Hooray! The official start of summer is less than a week away! What a wonderful time of year to immerse yourself in a great book while taking a real or virtual road trip. As the world slowly reopens, we can savor the warmer weather, reunite with friends and family, and have some fun in the great outdoors. No matter if you are traveling far or staying close to home, you are invited to join Darien Library’s Literary Road Trip, our Summer Reading program, which begins on Monday, June 21st. This year’s program brings you a road trip-themed reading challenge, special events, and amazing prizes. Pick up your Literary Road Trip entry card at the Welcome Desk or play online to win some great prizes!
AAnd Pride is here! During the month of June, the LGBTQ+ community across the country celebrates with variety of events. While we won’t be able to gather at the Pride in the Park this year, we continue to share our support of the LGBTQ+ community and understanding of the need for community during this isolating year. The Library continues to support Pride month values of togetherness, diversity, equity, and belonging. We are now open seven days a week and welcome everyone! Delve into one of these wonderful selections to honor Pride month.
With the Library now back to normal hours, we look forward to seeing you in person soon! Let’s see what our staff is reading and don't forget to check out all of the new books coming out in June.
“I was born to be a wanderer.” This bold yet simple statement sets the tone for Maggie Shipstead’s epic novel, Great Circle. The book tells the story of Marion Graves, a female aviator who mysteriously disappeared while on a flight to Antarctica.
Marion Graves’ life was not easy. As an infant, she and her brother were among the few survivors of an ocean liner that sunk while traveling to America from Europe. Subsequently, Marion was sent to live with a neglectful uncle in rural Montana. A chance encounter with a barnstormer performance pilot so inspired Marion that she determined aviation was her destiny. But being a female in the early part of the 20th century, she would have to claw and fight for her right to fly. And oh, did she soar! Marion gained a reputation as a daring WWII air transport pilot and continued to push boundaries until her plane disappeared while she attempted to fly over the North and South Poles.
Fast forward a century later and Marion’s life is still legendary. So much so that Hollywood’s hottest (but most scandalous) actress, Hadley Baxter, has been cast to play Marion in a big movie blockbuster. Hadley, who has her own troubles, is seeking redemption. She is fascinated by Marion and begins to dig into her history, unlocking several deeply buried secrets. Ultimately, the two women’s stories intersect to a glorious and satisfying end.
All I can say is bravo, Maggie Shipstead! This novel is a feast for the senses. It is one of those rare books that not only has an unforgettable cast of characters, but is beautifully rich in detail and features a storyline that packs an emotional punch. You are in for an adventure with this one.
When Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club featured The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, I was so excited to check it out and boy, I was not disappointed! The story felt like it was straight out of Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel And Then There Were None. Sarah Pearse’s writing style easily allows the reader to picture being stranded in an isolated location after being hit with a deadly avalanche. Then the murders begin: first guests, then employees. The protagonist, Elin Warner, and her boyfriend are celebrating the engagement of her brother at a luxury resort in the mountains of Switzerland. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the resort was actually a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. It was felt that the cold mountain air was a perfect remedy for the patients.
Elin just so happens to be a detective and when the murders begin, she takes control of the situation and propels the narrative. I loved the way the author interspersed the sanatorium’s medical history from the late 1800s to the present into the storyline. I won’t say much more about where the narrative is going as it would give up too much of the plot.
This is Sarah Pearse's debut novel and truly is a fantastic, old fashioned "who done it.” It’s the type of book you hate to finish!
The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant tells the fascinating story of two separate worlds within one eccentric town. Natchez, Mississippi is a place where prominent white women lead an annual Confederate pageantry and Garden Club tours of the antebellum mansions alongside the darker history of the town, which was the site of the second largest slave auction market in the country.
Welcomed with all the finest hospitality of the Old South, Grant gets to fraternize with an eclectic group of local characters who offer insight into their lives and the history of the town. He quickly learns that during the explosion of the cotton industry, Natchez had the largest collection of millionaires, and in present day, the remaining matriarchal society continues to be delighted to dress up in hoopskirts as they showcase their mansions to the public each year. These ladies are also staunch supporters of the annual Confederate pageant, as well as being the elected members of the prestigious Garden Clubs that take pride in promoting the ostentatious mansion tours. The flip side of the story is that the slaves who were traded like livestock in Natchez were invaluable in generating the cotton that resulted in the wealth of the town. Grant follows the story of a West African Prince, Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, who was sold into slavery and arrived at the Fork in the Road, the auction marketplace in Natchez. The book is a fascinating insight into life in the old antebellum south and Grant tells the story with humor and candor as he discovers willing survivors prepared to share their knowledge of the town and its history. This is an insightful and eye-opening read that I encourage you to read this summer.
The Other Black Girl by Zaykara Dalila Harris is refreshing blend of social commentary with a touch of suspense. Nella Rogers, the first Black woman hired at a prestigious Manhattan publishing house, aspires to be an editor. Initially, Nella is delighted when the firm hires another Black editorial assistant. However, when anonymous threatening notes start appearing on her desk, Nella’s suspect list grows. Should it include this newest hire who has quickly cozied her way into the higher-ups at the publishing house? The author’s writing is engaging while placing the reader in Nella’s thoughts and concerns. This is a page-turner filled with thought-provoking commentary on women, especially Black women, in the field of publishing. An energizing summer read for all!
If you are looking to be swept away to a tropical island, then Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hildebrand is for you. But is paradise really paradise? Set on the Caribbean island of St. John, this page-turner follows the relationships of island locals who have gotten mixed up with tourists, plus has the added bonus of a high stakes FBI investigation. It is the perfect read for your porch or pool at this time of year! If you’re looking for more, Troubles in Paradise is actually the third and final book of a 3-part series, but it can also be read on its own.
There are many things to celebrate in June and here are just a few:
Juneteenth, a holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States, is celebrated on the nineteenth of June. This holiday is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. It was on this day in 1865 (two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation) that Union soldiers announced in Galveston, Texas that the war had ended and that all enslaved people were free. Learn more about this important day in history.
In 1909 Sonora Smart Dodd petitioned her local government to make Father’s Day a national holiday to honor her single father who raised six children. The next year her state, Washington, observed Father’s Day on June 19th. More and more states began to recognize it and finally, in 1972, it was declared a national holiday. We celebrate this holiday on the third Sunday in June which falls on the 20th this year. Enjoy this video of some super dads!
It is officially summer in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun is at its most northern point in the sky. This year, the summer solstice is on Sunday, June 20th at 11:32 p.m. EDT. What better way to welcome summer than to listen to Budapest Strings play Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 2 in G Minor (Summer), from his musical composition The Four Seasons.