Another entire season has already slipped by in these unusual times. Autumn officially began on September 22nd, the autumnal equinox, when day and night were each about 12 hours long. But before the chill of winter comes, there’s still time to enjoy the beautiful weather and changing leaves—especially as the summer’s prolonged warm temperatures are predicted to delay peak fall foliage. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “In most places, the foliage will reach its peak or near-peak color by mid-October.” With many day trips close to Fairfield County, you don’t have far to go to enjoy autumn’s glories. Connecticut Office of Tourism offers a time-sensitive guide to help you pinpoint the best views: Connecticut's Foliage Finder: Week-by-Week Guide and you can find some beautiful driving routes here: Connecticut's Top Fall Foliage Drives.
Autumn is also a good time to go birdwatching and to observe birds migrating south for the winter. If you head east from Darien up the coast, in about an hour you will arrive at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Connecticut. Not only is there a two-mile beach to enjoy but there are also 600 acres of tidal marsh and 100 acres of forest. According to the Audubon Society, “Hammonasset is an important migratory stopover point for land birds, shorebirds, and raptors.”
After all that exercise, what better way to relax than by reading a wonderful book? Here are some suggestions from our staff and don't forget to check out the October New Releases booklist for even more reading inspiration.
When are we finally going to get to a point where it isn’t okay to excuse bad behavior by saying “boys will be boys”? In Erica Katz’ latest novel, The Boys Club, the author addresses the cut-throat and competitive nature of working for a top-tier, global law firm. Her main character, Alex Vogel, is a Harvard law graduate. She is beyond excited at the prospect of working her way up the ladder to land a position with the firm’s highly coveted and lucrative M&A team. Alex is ready for long nights, hard work, and competitive colleagues. What she doesn’t realize is that she will need to sacrifice her dignity, her self-respect, and her personal relationships to gain entry into what is essentially an elite boys club.
This novel is an entertaining page-turner, but I am not going to lie, it also made me angry to think about what women must sacrifice to be considered as equals in corporate environments. I personally cannot wait to ask Erica Katz about her research on October 22nd when Darien Library will be hosting a special online evening with her. I hope to see everyone there! In the meantime, I highly recommend you check out The Boys Club.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is not the type of book I generally read but I am truly happy I downloaded this e-Audiobook. Twenty-something Noemi is living her best life, enjoying parties and romances in glamorous 1950's Mexico City. Noemi's father receives a disturbing letter from his niece, Catalina, who has recently married an Englishman, Virgil Doyle. She and her new husband live in the Mexican countryside in a rambling house known as High Place. In Catalina's letter, she claims she is hearing and seeing strange things and needs to be rescued. Noemi's father suggests that she take some time from her busy social life and go to Catalina at High Place. Noemi has missed her cousin since she married and moved away, and agrees to go. As is typical in a gothic novel, the house, High Place, is large, gloomy, and run down. At Noemi's knock, the door is opened by a strange, silent servant. There is no electricity in the home; Virgil Doyle and his extended family, who also live there, like it dark, very dark. At first, Noemi is not allowed to visit her cousin but when she finally does, she quickly realizes something is amiss. The Doyle family has many secrets and they are upset that Noemi has come to Catalina’s aid. Noemi will quickly learn that there are forces working against her rescue attempts; escape back to Mexico City will not be easy. This book was creepy, scary, and absorbing. As I listened, the lyrics from The Addams Family show of my youth popped into my head, with just one change: "They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky, the Doyle Family." I found Mexican Gothic to be a truly great gothic horror novel.
A glimpse into the rarefied air of the extreme privilege of old New York society and what actually goes on behind closed doors, Filthy Beasts by Kirkland Hamill is a raw, honest, and at times painfully hilarious memoir. Hamill tells the complex story of his early life, a dysfunctional whirlwind revolving around his stunningly beautiful, alcoholic mother, Wendy. Set in the tony enclaves of New York and Bermuda, his compelling story will have you laughing on one page and crying on the next. If you can tuck just one book into your bag this month, this should be it!
The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer is a story of crime, obsession, and extraordinary beauty, all told against the international backdrop of Patagonia, the Arctic circle, Dubai, and Zimbabwe. As a child in Africa, young Jeffrey Lendrum takes to birding with unusual talent and a special aptitude for finding birds in their natural habitat. Twenty years later, having discovered the international market for falcon eggs, Lendrum spends years performing reason-defying feats of physical prowess in order to rob nests of their highly-illegal and coveted treasure.
Falconry, over 4000 years old and known as the ‘Sport of Kings’, remains extremely popular in certain select circles. And within these circles, racing has its own enthusiasts in a still smaller—but extraordinarily wealthy—set. The two most popular raptors raced in the Middle East are the red tailed hawk and the peregrine falcon. A single egg from these birds can fetch up to half a million dollars. Hammer brings us along on a fast-paced journey following Detective Andy McWilliam, who heads the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, as he tracks Lendrum around the world on his quest to locate, pilfer, and sell these highly sought after eggs.
Striking a fine balance between mystery and suspense, and peopled with remarkable characters, The Falcon Thief will introduce you to a heretofore unknown world that defies belief. It’s a great tale that truly defines that old adage "stranger than fiction"!
Rob Harris’ The Trouble with Love in the Movies is an engaging memoir, written with humor and sensitivity that takes readers into the whirlwind world of filmmaking. The title is somewhat ambiguous since it doesn’t refer to on-screen romances. Rather, Harris presents a sharp and honest account of film production, laying bare all the ups and downs and heartbreaks inherent in this creative field. Along with behind-the-scenes stories of some of Hollywood’s biggest pictures, the author also explores the personal challenges he’s faced with his marriage, family, divorce, and a love affair.
A film publicist is consumed with difficulties, opportunities, 12-hour days, far from home, months at a time…all to bring a movie to you! Harris reveals the struggles with blockbuster films like “Troy,” starring Brad Pitt. It took the crew three hot months to build the city of Troy on the island of Malta. Harris also shares his trials in filming “Syriana,” a political thriller with George Clooney and Matt Damon, as well as “Blood Diamond” with Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter was filmed in South Africa where Harris began a passionate love affair with a free-spirited journalist.
The next time Leo and Harris collaborated was here in Darien! “Revolutionary Road,” a romantic drama starring the beautiful Kate Winslet. Be with us for the 2021 Academy Awards when Rob Harris will join us for a virtual program on the 93rd Oscars. More information to follow.
October's event calendar has two very special library programs, along with our monthly book discussions and author talks this month.
list text hereYou won’t want to miss our Novel Tea Fundraiser! We are extremely pleased to present a special evening with Lara Prescott, the bestselling author of The Secrets We Kept on Wednesday, October 28th at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online.
And this is only a selection of the events happening this month. Please take a moment to explore our event calendar for all of the listings.
We are also excited to announce that the Library is now open on Saturday for express services from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. For more details please see our reopening plans.