Green Day at the Library

Usually, our "green" news has to do with our fabulous new green building, but this time it's with a capital G, as in Green, as in George Dawes Green, who was our featured speaker at our Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale last week. In case you don't know already... his newest novel, the fabulously-reviewed Ravens is my favorite book of the summer. When the author agreed to come to Darien Library to speak, I was expecting something really good...possibly GREAT...what we got was AMAZING.!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

There's something about a Southerner being in the room that slows the whole pace down just a bit. When you factor in the remarkable writing and storytelling ability and his skill at provoking thriller-worthy tension for the reader/listener, George Dawes Green was the perfect tonic for the lull of August. Just as he does in Ravens, he drew everyone in instantly. Thrills. Laughter. Pin-dropping tension. His genre is the thriller. His writing is poetic. His storytelling, masterful. This was goosebumps in August.

We can't mention George Dawes Green's incredible storytelling ability without mentioning that he is the founder of The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization. That's the very basic description...if you saw this past Sunday's New York Times, then you know it's much bigger than that. The Sunday Styles section led with a (huge!) fabulous article about The Moth. We are so pleased that George agreed to spend some time with us and share his great talent.

This special author event was the highlight of our Grand Finale for our Adult Summer Reading Program but that night, we also had the drawing for the Grand Prize winners. Considering the hundreds of entries that we had, it was such fun that all three winners were in the audience that night! Here are just a few more shots from this extraordinary event.

 

 

 Thank you to everyone (members...staff....George) for making this our most successful Adult Summer Reading Program ever!

   

 

Worth Reading (and Thinking About)

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!

Prepare to be Mesmerized

On Sunday, February 8 at 5 p.m., Michael Korda will be at the Library to talk about his new book, With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain.

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.

A Modern Voice from the Past

When New York Times reporter Lily Koppel came into possession of a crumbling 75 year old diary rescued from an Upper West Side dumpster, little did she know that it would change her life. The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal is a remarkable story in many ways and Lily will be here at the Library this Thursday, October 2nd at 7 p.m. to talk about it.

The diary is one that was kept by Florence Wolfson during the years 1929-34...5 years in the life of a privileged young woman (beginning at age 14). Through the pages of the diary, Lily became acquainted with a New York City of another time, and of even greater significance, she "met" Florence. The entries are filled with sophisticated musings, cultural observations, teenage crushes, love affairs...literary and emotional adventures and journeys.  It's candid and frank, as a diary should be and what would be the chances of locating the author of the diary??? Well, Lily hired a private detective, reunited diary and diarist, and she emerges with a beautiful and full story, and a friend. Through her intimate conversations with Florence, at age 90, the brief diary entries spring to life.

Personal photographs are included, and the young woman in the pictures is unmistakably the modern, adventurous girl from the diary.

Come and join us Thursday evening and meet Lily Koppel and learn more about The Red Leather Diary. A book signing will follow the presentation and books will be available for purchase.

Refreshments will be served.

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, to listen to a brief interview with the author, click here.

 

"Lies" in Darien

We are so excited.

Brad Meltzer, the author of The Book of Lies will be here on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. It's the same day that his new book debuts at #2 on The New York Times bestseller list (so we know he'll be in a good mood). We've read the book. We've heard him speak. We cannot express more urgently how much we know you'll enjoy this program.

In The Book of Lies, Meltzer poses the question: What does Cain, the world’s first villain, and Superman, the world’s first superhero have in common?    
Definitely, a discussion-starter.

This thriller expertly melds the story of the murder of Superman-creator Jerry Siegler's father with a dangerous present-day race to find the world's first murder weapon – that which was used by Cain to kill Abel. It's a bold book; it challenges assumptions about Cain killing Abel, heroes and villains, and Meltzer brings into the story a real murder, that of Mitchell Siegel, the father of Jerry Siegel, who created Superman and these stories are woven together in a fast-paced, fascinating, code-breaking drama. After all, explains Meltzer, it was the murder of his father in a store robbery that led the young Jerry to create a bullet-proof man called Superman.

Janet and I had the chance to talk to Brad last week and it was immediately apparent that he has the ability to engage right away and his enthusiasm is contagious . You can listen to a podcast of that conversation right here.  You'll certainly want to hear more, so please join us on Sunday (promptly at 5:30 p.m.) for what's sure to be a memorable event.

There will be a reception and book signing following the presentation and books will be available for purchase.

See you on Sunday!

 

My, that corn is soft!

This shirt (left) is made from corn! Really. And it's really soft.

Starre Vartan, the author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green, was here last night and talked to us about green living. It was a fabulous presentation with many surprises! The self-proclaimed "Eco-Fashionista" really does earn her title. She described the difference between cotton and organic cotton, wool and organic wool, and displayed items made of natural materials such as corn, soy, and bamboo. She also had items to show us which were made from reused materials, including a tote bag made from an old billboard(!) (shown at right).

Starre's done the research and it's all in her new book. It really is a must for anyone looking to make even the smallest eco-friendly change in their personal  habits, be it at home, in fashion, or globally.

 

Starre Night

Brightening up our night tomorrow night, Starre Vartan, the author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Live Fabulously Green will be here at 7 p.m. to talk about her book.

We know this is going to be a great program. Janet and I spoke with Starre last week, and not only is she knowledgable, she's also interesting, entertaining, and fun.

Please come and join us tomorrow night!

Refreshments will be served.

Countdown to "Mudbound"

At 7 p.m. next Wednesday, August 13th, Hillary Jordan, the author of Mudbound will be the special guest speaker at our Adult Summer Reading Grand Finale. We know how wildly popular the book is (there are 42 holds on the book right now!), so we also know that you're as eager as we are to learn more about "Mudbound"...and Hillary. Well, as luck and timing would have it, Janet and I had the chance to talk for a bit with Hillary earlier today, and you can listen to the conversation
right here.

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Hillary Jordan

Summer's beginning to wind down and we'll enjoy some down time at our Grand Finale wine and cheese party. We're counting on having a good time, which is why we're counting down...counting down to Mudbound.

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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 Program...now 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
Prize!

 

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!

 

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