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!
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.
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.
As summer seems like a distant memory and a new school year begins, I was thinking about the books I read over the past couple of months. Two books stand out so strongly in my mind. They weren't beach reads, but they opened this mother of fours' eyes on the old saying that any child can make a bad choice. The story of Nic's fall into drug addiction - one told from a father's perspective and one from Nic himself - speaks volumes to parents of all teens - those involved in drugs or not. The books are wonderfully written and touched my soul. As one reader said, "a testimonial to the parent/child bond." I, personally, think they are must reads for every parent. Beautiful Boy: a father's journey through his son's meth addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff.
We all know why it is good to read to children under 5 - it helps lay the groundwork for a successful experience in school (and life!). In order for young children to be strong readers, they need to be read to. As kids get older (and busier) it is harder and harder to find time to read those looooooong chapter books. There are a great many benefits to continuing to read to your older children! It contiunes to build their vocubalary, it strengthens their listening skills and most importantly, it provides time for you to bond with your children.
Here are some titles from our collection to help you get started. Remember, everyone has different personal values and your children's maturity levels vary, so we recommend that you read the books yourself before sharing them with your children.
For recommendations of books to read to your baby, toddler or preschooler please go to our First Five Years section for book lists.
Books for School-Age Listeners:
Harold the dog shares a true story of the mysterious happenings in the Monroe household since the arrival of an unusual rabbit named Bunnicula. The Monroes' cat, Chester, who has quite an active imagination, is convinced that the harmless looking bunny is a vampire. Chester observes Bunnicula rousing only at night to get sustenance from vegetables by draining their juices with his tiny fangs! Initially, Harold helps Chester warn the family that the strange white vegetables in their refrigerator are caused by a vampire bunny. Later though, Harold comes to Bunnicula's aid when he discovers that Chester is using garlic to starve his new fluffy friend. The story ends happily when Bunnicula goes on a liquid diet and the Monroes' vegetables are safe.
While sorting through difficulties in her friendship with her neighbor Margaret, eight-year-old Clementine gains several unique hairstyles while also helping her father in his efforts to banish pigeons from the front of their apartment building. This is a funny story of a girl who can't seem to avoid trouble and both bpys and girls will apprecitae the humor. An added bonus - the grownups in this book are actually cool! Follow this up with The Talented Clementine and Clementine's Letter.
After Chester, a cricket, arrives in the Times Square subway station from his native Connecticut via a picnic basket, he takes up residence in the Bellinis' newsstand. There tiny Chester is lucky enough to find three good friends; a little boy named Mario whose parents run the unsuccessful newsstand; a fast-talking Broadway mouse called Tucker; and Tucker's pal, Harry Cat. Between escapades in New York City, the four somehow manage tobring success to the almost bankrupt newsstand.
When he decides to turn his fifth-grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control. Always a hit with elementary school kids, this book also has some good talking points! Check out the discussion guide on Simon & Shuster's website for some questions and activities to do with your kids.
Mr. Popper, a house painter who dreams of the Polar region, receives a large crate containing a penguin. This is a silly book written in 1938, but a classic and an award winner. Even your younger listeners in Preschool would like this book! Follow it up with an exploration about penguins and their habitats. We've got 63 other books about penguins in our Children's Room! You can also find out more about penguins on Zoobooks - a online animal encyclopedia for kids.
"Boy!" said Ralph to himself, his whiskers quivering with excitement. "Boy, oh boy!" Feeling that this was an important moment in his life, he took hold of the handgrips. They felt good and solid beneath his paws. Yes, this motorcycle was a good machine all right.
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling. Follow this up with the Cleary's book Ralph S. Mouse.
Sarah, Plain and Tall is an award winning tale set in the late 19th century. It is about Jacob, a widowed midwestern farmer, and his two children, Anna and Caleb. Jacob has advertised for a wife, but when Sarah arrives, she is homesick for Maine, especially for the ocean which she misses greatly. The children fear that she will not stay, and when she goes off to town alone, young Caleb, whose mother died during childbirth, is stricken with the fear that she has gone for good. But she returns with colored pencils to illustrate for them the beauty of Maine, and to explain that, though she misses her home, "the truth of it is I would miss you more." The tale gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.
The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin. A modern fairy tale that is sure to delight listeners of all ages. Already read this one? Try another book by this author. Kate DiCamillo is a favorite author of kids and children's librarians alike!
The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when they discover that a ten-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older. The story is historical fiction taking place in the 1880s blended with fantasy. Check out the Reading Guide on Scholastic's website for some good questions to ask your kids after you've finished.
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
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.
(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,
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.
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!
(l-r) Barbara Thomas, Rosemary Harris,
Jennifer Dayton, and Erica Bess
A few of us from Darien Library recently gathered with others from other area libraries and attended a Programming
Roundtable discussion at Fairfield Library. We love the comfortable back-and-forth of the Roundtable and the sharing of ideas; it's such a valuable experience. One of the panelists, coincidentally, was Rosemary Harris, who will be one of the speakers here on July 9th at 7 p.m. It'll be the first of our "Meet the Author" special events -- part of our Adult Summer Reading Program.
Rosemary talked about her personal efforts in promoting her well-received book, Pushing Up Daisies (now in its second printing(!)), her advertising background, and her foray into writing. So, since we were already excited about the upcoming program, now after meeting Rosemary and hearing her speak, we really can't wait! (Remember...it's Wednesday, July 9th at 7 p.m.)
The "Meet the Author" event will also feature fellow mystery writer Jane Cleland. This is going to be such fun! It's on my calendar -- you'll want to put it on yours.
If you are one of the many patrons who devour books on politics, the press, deception and the media you may want to check out the following titles which may sate your appetite while you wait for Scott McClellan’s What Happened: Inside the Bush White House.
Truth and Duty: The Press, The President and the Privilege of Power by Mary Mapes
Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it has Failed the Public by Helen Thomas
Taking Heat: The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House by Ari Fleischer
War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death by Norman Solomon
Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources by Norman Pearlstine
These titles and popular books on the Bush presidency will be on display in the library.