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.

wantaposterFriday, September 23 at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook
What do a former Vermont residence of a Phish band member, a 96-foot custom motor yacht, a loft inspired by the relationship between Judaic Mysticism and Quantum Mechanics, law offices using strategies similar to those of architect/artist Gordon Matta-Clark (with a bit of the “Terminator” thrown in) and a penthouse combination in “one of the 10 most haunted buildings in New York” have in common?  The answer is New York-based architect Stephen Wanta, who will begin the ninth year of the Library’s Architecture Lecture Series on Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. This program is free and open to all. There is parking behind the office and also at Spencer’s Corner.

Among Mr. Wanta’s commercial projects are film and sound production facilities, restaurants, numerous private law offices, and showrooms and trade show exhibition booths for the home furnishings industry. The firm has also designed several museum stores, their pop-up locations and retail outlets. Mr. Wanta has designed and executed well over 100 residential projects with budgets from less than $100,000 to over $5 million in New York City, with a number of others across the country and in Europe.  The firm is just completing its second long-range motor yacht project; built in Xiamen China and commissioned in Florida.

Stephen Wanta received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 where he received the Reynolds Aluminum School Prize in 1979 and 1980 and The American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit. He has worked at the offices of Machado & Silvetti, Rafael Vinoly Architects, and at Peter Marino Architect and Associates. Mr. Wanta has taught and lectured at a number of schools, including Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560.










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.


Saturday, January 30th at 2 p.m. at the Essex Library

“Old Zeb,” “Song for Gale,” “Song for The Bowdoin,” John,” – just a few examples of the extensive song bag of some of the best ballads you will find in modern folk music. Larry Kaplan’s songs have been sung, performed, and recorded by many respected artists and audiences around the world—poignant stories in song, written in the truest folk tradition, honest, highly sing-able, and always memorable. A singer, instrumentalist, and recording artist in his own right, Larry will entertain attendees with a variety of ballads to brighten a January afternoon.

This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library to register: 860-767-1560.

SSUS“SS United States, Hallmark of Twentieth Century Design” with Chad Floyd, FAIA

Friday, January 29th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall
Chad Floyd will tell the story of the great ocean liner SS United States, designed by marine architect Francis Gibbs and interior designer Dorothy Marckwald.  He will show how this little-known pair reimagined ocean liners and invented a new Mid-Century aesthetic that married function with glamour and changed American design forever.

Chad FloydAn award-winning architect, Floyd has designed buildings nationwide for colleges and universities, independent schools, and civic and cultural entities. Signature projects include the Palmer Events Center in Austin, Texas; the Liberty Memorial in Virginia that honors those who lost their lives on 9/11; the Nessel Wing of the Norton Art Center in Florida; an expansion and renovation of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy Andover in  Massachusetts; and the Krieble Gallery at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

blackbearBlack bear sightings are increasing every year, even in Connecticut’s shoreline towns, as their preferred habitat expands as farmlands revert to forest. Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn will present an illustrated talk on Tuesday, January 26th at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library. This presentation will focus on the natural history of black bears in CT, an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, and current research efforts.  Colburn will also provide recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population especially as the recent warm weather has delayed hibernation.

Paul Colburn is a graduate of Master Wildlife Conservationist Program which is a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) adult education program that trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach, and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools, and the general public. Paul recently retired from a long and successful career in technology.  In addition to his work as a MWC he volunteers for the Red Cross, Wesleyan University Admissions, AARP, The Connecticut Sports Foundation, and A Place Called Hope (raptor recovery and rehab).  Paul holds a BA from Wesleyan University and served honorably in the United States Army.

This talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is recommended; please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

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:


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.

Alice Herz-Sommer, 106, at her flat in London
Monday, June 16th at 3:30 p.m
. at Essex Meadows’ Hamilton Hall Auditorium

As the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor, 109 year-old Alice Herz Sommer kept her striking optimism throughout her long and challenging life, as well as her love for music. The Academy-award winning short film about her experiences, The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life, was widely hailed as one of the year’s most uplifting and inspiring stories. The Essex Library, in conjunction with Essex Meadows, is proud to present a free screening of this wonderful film hosted by Ms. Mihae Lee. Lee, who is a world-renowned pianist and Artistic Director of the Essex Winter Series, will play some pieces by Chopin for the audience as well. Please plan to attend this special afternoon of music and film at Essex Meadows’ Hamilton Hall Auditorium, Monday June 16th at 3:30 p.m.. The program is free and open to all; Essex Meadows is at 30 Bokum Road in Essex.

Thursday, June 12th at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library
When Puritans Edward Whalley and William Goffe joined the paramilitary army against King Charles I in the English civil wars, they seized the chance to overthrow the tyrant. Under their battlefield leadership, the army trounced the Royalist forces and then cut off the King’s head. But when his son Charles II regained the throne, Whalley and Goffe were forced to flee to the New England colonies, where they struggled to stay one step ahead of those searching to arrest them. Forced to live as fugitives, these former major generals survived frontier adventures in seventeenth-century New England. Author Christopher Pagliuco reveals the all-but-forgotten stories of these Connecticut heroes in his book “The Great Escape of Edward Whalley and William Goffe.” Meet the author and hear his thrilling tale. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Touch a Truck LogoSaturday, June 14th

Start your engines; the Essex Library’s popular Touch A Truck Event roars into town on Saturday, June 14th to kick-start your summer. From 10 AM to 3 PM, Essex Town Hall parking lot will host a whole convoy of trucks, earth moving equipment, a school bus, bucket trucks, fire trucks, police cars, an ambulance, and more, for your kids to explore and enjoy. There will be live music, face painting and pretend tattoos, a children’s book sale, even a miniature railroad to ride on. Tickets will be available at the Essex Library and at the event; the price is $4 per person, or you can save money with a family pass for $12. Proceeds from this “fun-raiser” will go to support Library programs and services. This event is part of the Essex Library’s ongoing 125th Anniversary celebrations.