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Sunday, September 16th at 3 p.m.

Author and gardening expert Tovah Martin tells us our gardens could be so fulfilling, if we plugged in. Created to coincide with the publication of Martin’s latest book, The Garden in Every Sense and Season, this lecture explores the garden on all levels. Learn to garden with eyes wide open, ears to the ground, and hands outstretched. Tailored to the current season to make the experience dynamic, this lecture will lead attendees through an odyssey of exploration to awaken the senses and arouse their abilities of perception. Sharing advice and ideas to deeply enhance the gardening experience while also incorporating a “Smellathon” to help get nostrils in gear, this lecture is beautiful and fun as well as highly practical.

An accredited Organic Land Care Professional through NOFA, Tovah gardens fanatically and organically both indoors and throughout her seven-acre Connecticut garden. People, Places, Plants magazine called her “one of the top 10 most influential educators in gardening” and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored her with its Gold Medal “for extraordinary service to horticulture, especially greenhouses and indoor plants.” Martin has written more than a dozen gardening books and served as garden editor for Victoria Magazine. In addition, her articles appear in a broad range of magazines and periodicals. She is a repeat guest on the CBS Sunday Early Show. She also teaches houseplant cultivation to Master Gardeners and lectures extensively throughout the country.

Copies of The Garden In Every Sense and Season will be available for purchase and signing.

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Thursday, September 13th at 7 p.m.

The Essex Library is honored to welcome back James Benn in celebration of the release of his 13th Billy Boyle mystery, Solemn Graves.

In Benn’s latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery, US Army detective Billy Boyle is called to investigate a mysterious murder in a Normandy farmhouse that threatens Allied operations.

July, 1944, a full month after D-Day. Billy, Kaz, and Big Mike are assigned to investigate a murder close to the front lines in Normandy. An American officer has been found dead in a manor house serving as an advance headquarters outside the town of Trévières. Major Jerome was far from his own unit, arrived unexpectedly, and was murdered in the dark of night.

Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

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David Handler will appear for an author talk for the first time at the Essex Library on  Saturday, September 16th at 4 p.m.!

We are honored to host Edgar and American Mystery Award-winning author David Handler, who will discuss his latest book, The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes. The novel was published recently by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. The book is a madcap mystery about an eccentric family of influential artists, and how Hollywood’s obsession with the spotlight can sometimes turn deadly—full of delicious LA folklore and 90s nostalgia. This is the ninth entry in the Hoagy and Lulu mystery series that Harlan Coben calls “One of my all-time favorite series! …David Handler is so good at writing one smart, funny page-turner after another that he makes it look easy.” Handler has also written eleven novels in the bestselling Berger & Mitry series. He lives in a 230-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the event with thanks to R. J. Julia for their help.

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Monday, March 6th at 5 p.m.

From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through ten legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6th at 5 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered midcentury, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s. Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Read the review of the book by Tejal Rao in The New York Times here.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for eighteen years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

robertwyssThursday, January 19, 2017 at 7 p.m.

David Brower (1912–2000) was a central figure in the modern environmental movement. His leadership, vision, and elegant conception of the wilderness forever changed how we approach nature. In many ways, he was a twentieth-century Thoreau. Brower transformed the Sierra Club into a national force that challenged and stopped federally sponsored projects that would have dammed the Grand Canyon and destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of our nation’s wilderness. To admirers, he was tireless, passionate, visionary, and unyielding. To opponents and even some supporters, he was contentious and polarizing.

As a young man growing up in Berkeley, California, Brower proved himself a fearless climber of the Sierra Nevada’s dangerous peaks. After serving in the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II, he became executive director of the Sierra Club. This uncompromising biography explores Brower’s role as steward of the modern environmental movement. His passionate advocacy destroyed lifelong friendships and, at times, threatened his goals. Yet his achievements remain some of the most important triumphs of the conservation movement. What emerges from this unique portrait is a rich and robust profile of a leader who took up the work of John Muir and, along with Rachel Carson, made environmentalism the cause of our time.

Robert Wyss is associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut and a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Yankee, and the Providence Journal. He is the author of Covering the Environment: How Journalists Work the Green Beat (2007).

This program is free and open to the public.

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Co-Sponsored by the Essex Land Trust

Wednesday, October 26th at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St., Centerbrook

We’re honored to both partner with the Essex Land trust and welcome author Richard Conniff whose latest book is The House Of lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and The Story of Life on Earth, (Yale, 2016). Conniff is a National Magazine Award-winning writer for Smithsonian, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and other publications, and a past Guggenheim Fellow. His other books include: The Species Seekers; Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time; The Natural History of the Rich; and The Ape in the Corner Office. He has been a frequent commentator on NPR’s Marketplace, and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He has written and presented television shows for the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC, among others.

Among the many comments praising House Of Lost Worlds: “What a rich history this book tells, and with such enthusiasm, humor, and attention to the oddest details! Richard Conniff makes you want to dive into the collections that have been accumulating for 150 years at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, gathered with loving scholarly attention, transforming our knowledge of the natural world and the human race.”-Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Copies of The House of Lost Worlds will be available for purchase and signing. Coincidentally, October 26 is the 150th anniversary of the Peabody Museum. There will be a small celebration with refreshments.

For a preview of Wednesday’s fun, here’s a link to an episode of Colin McEnroe’s Science Hour on WNPR with Richard Conniff talking about the history of paleontology: http://wnpr.org/post/live-tape-peabody-0

 

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Thursday, September 29th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library

We’re honored to welcome back Jim Benn in celebration of the release of his 11th Billy Boyle mystery that Lee Child declares “is a must-read series.” Publishers Weekly says of Blue Madonna: “The suspenseful story line, set on the eve of the Normandy invasion in 1944, will keep readers turning the pages… Benn movingly depicts Nazi cruelties that Boyle and his comrades witness.” Attendees will hear about fascinating details from the real history in the book’s plotlines and more about the upcoming books in the Billy Boyle series.

Benn, a resident of Hadlyme, CT, worked in the library and information technology field for more than thirty-five years before he started writing full-time. One lesson he says that’s helped him greatly as an author is a quote from Oscar Wilde: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to a chair.” Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

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Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m. to be held at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. Centerbrook

Novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist, Christopher Buckley, whose books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages will chat with former New York Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus about his latest novel, The Relic Master. Buckley has worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over 70 cities around the world. The Seattle Times has called Christopher Buckley “America’s greatest living political satirist.” Christian Science Monitor says Buckley “is the Nation’s best humor novelist.” Tom Wolfe says Buckley’s “one of the funniest writers in the English language.” He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. Sam Tanenhaus is currently writing a biography of Christopher Buckley’s father, William F. Buckley, Jr. Seating is limited, please call the Library to register.

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5 Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. March 17, 24, 31, April 7 & 14

We’re very honored to welcome back Prof. Timlin; his seminars have been unanimous crowd pleasers. This seminar will explore the poetry of the 19th century’s two greatest American poets. Together, Whitman and Dickinson created an original American poetic tradition as distinct from Britain and Europe’s traditions. They are two of the most remarkably original poets whose influence still resonates deeply with today’s poets around the world.

3 More Quick-Read Titles

December 23, 2015

You can read any of these in an evening, or less. They’ll stick in your memory for a long time though.

Suggested by Librarian Ann Thompson:

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The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
A beautifully-written novella about the pleasure of reading with Bennett’s inimitable manner of sending up both royalty and commoners but especially commoners around royalty.

The End Of The Alphabet by C. S. Richardson
What would you do if you had only a month to live and you were deeply, hopelessly, in love with your spouse? Sorry, cue the tissue box.

Three Men In A Boat: to say nothing of the dog by Jerome K. Jerome
A classic of English humor unscathed by time.