Mike Urban author pic

Mike Urban

Thursday, August 10 at 7 p.m.
Ask any seafood lover and they’ll tell you that there is nothing like New England fish and shellfish, especially the lobsters. Moreover, the seafood from New England makes up the basis for one of the region’s authentic cuisines. Think of chowder, lobster rolls, and fried clams. Still need to get your summer seafood fix? Join us to hear local author Mike Urban talk about the best clam shacks and lobster shacks on New England’s coast from Connecticut to the Canadian border. His illustrated talk will be followed by a book signing. Copies of his books will be available for purchase at the event. This event is free and open to the public.

Mike Urban is an award-winning food and travel writer and a regular contributor to Yankee Magazine. He is the author of four books: Lobster Shacks, Clam Shacks, The New England Seafood Markets Cookbook, and The New England Diner Cookbook. He lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He and his wife have four grown children.

Lobster Shacks cover copy

tenrestaurants
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.

whenparissizzled

Saturday, February 4th at 1:30 p.m.

When Paris Sizzled vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, les Annees folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them one that reverberated with the hard metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz. Mary McAuliffe traces a decade that saw seismic change on almost every front, from art and architecture to music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and, most notably, behavior. The epicenter of all this creativity, as well as of the era s good times, was Montparnasse, where impoverished artists and writers found colleagues and cafes, and tourists discovered the Paris of their dreams. Major figures on the Paris scene such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Proust continued to hold sway, while others now came to prominence including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, as well as Andre Citroen, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, and the irrepressible Kiki of Montparnasse. Paris of the 1920s unquestionably sizzled. Yet rather than being a decade of unmitigated bliss, les Annees folles also saw an undercurrent of despair as well as the rise of ruthless organizations of the extreme right, aimed at annihilating whatever threatened tradition and order a struggle that would escalate in the years ahead.

We’ll welcome When Paris Sizzled author Mary McAuliffe to the Essex Library on Saturday, February 4th at 1:30 p.m. She’ll describe the unique time in Paris when the famously creative and creatively famous were at their peak of activity. If you enjoyed Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, you’ll want to hear all the tales from this fabulous time. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase & signing.

Friday, January 20th at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects 67 Main St. Centerbrook
ysoastamp

2016 marked the centennial anniversary of the Yale School of Architecture. In recognition of this occasion, Jimmy Stamp, co-author with former YSOA Dean Robert A.M. Stern of the book Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale (Yale Press, 2016) will trace the development of the School’s pedagogy alongside a critical overview of the succession of buildings designed to house Yale’s architecture program. Stamp will draw parallels between historic moments in Yale’s history and things that have happened more recently.

Jimmy Stamp is a writer at Robert . M. Stern Architects whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Smithsonian, and the Journal of Architecture Education.

This program is free and open to the public.

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.

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:

uncommonreaderendofthealphabetthreemeninaboat

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.

It’s a short work week at the paying job, for most of us, so we thought we’d throw out suggestions for some great quick reads because we know you’re busy too. Essex Library Staff were challenged to come up with 3 books that can be enjoyed when you don’t have time for a longer novel.

Librarian Emily Boucher’s suggestions:

84charingwewereliarsoursouls

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff:
It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm, charming, feisty love affair.

We Were Liars: E Lockhart:
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf:
A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

Authors As Secret Santas

December 17, 2014

At the risk of appearing to endorse Penguin Books UK, we want to pass along a very amusing video they made of a secret santa event they held amongst some of their authors. It is widely held that books make the best gifts!

Wednesday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library
Given short shrift or overlooked by many historians, the Hampton Roads Conference of 1865 was a crucial turning point in the War Between the States. In his well written and highly documented book, James B. Conroy describes in fascinating detail what happened when leaders from both sides came together to try to end the hostilities. Click here to reserve a copy of this book.

There really is something for everyone in the forthcoming fiction in February; books by for your favorite authors and terrific debuts too. Love stories, naturally, appear in the month of Valentines accompanied by medical, espionage, and crime thrillers. Ghost stories, historical fiction, fantasy and a wee bit of science fiction round out the group. Click on the title to place a hold–some of the well-known names already have holds queues.

After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
Working a 26-year-old cold case involving the murder of a convicted felon’s mistress, retired Baltimore detective Roberto Sanchez becomes tangled up in a web of bitterness, jealousy, and greed that spans 30 years and connects five women whose lives will never be the same once the truth is exposed.

Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore
From the author of Birds In America…Here are people beset, burdened, buoyed; protected by raising teenage children; dating after divorce; facing the serious illness of a longtime friend; setting forth on a romantic assignation abroad, having it interrupted mid-trip, and coming to understand the larger ramifications and the impossibility of the connection . . . stories that show people coping with large dislocation in their lives, with risking a new path to answer the desire to be in relation–to someone.

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
A latest collaboration by the best-selling author of the Stephanie Plum series and the best-selling author of the Monk series finds FBI agent Kate O’Hare once again forced to covertly team up with brilliant con man Nicholas Fox to take down a big-league criminal.

The Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case. But once he arrives Harry discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder.

Concealed In Death by J D Robb
When her husband discovers evidence of 12 murders while demolishing a former New York shelter for troubled teens, Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks down the stories of each victim only to realize that they are connected by someone Eve knows.

The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berensen
Unable to prevent the assassination of a CIA station chief by Iranian hostiles who are allegedly plotting a nuclear attack on the United States, John Wells goes undercover to discern the truth on an assignment that takes him from Guatemala and Thailand to Hong Kong and Istanbul.

The Daring Ladies Of Lowell by Kate Alcott
Moving to the mill city of Lowell in 1832 to escape farm life, young Alice is disillusioned by the local factory’s harsh working conditions and struggles to advocate on their behalf while recklessly falling in love with the mill owner’s son, a situation that is complicated by a murder and sensational trial.

This Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash
After their mother dies unexpectedly, 12-year-old Easter and her 6-year-old sister Ruby are kidnapped by their errant father Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, while their court appointed guardian races against time to find them before a vengeful killer does.

The Free by Willy Vlautin
Severely wounded in the Iraq war, Leroy Kervin has lived in a group home for eight years. Frustrated by the simplest daily routines, he finds his existence has become unbearable. An act of desperation helps him disappear deep into his mind, into a world of romance and science fiction, danger and adventure where he is whole once again. Freddie McCall, the night man at Leroy’s group home, works two jobs yet still can’t make ends meet. He’s lost his wife and kids, and the house is next. Medical bills have buried him in debt, a situation that propels him to consider a lucrative–and dangerous–proposition. Pauline Hawkins, a nurse, cares for the sick and wounded, including Leroy. She also looks after her mentally ill elderly father. Yet she remains emotionally removed, until she meets a young runaway who touches something deep and unexpected inside her.

The Ghost Of The Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found. This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late-nineteenth-century literary society. While on a voyage to Africa, a rather hard-up and unproven young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle hears of the Mary Celeste and decides to write an outlandish short story about what took place. This story causes quite a sensation back in the United States, particularly between sought-after Philadelphia spiritualist medium Violet Petra and a rational-minded journalist named Phoebe Grant, who is seeking to expose Petra as a fraud.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson
When Liana Dector, a woman who is possibly a cold-blooded killer wanted by the police, storms into his favorite Boston tavern demanding his help, George Foss, unable to say “no” to his first love, is drawn into a world of murder, betrayal and secrets from which there is no escape.

The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick
When his mother dies, 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil, who doesn’t know how to be on his own, discovers a letter in his mother’s underwear drawer that causes him to write a series of highly intimate letters to actor Richard Gere, while embarking on a quest to find out where he belongs.

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Greene
Found mentally altered in Central Park, the headmaster of an elite boarding school imparts a story that is shaped by complicated memories, the evolution of a loving relationship and a tragedy he cannot comprehend. By the award-winning author of Envious Moon.

I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira
The best-selling author of My Name is Mary Sutter presents a tale inspired by the romance between Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas that finds young Mary struggling with self-doubt after being rejected by the Paris Salon before entering into a tempestuous relationship with a fellow artist.

Killer by Jonathan Kellerman
Disregarding a death threat from an irate doctor who has been denied custody of a baby because of his court report, psychologist Alex Delaware is shocked to learn that a hit has been taken out on him, that the doctor has been found murdered and that the baby has been kidnapped. By the best-selling author of Guilt.

Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li
A tale set in America and China follows the experiences of three people who in their youths were involved in a mysterious accident that resulted in a friend’s fatal poisoning and who years later are haunted by the possibility that one of them actually committed a murder. By the award-winning author of The Vagrants.

The King’s Marauder by Dewey Lambdin
Ordered to conduct raids along the Spanish coast to address growing discontent in the spring of 1807, Captain Lewrie finds the mission complicated by an incompetent officer, a lurking Secret Branch agent and violent adversaries.

The Mangle Street Murders by Martin Kasasian
After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country’s most famous private detective.It is 1882 and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: a young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect. The victim’s mother is convinced of her son-in-law’s innocence, and March is so touched by her pleas she offers to cover Sidney’s fee herself.The investigations lead the pair to the darkest alleys of the East End: every twist leads Sidney Grice to think his client is guilty; but March is convinced that he is innocent.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars by a dust storm that compromised his space suit and forced his crew to leave him behind, astronaut Watney struggles to survive in spite of minimal supplies and harsh environmental challenges that test his ingenuity in unique ways.

Moving Target by Judith Jance
B. Simpson teams up with Sister Anselm to investigate a suspicious accident that has left a teen prison inmate severely burned, while in England, Ali Reynolds investigates the decades-old murder of Leland’s father. By the best-selling author of the J. P. Beaumont series.

The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
The daughter of a Coney Island boardwalk curiosities museum’s front man pursues an impassioned love affair with a Russian immigrant photographer who after fleeing his Lower East Side Orthodox community has captured poignant images of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. By the best-selling author of Here on Earth.

Private L.A. by James Patterson
When Hollywood’s biggest superstar couple disappears without a word from their ranch, private investigator Jack Morgan confronts dangerous secrets to expose an underworld of desperation and deception. Murder is only the opening scene.

The Red Road by Denise Mina
Preparing to testify against a violent arms dealer, police detective Alex Morrow finds her efforts challenged by a privileged Scottish lawyer’s money laundering scheme and a vengeful woman prisoner. By the award-winning author of The End of the Wasp Season.

RedDevil 4 by Eric Leuthardt
A debut novel based on cutting-edge research follows the efforts of an obsessed neurosurgeon who is forced to set aside his personal and professional goals to help a technophobic detective investigate a string of brutal killings being committed by prominent citizens with no history of violence.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz
Returning 13 years after an embarrassing incident from her teens to the hometown of her beloved late aunt, forensic genealogist Lucy Sheridan makes shocking discoveries about her aunt’s death, the disappearance of a cold-blooded local and an attractive former cop. By the best-selling author of Dream Eyes.

Somerset by Leila Meacham
Follows the lives of two antebellum southerners, Silas Toliver and his best friend Jeremy Warwick, as they head into a new territory known as “Texas” in search of black gold in this prequel to the best-selling novel Roses.

The Swan Gondola by Timothy Shaffert
Feeling apprehensive about how the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair will change him and his Wild West city, ventriloquist and con man Ferret Skerritt falls in love with traveling actress Cecily, who discounts their relationship until the night they share a fateful gondola ride. By the author of The Coffins of Little Hope.

That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
A lonely British woman strikes up a pen pal friendship with a successful American author and they offer each other help and support with their relationship dramas before agreeing to finally meet up in Paris. From the author of The View From Here.

Thirty Girls by Susan Minot
Forced to witness and commit unspeakable atrocities after being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan teen Esther struggles to survive and escape before crossing paths with Jane, an American journalist who has traveled to Africa in the hopes of advocating on behalf of children like Esther. By the award-winning author of Evening.

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell
A tale inspired by the romance between genius composer Wolfgang Mozart and prodigy soprano Anna Storace follows her transformation from an ambitious and carefree girl to a passionate young woman facing the dilemmas of her choices in controlling 18th-century Vienna. A first novel.

Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke
When a brutal murder in Norway bears close resemblance to one in Virginia, two detectives half a world away investigate these similar murder cases and discover a link to The Book of John, a journal bound in human skin written by a serial killer back in 1529 Norway.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Coming of age in an old farmhouse, 19-year-old Ruthie begins a search for her agoraphobic mother and discovers the century-old diary of the farmhouse’s long-ago resident, a grieving mother who died under mysterious circumstances. By the best-selling author of Island of Lost Girls.

The Wives Of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit
An emotionally charged debut told in the collective voices of the wives of the team who created the atom bomb traces their struggles to adapt and raise children in a rugged military town where everything their husbands are doing is an intense secret.

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