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!
At the New Darien Library, we’re making big progress on the second floor! The nonfiction is in and it’s arranged to make browsing the stacks easier. We’ve taken the dear old Dewey Decimal System and remixed it.
While the Dewey Decimal System is subject based, it was originally developed in 1876 and we found that many modern subject areas were split between two or more Dewey areas. This reorganization makes the books easy to browse and brings together similar subject areas. Here’s how we’ve grouped the books on the second floor:
Body & Soul is where you’ll find books on religion, philosophy, self-help and health.
Over in Nature are all the books on science, math and animals.
Home has the books on hobbies, crafts, decorating, cooking and gardening.
Places is for the globetrotters among us- travel books, phrase books and travel writing.
Work is all business. Books on finance, accounting, marketing, college admissions, test preparation and the economy are here.
Come and Play, where you’ll see books on sports, cars and recreation.
Life and Times is the largest group with history, memoir and biography.
The lovely Art and Literature has beautiful art books, literature, and writing.
We’ve had a lot of fun reorganizing the collection to make it easier for our members to find what they’re looking for. Upstairs, you can browse your favorite subject area, try out our comfy chairs and bring your research questions to our roving librarians. The second floor is also the home of the Classics room, a book-lined escape into great literature.
On January 10th, come upstairs and enjoy the beautiful, sun-filled rooms of the second floor. We can’t wait to see you!
Our reorganization cheat sheet!
According to bestselling author Ken Follett, his epic book, The Pillars of the Earth was a word-of-mouth hit. Not necessarily well-reviewed, practically dismissed as folly by some, Pillars, the story of the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral, went on to become an international bestseller that got people talking...and the conversation continues. Now I'm just doing my part to strongly recommend this grand novel.
The book came out nearly 20 years ago. Recently, someone told me it was the best book he'd ever read. Only 100 pages in, I can see why. Follett begins by transporting the reader to the year 1135 and he does so masterfully. So instantly engrossed was I, I found myself yearning for the days when I lived in New York and so enjoyed my subway-reading time. But, hark! I found the solution -- the book on cd! I can attest, read or spoken, Follett's words will move you. His characters are so fully-formed and so real...I have chuckled, cringed, and wept on their behalf (and remember, I've only just begun this massive tome).
...got to go. It's time to leave for work. My chariot and story await. It may be a short commute...but thanks to Follett, I love the company, and I don't mind if there's traffic.
When we meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. for our Fall Book Discussion Series and Jordon leads the talk about The Garden of Last Days, there's certain to be discussion of the pre 9/11 setting of the novel. There will also be discussion of Jordon's personal Dubus history. Jordon knew the author's father, Andre Dubus many years ago .When Janet and I went with Jordon this past summer to hear Andre (III) speak, it was a reunion of sorts...Jordon last saw the author more than 40 years ago!
photo by Flickr user Stargonautone
A young girl asked me for books about tornadoes last week. She wanted to know how they work so that she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. Books can provide a safe space for children to learn about something affecting their lives and explore their fears. How many of you have used books to help children conquer their fears of monsters under the bed? Well, now might be a good time to break out the books about financial crisis, poor economy and recessions.
Over at Slate, there is a great short piece and accompanying slide show called, "Mom, What's a Credit Deafult Swap?" They suggest a few titles of books for your children to read or for you to read together. I've included the titles available at our library as well as a few more below.
Children are very perceptive and can get stressed out about the same things you do. Imagine how scary words like depression, recession and financial crisis mut sound to them. You can help them explore this topic and just like the little girl who is not longer afraid of tornadoes, your child will be able to bravely face the world knowing their family's cupboards will always be filled with love (Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary).
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney; published in 1881, this landmark book details the struggles of the Pepper kids who "are so dirt-poor they have to mend their broken stove using part of an old boot" yet remain positive and optomistic as they try to help their bankrupt single mother.
|Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; this classic children's book was oroginally published during the Great Depression. People seemed to take solace in the extreme hardships the Ingalls family faced. Like Five Little Peppers, the kids strive to please and help the parents through the difficult times.||Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor; delving beyond mere poverty, 10 year-old Cassie's family faces prejudice and hate in their Great Depression era story. This story won the Newbery Medal in 1977 and remains just as powerful today as it was then.||Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary: In all the Ramona books, there is an underlying theme of tough times. The Quimbys often scrimp and pinch, but in this story, Ramona's father loses his job. His depression results in tremendous anxiety and fear in the children, especially Ramona. Ramona gives voice to fears that many children today may have and shows us the inner workings of a child's desire to help when their parents and family are struggling. We worry about our kids...and they worry about us too.|
|Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse: In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998.||How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor: Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.||Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor: Addie and her mother live in a small tralier with no steady income. Addie makes her own dinners with next-to-nothing in the cupboards and holds on to hope that things will get better.||Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart by Vera B. Williams: An absolutely heartbreaking story told through poems and pictures about two sisters who hold each other up even when their bellies are empty.|
|Spuds by Karen Hesse: Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help Ma by putting something extra on the table, so they set out in the dark to take potatoes from a nearby field, but when they arrive home and empty their potato sacks, they are surprised by what they see||A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams: A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire|