wrong man? As always we are looking forward to Grisham’s fast pacing and wonderful story telling.
Earlier this month, physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines when some of the theories from his new book, The Grand Design, were made public. Hawking has tackled one of the most basic questions in human history: How did we get here? He presents the argument that the universe began more or less spontaneously, without divine intervention or direction. Hawking also explores "M-theory," the still-evolving idea that our universe is simply one in a series, dispersed among different dimensions. Mind-boggling enough, but wait until you get to the part where he explains that each of these universes is a slightly different variation of ours, taking place somewhere beyond our perception.
Since he became a household name over two decades ago, Hawking has never shied away from controversy or slowed down in his pursuit of scientific knowledge. He's made physics accessible to millions and won international awards for his research, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If you managed to get through A Brief History of Time (or even if you didn't and it's still sitting unopened on your coffee table), this is a more philosophical partner to that ground-breaking book, written for readers with curious minds who just may not happen to have a PhD in physics. The Grand Design is brilliant, shocking, and thought-provoking...believe it or not.
The NFL season kicked off last night, with a victory by the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints over the Minnesota Vikings. Between now and February 6, 2011, the date of Super Bowl XLV, Sunday afternoons mean nestling on the couch, with chips and the remote in easy reach, following all the football action we can.
Baseball may be "America's pastime," but professional football ranks higher in popularity surveys, revenue numbers, and with television viewers. We love the crunching hits, the rivalries, the brute strength, and the finesse of plays measured in inches. It's a world where everything is black and white -- a play either goes your way or it doesn't -- right down to the referees' striped uniforms. And each team has a history of glory and heartbreak, especially those most popular in this part of the country: the Giants, Jets, and Patriots. Each of our locals has a shot to have an outstanding season this year, and the Giants and Jets are playing in the brand-new Meadowlands Stadium, so fan excitement is very high!
As we get ready for the new season, there are plenty of classic football books that evoke the game's great history. See our list below for recommended NFL reading and remember, as former coach Marv Levy once said, "Football doesn't build character. It reveals character."
Because some seriously good reads are coming your way this September!
So put away the sun block and the beach bag! Here are our picks for making Fall fun!
Those who know us know we are fascinated by all things Chanel. Coco Chanel: The Legend and Her Life by Justine Picardie is something we can’t wait to get our hands on. Picardie had unprecedented access to the Chanel archive and this book promises to bring to solve many of the mysteries surrounding this creative genius.
Also, those who know us know that we are NPR junkies. We are really looking forward to hearing the story behind the voice that has brought us so many wonderful stories. Michele Norris using her own family’s stories examines the history and current state of race relations in America. From the story of her grandmother employed as a traveling Aunt Jemima to her father’s shooting by a white police man The Grace of Silence promises to be a book that will elicit many a discussion.
Nobody is better than Ken Follett at bringing us big, fat wonderful epics. And this September he begins a new trilogy centering around five interconnected families. They will begin their stories at the beginning of the last century and through the subsequent books carry us through to the end. Fall of Giants is just the thing for those increasingly long nights ahead.
Room by Emma Donoghue is a book we are wild for and have included in our Fall 2010 Book Discussion Series. Jack is a very typical 5 year old boy. Energetic and curious about the world he keeps his Ma on her toes! But very quickly we realize that Jack and Ma’s world is not like ours. It is confined to an 11 x 11 space. And they never leave it. Every one we have given this book to has become a huge fan. We can’t wait to hear what the rest of you have to say about it.
Ok, it can’t all be serious all the time. So David Sedaris is back with Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. We love anyone who can make us laugh out loud with such force that anyone near you at the time will assume there is something seriously wrong with you and move slowly away avoiding eye contact. Such is the power of anything written by Sedaris. These are short stories all featuring animals that have some very human characteristics.
So, yes it is most sad that we have to pack away the detritus of summer. But look at the wonderful Book Goodness that is coming our way! Almost makes the transition seem worth it!