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!
It's considered one of the modern-day wonders of the world, hosts almost 800,000 cars a week, but was called "a thirty five million dollar steel harp" by the San Francisco Chronicle when it opened in 1937. Today, we know the Golden Gate Bridge as an enduring symbol of the west and it's hard to imagine that beautiful city's waterfront without the bridge's familiar silhouette.
A new book, The Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge by Kevin Starr, tells the story behind the bridge, starting with a history of the Bay Area, the political wranglings behind the bridge's inception, and the arduous process of conceptualizing and creating a man-made structure to span the dangerous waters between San Francisco and Marin County. We read about the tragedies that killed 11 workers and led to installation of a safety net during the building, how the distinctive International Orange color was chosen (over the objections of the US Navy, which preferred yellow and black stripes!), and why the guard rails on the pedestrian walk are so alarmingly low. We cheer with almost a quarter million pedestrians who joyously celebrated their city's newest landmark when it finally opened in 1937!
For more detail, The Gate by John Van der Zee (1986) offers an exhaustive history. The Golden Gate, though, brings the story up to date and covers many more aspects of the bridge's utilitarian and iconic qualities. If you've never seen -- or driven or walked across -- this glorious span, this new book will inspire you to head west and experience the Golden Gate Bridge for yourself.
If you're a rabid Mad Men fan like myself, waiting each week for Sunday night can seem torturous. Between those weekly doses of Don Draper, indugle in a little Man Men-inspired reading.
The neurotic men and women of Madison Avenue (and their spouses) have excellent taste in both fashion and literature; the following is a list of some of the best books read by characters on the show throughout the past four seasons (thus far.)
Today is the one and only Friday the 13th in 2010, which brings to mind one of the most memorable opening lines in literature: "It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen." Remember those ominous words from George Orwell's 1984?
We've put together a list of other favorite opening lines below. The first few words of a book are meant to pique our curiosity and involve us immediately...they're often shocking or mysterious, as if we've walked into a compelling conversation that's already underway. "Call me Ishmael," for example. The narrator of Melville's Moby-Dick is establishing a relationship with the reader and in just three words, we want to know more...Who is he? What has he just experienced?
Other favorites include classic lines from Dickens, Tolstoy, Bronte, even Harry Potter. The oft-quoted and satirized first sentence from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is here as well: "It was a dark and stormy night."
These opening lines evoke the beginnings of unforgettable journeys that we can take time and again. Happy Friday the 13th and watch out for black cats today!
Call me Ishmael. (Moby-Dick)
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Anna Karenina)
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... (A Tale of Two Cities)
Marley was dead, to begin with. (A Christmas Carol)
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (Jane Eyre)
All children, except one, grow up. (Peter Pan)
This is the saddest story I have ever heard. (The Good Soldier)
It was a dark and stormy night. (A Wrinkle in Time)
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again... (Rebecca)
Beginning August 16, the Darien Library will expand its audiobook collection to include downloadable audiobooks from OverDrive. OverDrive is a large database of downloadable audiobooks compatible with iPods and a wide variety of other MP3 players. Providing access to popular new titles as well as classics, OverDrive will be accessible to all Darien Library patrons. Each user may download up to 10 audiobooks at a time. The audiobooks "check out " for 21 days and are automatically returned at the end of the borrowing period. Although you cannot renew an OverDrive audiobook, you may check it out again if no one else is waiting for it. In addition, you can rate audiobooks and share suggestions with friends on email, Twitter, and/or Facebook.
Before you can download audiobooks from OverDrive, you will need to download and install some free software--OverDrive Media Console. The download takes just minutes, and the software makes transferring, burning (when permitted by publisher), and playing audiobooks fast and easy.
We hope you're as excited about this new addition to our audiobook collection as we are! Come in and let us show you how it works.
See you @ the Library!
We all remember Linda Greenlaw from her previous books, her role in The Perfect Storm, and as the pioneering captain of a swordfishing boat. Did you know that she was born in Stamford? From there, her family moved to Maine, where she graduated from Colby College and worked as a cook and deckhand on commercial fishing boats during school breaks.
For nearly 25 years now, Greenlaw has led fishing expeditions around the globe. After being featured in The Perfect Storm, she was prompted to tell her own story, which led to a string of three bestsellers. Her latest is Seaworthy, and it's about renewing her love affair with the ocean after years away...she and a small crew of four go on a swordfishing journey that turns into an ill-fated series of misadventures, including a brief stay in a Canadian jail.
If you've read her earlier books, you'll find a more introspective and mature woman here, one who has stepped back from her life's passion and now eagerly embraces it again. If she's a new author to you, this book puts you squarely on deck -- you'll feel the salt spray, the wet rope between your fingers, the tilt and movement of the boat. It's a true armchair adventure with perspective, both inside and out, and a great way to completely escape into someone else's world. You'll be hooked from page one!
Not just the weather My Friends, but the wonderful books that will be coming to us here in this last month of the summer of 2010!
Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry is a book I can’t wait to get my hands on. Belva Gaertner was a wealthy divorcee and Beulah Annan was a young and beautiful wife who captured the imaginations of 1920’s Chicago when they shot their lovers to death. This is not just an account of the murderesses but also the young woman reporter who blazed a trail and broke the barrier of the all male crime reporters. This book sounds like it will be one of my favorite things: history made fun and readable.
I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson explores the bond between mother and son and lives not fully realized in this highly anticipated novel. Things are not going well for Arvid Jansen. He is in the midst of a divorce and his mother is dying of cancer. When he decides to accompany her to Denmark to help her live out her final days he also examines what he has made of his life so far. And while this sounds as if it could be maudlin, Petterson’s style of spare writing means that this is pretty much guaranteed to be a wonderful read.
Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory is the latest installment in her series on the lives of the women in the Plantagenet family. When we are first introduced to Margaret Beaufort she is a worldly 12 years old about to be wed to Edmund Tutor who is twice her age. When she is widowed at 14 and pregnant with her son she decides that she will no longer be a pawn in the royal power struggle and she will make her own way and her own rules. This series grabbed a lot of us with the first book of The White Queen. We are most excited about this one.
Good Daughters is Joyce Maynard’s latest. We loved last year’s Labor Day and can’t wait to read her again. In her most recent offering, we meet two girls who while born on the same day, in the same hospital could not be more different. Ruth is the romantic artist type who lives in a dream world and Dana is the scientist who believes in the concrete and real. Beginning in the 1950s and bringing us up to the present, Good Daughters examines the worlds of two very different and yet connected women.
Here is to low humidty and sunny skies and lovely reads!
Essay collections are always a mixed bag; you can find some real gems, but sometimes have to skip over lesser pieces. That's never the case with John McPhee, who's written for Time and the New Yorker, won the Pulitzer Prize, and authored 28 books. No skipping -- his books get read cover to cover!
McPhee's newest title is Silk Parachute. Between its covers are essays on the cultural evolution of lacrosse in the United States, adventurous eating -- puffin or mooseburger, anyone? -- how knowing how to roll a canoe once saved his life, the chalk geography of Europe, plus (a favorite in our Knowledge and Learning Services department) the trials and tribulations of fact-checking. The title essay, a mere four pages long, packs a series of memories of his mother into a delicate and loving tribute that will long stay in your memory.
Any of McPhee's essay collections is perfect for summer reading: in the backyard, on the go, or wherever you might be. We've compiled a list below of some favorites, but if you're just starting to discover his writing, Silk Parachute is one collection that won't let you down.
When asked to name my favorite day-trips in Connecticut, I knew my task would be an easy--and pleasant--one. Here are a few that came rapidly to mind, with online links to sites that will provide visitor information, including hours of operation, prices, and directions.
A natural for kids going through their dinosaur phase, and for parents who have never outgrown theirs, Dinosaur State Park is fun for the whole family. Walking among authentic dinosaur tracks made millions of years ago in our own backyard is only half the fun. The other half is making plaster casts of these ancient footprints using materials available on-site or nearby. Our 4th grader's show-and-tell souvenir is still intact (in the attic) a decade or more later.
Looking for an old-fashioned New England town to show your visiting in-laws? They don't get much more typical (or charming) than this compact village, just off Exit 69 of I-95. Water views of the Connecticut River, a grassy park with a gazebo, an inn with a restaurant that attracts visitors from all over the state on holidays (our favorite over the years has been Mother's Day), and boutique shopping are among the lures of this visitor magnet.
Nineteenth-century actor William Gillette gained fame and fortune during the Gilded Age through his memorable and melodramatic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. He used a considerable part of that fortune to build the house now known as Gillette's Castle. When we first visited this spot, it was partially closed for renovations. These have now been completed, and the Castle and its grounds overlooking the Connecticut River (a few miles upstream from Essex) are now open to all comers, making a repeat visit a new addition to our family's to-do list. Tours of the grand mansion are available.
Connecticut's version of Coney Island, located smack in the middle of the state, off I-84 between Waterbury and Hartford, is smaller and homier, which has made it a godsend for parents wanting a good spot for an outing. More than once have I boarded a bus as a chaperone for a day of sun, water rides, and lots of noise. The nation's oldest, continuously operating amusement park, Lake Compounce is a cheaper and nearer alternative to Six Flags.
One of the most celebrated towns in Connecticut--and not just because it was the setting for the Julia Roberts' breakthrough film Mystic Pizza. Besides the Aquarium and the historic ships, Mystic also offers less pricey alternatives to visitors, including a charming village with shops, superb seafood eateries, ice-cream parlors, and, yes, a pizzeria with a famous name. My favorite moment in Mystic was not the windy day we spent inspecting the tall ships, but an early evening in which we watched--from the second floor of a harbor restaurant--the drawbridge open and close for returning boats as the sun was setting and we were enjoying a New England fish dinner.
If none of these is quite your cup of tea, no worries. Connecticut is rich in history and full of places of interest to singles, families, and seniors, too. Before you embark on your next day-trip, check out our catalog. We have a wonderful selection of local travel guides to help you plan your getaway. Here are my top picks:
Once you've whet your appetite browsing through our travel guides, go online and check out these web sites for the latest information on events, prices, and special offers:
Bonus link: The Connecticut Supreme Court, State Capitol and the Museum of Connecticut History have planned two days of programming this summer for families interested in a day-trip with their kids. Click here for details!
See you @ the Library (when you get back)!
What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman is a wonderful novel about the complexities of love during war time. When Wyatt loses both his parents to suicide he goes to live with his aunt and uncle and beautiful cousin Tilda. In 1941 Nova Scotia, the fear of attack by German U-Boats is all too real, so when Tilda falls in love with Hans Moehring a German exchange student, her father becomes increasingly unhinged by a man he perceives as the enemy. The chain of events that are set in motion by their marriage make this story a not put downable read.
The One Hundred Foot Journey is the debut novel from Richard Morais whose day job is as a Forbes Magazine correspondent. The story of Hassan Haji’s ascent as a famed French chef begins in India just after World War II when his grandfather opens a hole in the wall restaurant in Bombay. When his mother is killed, the family leaves for England. But when the UK proves to not be where they should be they end up in a quaint village in France where they bring their wonderful spices to the citizenry. When they make an enemy of Madame Mallory the local chef who happens to be most unpleasant, things really begin to heat up. Have the Haji’s finally found their home? Or will Madame drive them away?
Dana Hayne’s Crashers is making me very happy not to be flying this summer. When Cascade Air flight 818 falls from the sky the National Transportation Safety Board send out it’s crack team of investigators to find out what happened. Nicknamed, the Crashers they have days not the normal time period of months to find out what happened, but mere days because if they don’t find the terrorist behind it more planes will continue to fall from the sky.
Red Hook Road is the latest offering from Ayelet Waldman. Red Hook, Maine is one of those communities that people swarm to in the summer. And like all summer communities there is the division between the Summer People and the Town People. When a Summer Girl marries a Town Boy you just have to know that the possibilities of it not ending well are pretty strong. This is a wonderful examination of two worlds.
Have you signed up yet for Adult Summer Reading? Well what are you waiting for? Visit us at the Welcome desk and we will happily get you started!