One day last week I was looking for a good book to read. While browsing the Library's 7-day books, I began chatting with Pat and Jen, two members of the Darien Library's terrific Readers' Advisory team. Both women enthusiastically recommended Chis Cleave's new novel, Little Bee. Mr. Cleave's award-winning first novel, Incendiary, published in 2005, had somehow missed my radar, so I was not familiar with him or his books. I'm happy to say that my colleagues' recommendation was right on the mark. The plot revolves around the hot button issue of immigration and deftly exposes the many sides to this issue. The narration alternates between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee recently released from a detention center outside of London, and Sarah, a career woman, wife and mother living in the suburbs. Through Little Bee, we come to know Sarah, Andrew, and Charlie, the British family whose lives intersect fatefully with that of Little Bee. I found the story engrossing and the characters richly drawn. If you enjoy thought-provoking, realistic fiction, Little Bee may be a good choice for you or your book club. But, if you're looking for something else entirely, have a chat with our Readers' Advisory team. They'll be sure to find something you'll enjoy!
Eighteen minutes that changed the world: it happened exactly 94 years ago today. Loaded with nearly two thousand passengers and crew members, the Lusitania left New York on May 1, 1915, headed towards Ireland. Just forty or so miles away from her destination port, she was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat and sunk 18 minutes later, taking the lives of more than half on board.
This remains one of the worst civilian sea disasters in history, and is widely considered the main reason the US entered World War I. Remarkably, there is still one living survivor of the Lusitania, American Audrey Lawson Johnston, who was three months old at the time and lost her two sisters in the disaster.
We have a wealth of Lusitania books here at the Darien Library, mostly in the Life & Times subject area (or "glade") on the 2nd floor. You can read about the events of May 7, 1915 in books like Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy, Seven Days to Disaster, or The Lucitania Disaster. For those interested in exploration of the ship's wreckage, an excellent resource is Robert Ballard's Lusitania: Probing the Mysteries of the Sinking That Changed History. Nearly 100 years later, the story of the Lusitania still resonates, and amazes.
We've seen a dramatic (and welcome) change of weather recently, going from overcoats and umbrellas to shorts and sandals in just the past few weeks. That means it's finally time to start thinking about summer activities like Little League, camping, boating and swimming, golf, tennis and horseback riding, even just taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
You'll find all of our books about outdoor activies - whether you're a spectator or participant - in the non-fiction section called Play. We've taken our books on coaching youth teams, the history of the World Series, college football, and other sports-related topics and created a browsing area, or "glade." We also tucked biographies of notable athletes and coaches, and hobbies (such as stamp collecting and crossword puzzles), on the Play shelves as well, so it's all within easy reach. Just follow the Dewey decimal numbers once you've found the glade!
The two Knowledge & Learning Services librarians who oversee Play are Blanche Parker (email@example.com) and Janet Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org). And although they rarely miss a hot new sports title, your suggestions are always welcome. Good sports can always be found in the Play glade at Darien Library.
As new ballparks for New York's two teams opened earlier this month, you can take an armchair tour of over 50 other major league baseball fields with The Ballpark Book. You'll see Wrigley's ivy up close, climb Fenway's Green Monster, bask under Dodger Stadium's palm trees, admire the Rocky Mountain skyline from Denver's Coors Field, ride the carousel while taking in a Tigers game in Detroit, and sample the tangy barbecue at Baltimore's Camden Yards.
With teams upgrading to new homes faster than we can keep track these days, there's plenty of nostalgia in these pages even though the book is only six years old. Half a dozen of the "current" ballparks depicted are already obsolete, including Old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York. They're joining a large section called "Gone, But Not Forgotten," where we can re-visit Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field in New York, Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and many more (who ever thought that Houston's Astrodome would become a nostalgic icon?!).
Journey back to your own field of dreams, wherever it may be, with The Ballpark Book and play ball!
500 years ago today, Henry VIII took the throne as King of England. Henry and his wives have been the subject of histories, novels, and one very irritating song. Hampton Court Palace, once Henry VIII's home, now a museum, has a treasure trove of information on the monarch and the Tower of London is offering a display of his ever-larger armor from points throughout his life.
Popular historian and novelist Alison Weir has written a number of books about Henry VIII, his ancestors and his descendants. If you're looking for a juicy history of his wives or a compelling novelization of his daughter's life, Weir is your writer. 500 years later, Henry and his family have the power to fascinate. There's no shortage of books to enthrall on our shelves - search for Henry VIII and find your next historical read!
Last spring, we were honored to welcome favorite author John Feinstein to the Darien Library. It's a visit that we're all still talking about! His new book on the classic June 2008 showdown between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate hits the shelves in May, but meanwhile, The Last Amateurs, a year in college basketball's Patriot League, deserves another look.
Feinstein spent the 1999-2000 season with the seven teams that make up the smallest conference in NCAA basketball: Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, and Navy. Sports scholarships are rarely given and arenas hardly ever full in the Patriot League, but the passion and commitment of the players is unequaled. We meet students who attend games with books in hand to keep up with their studies and families who make deep sacrifices to pay full tuition so their sons can fulfill their hoop dreams while working at the highest academic levels. If the term "student-athlete" seems like an oxymoron to you, this book will restore your faith.
March is National Women's History Month. The public celebration began in 1978 in the UnitedStates as "Women's History Week" in Sonoma County, California. In 1987 Congress expanded the celebration to a month and March was declared Women's History Month. Check out some of the titles in the library's collection celebrating the history of women:
We used the books listed here and our online resources to find some famous female firsts.
For the answers to these and any other questions you might have, come up to the second floor, IM (deweydarien), email (email@example.com) or call (669-5236) us!
We've experienced Mr. Korda's commanding presence before. (Remember when he was here in November 2007 (photo at right) to talk about Ike: An American Hero?) I say "commanding" because he is nothing short of it. His command of the information, the history, the words, his voice, and any room he enters is something to behold. Whether reading from his book or in discussion, he has the unique ability to transport the listener.
We are delighted that Michael Korda wanted to return to Darien Library! With Wings Like Eagles, released just a few weeks ago, is already being considered the only book that describes the political maneuvering and behind-the-scenes strategizing that surrounded the Battle of Britain. This bestselling author has received excellent reviews for this latest book, including the following from Diana Preston of The Washington Post:
"…passionate and eloquent …With Wings Like Eagles is a skillful, absorbing, often moving contribution to the popular understanding of one of the few episodes in history to live on untarnished and undiminished in the collective memory and to deserve the description "heroic."
Personally, I am preparing for another memorable evening at the Library and I am immersing myself in the time period. After reading With Wings Like Eagles, I watched the new dvd, Flying the Secret Sky: The Story of the Royal Air Force Ferry Command and am currently reading Ken Follett's suspense tale set in the early days of WWII, Hornet Flight. Of course, you don't need to prepare for this fabulous author event which is part of our Grand Opening Author Series...just be prepared to be mesmerized.
A reception and book signing will follow the presentation. Books will be available for purchase.
Join us on February 23rd throughout the day as we kick off our first-ever One Book, One Community program!
Here at the Library, we may not always agree on what constitutes the perfect book to curl up with on a snowy winter day, or which selections should be nominated for national awards - but it can be said with certainty that we all agree that books can be an ideal way to open the paths to dialogue on just about anything.
So when the Darien community was put to task by the Human Services Planning Council to create programming that supports its CARE Darien initiative of encouraging the town to collectively make positive changes in the ways that we interact with one another, the Library knew just where to start.
On February 23rd, Darien Library will be launching its very first One Book, One Community program. One Book, One Community encourages everyone in town to read the same book and then come together to explore its themes through discussions, seminars, and workshops. Our selection is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a New York Times bestseller and award-winning novel, and we hope you'll find this read as enjoyable, touching, mesmerizing, and meaningful as we have.
Come to our kickoff to check out your copy of The Book Thief and enjoy some homemade confections. Experience the "domino effect," one of the themes of the book, with dominoes and other contemplative games scattered throughout the Library. And experience Reader's Theater on Main Street from 3 to 6 p.m., when passages from the book will be performed by students from Darien High School's Theatre 308.
Also, continue to check our website and your mailbox for more information on the programs we have planned during March and April for this first-ever town-wide reading event!
Play. Reflect. Construct. We’re building a better community!