What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in October

Our Event Calendar is jam-packed in October, sign up for programs early to make sure you get a spot!

October Art Show

October 1 – 28. 2022

The October Art Show features the photographic works of Cheshire resident Albert Pascual. He has received top awards at several local and state competitions and has been showing and selling his images at juried art shows around Connecticut as well as on his website. View his photos in the Mary Baldwin Room until October 28.

Movie Matinees

Join us in the Library Loft for a movie on the big screen! No registration is required and movies begin at 1pm. Both movies this month are rated PG-13.

Good, Cheap, and Healthy Cooking Demo

Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Chef Nadine Nelson will show us how to eat well on $4 a day in this interactive cooking demo, based on recipes from the cookbook Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. Registration is required.

TAB: Teen Advisory Board (Grades 6-12)

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:45 – 4:45pm

The Teen Advisory Board is a group of teens in grades 6-12 who want to take an active part in helping the library and the community. Giveaways and snacks will be provided. Registration is required.

What does the TAB do?

  • Help run library programs.
  • Write book reviews.
  • Create social media content.
  • Recommend items for the library collection.

What’s in it for you?

  • Use your creativity to create fun programs.
  • Make your voice heard by sharing ideas with library community.
  • Make new friends.
  • Grow your leadership skills.
  • Earn community service hours.

Lights Out Connecticut: Help Save Our Migrating Birds

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Each fall and spring, millions of birds pass through Connecticut on their way to and from their summer nesting grounds. Most migratory birds travel at night, when temperatures are cooler and skies are less turbulent. However, artificial lights from buildings and other structures can attract and disorient birds, leading to fatal window collisions. The result is catastrophic: Almost 1 billion birds killed in the United States every year. Come find out more about how you can help millions of birds migrate safely through our state. Registration is required.

Open Art Studio

Fridays from 1-3pm

Bring your works in progress and supplies to this weekly drop-in art program. This is an opportunity to create in a collaborative environment with other artists. No formal instruction will be provided, but informal critiquing for those who want it is encouraged. Table covers will be provided. There is a sink in the room for basic cleanup (please do not bring turpentine).

Dodd Drop-Ins (Grades 7-8)

  • Tuesday October 11, 1-4pm
  • Thursday October 13, 1-4pm
  • Tuesday October 18, 1-4pm

All teens are welcome to hang out in the Mary Baldwin Room and enjoy socializing and snacks on early dismissal days for Dodd Middle School. Registration is not required.

Stonewall Speakers (Grades 6-12)

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 5:00 – 6:30pm

Stonewall Speakers is an all-volunteer speaker’s bureau comprised of members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Speakers will include two or more panelists and combine personal life stories with a question and answer session. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For teens in grades 6-12. Registration is required.

Bird Walk @ Brooksvale Park

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 9:30 – 11:00am

Grab your gear for an educational walk around Hamden’s Brooksvale Park. You’ll learn the basics of birdwatching and – with any luck – see some interesting avian species! Dress for outdoor activity and meet at the Sugar Shack. The library will provide binoculars and field guides to share, but feel free to bring your own. This even takes place at Brooksvale Park: 524 Brooksvale Ave, Hamden, CT 06518. Registration is required.

Adult Loft Knitters

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Come socialize, learn, and share your techniques with other knitters.  Experience the relaxing and calming effect of knitting. All levels of adult knitters are welcome. Please bring your own yarn and knitting needles (crocheters are also welcome!). This group meets monthly, please register in advance.

Cat Tales Writers Group

Thursday, October 12 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a monthly open writing group that can help answer your questions on writing, editing, grammar, and publishing. Read a selection of your work to the group for general constructive feedback, or discuss a book you’ve read that might help someone else. Registration is required.

The End of “The End of History”: Why Ukraine Matters

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join historian and Yale professor Dr. Marci Shore for an informational talk on Ukraine’s history, its relationship with Russia, and the ongoing war that began in February of this year. Registration is required.

Mixville Family Halloween Bash!

Friday, October 14, 2022, 5:00 – 8:30pm

The Cheshire Library, Artsplace and Cheshire Parks & Recreation Department are working together to bring you a fun-filled Halloween event! Bring your own pumpkin to turn into a Jack-O-Lantern and display on the Mixville hillside before you take it home (pre-registration required for this portion of the event). Pumpkins will be lit by 6:15pm. To add to the fun, Parks and Recreation are sponsoring a Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest from 5:30-6pm!  Bring your dog on a leash and in costume to the Mixville Halloween Bash to participate.  Dogs must be friendly with other dogs and up to date on all of their shots. The movie Monsters Inc will start at dusk. Bring a picnic dinner, your blankets, chairs and some bug spray! RAINDATE FOR THE PROGRAM AND MOVIE IS OCTOBER 21 AT 5:00PM.

Special Effects Makeup Workshop (Grades 6-12)

Monday, October 17, 2022, 4:00 – 5:30pm

Want to learn how to make your halloween makeup super scary? Decimated Designs will teach you how to transform into a creepy character! We’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of special effects makeup, hygiene, how to get started, and some tricks you can use to improve your costumes or makeup at home. For teens in grades 6-12 (no younger siblings, please). Registration is required.

Witches of Salem (ONLINE)

Monday, October 17, 2022, 6:30 – 7:40pm

In January of 1692, a strange illness seized control of five young girls living in Salem Village, a contentious and divided town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Events soon spiraled out of control with local divisions and a splintered colonial government feeding the frenzy.  Archivist Mickey DiCamillo unravels the events with archival documents from the period, and program participants will interact with transcripts from the 1692 interrogations of suspected witches. Registration is required for this online program.

Chopped! (Grades 4-9)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 4:00pm
Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 4:00pm

Join Food Explorers for a round of Chopped! You’ll split into teams and create a delicious recipe each week. Select from a limited pantry of ingredients, being mindful of which flavors and textures go together. When each team is done, you’ll taste test! Recipes will be nut free and vegetarian. Please register once to attend both classes.

Create Digital Music With Logic Pro X

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 7:00 – 8:00pm

This class will teach you how to record digital instruments, write songs and create beats using the software Logic Pro X.  You will get hands on experience learning the same methods that profession music producers use. After this class you will have the basic skills needed to create music at the library’s all new AV Studio. Registration required.

Caregiver Support Group

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 12:00 – 1:00pm

A support group for caregivers to share tips, strategies, challenges, and successes. Caregivers of all types are welcome, including spouses and adult children caring for relatives, caregivers to children, and professional caregivers. This group will meet both online and in-person, please register for the group you want to attend.

Home Recording Basics in Logic Pro

Monday, October 24, 2022, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Have you ever wanted to record an original song at home?  Or maybe you want to start a podcast but don’t know enough about the gear and software?   Then this class is for you.  Learn all the basics of home recordings to get the best quality for the lowest price. Registration required.

Living History: Lizzie Borden (ONLINE)

Monday, October 24, 2022, 7:00 – 8:10pm

Join us virtually via Zoom to see award-winning actress Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., as she brings to life Lizzie Borden, accused of the brutal hatchet murder of her father and stepmother in 1892. Hear Lizzie’s story come alive as she talks about her life growing up in Fall River, Massachusetts, her estrangement from her stepmother, and her troubled relationship with her father. Registration is required.

Know Your News: Become a Media Expert

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Not sure if a new source is fact or fake? Learn how to tell the difference in this hands-on workshop. You’ll learn tips and tricks for finding reliable and credible information in any format and get a chance to practice your new skills. Registration is required.

One Book, Two Readers – Teens Review “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that, and get their different takes on the same book. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reviewed by Anja J.

Hands down. All time. Favorite book. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this book. I had heard about it all over social media and a few people had recommended it to me. After reading, it was so clear that this book deserved, and lived up to, all the hype. The story starts by introducing an aspiring magazine writer named Monique, who is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to chronicle the scandalous life story of the infamous Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn makes a deal with Monique that she, and only she, will be the one to interview her and write about her. Evelyn starts with the very beginning of her career, including clawing her way out of her small life in Hell’s Kitchen. The rest of the story entails the insider details, good and bad, of how she climbed her way to the top and her journey there. This (obviously) included one of the things that she was most well known for, her seven husbands.

Taylor Jenkins Reid had truly outdone herself when she crafted Evelyn’s character. My love-hate (although mostly love) relationship with her had me dying to read just one more chapter. Evelyn’s determination, ambition, internal conflicts, and just overall complex personality made her such an intricate character where we never really knew what her next move would be. It was simply fascinating to read about her, her actions, her choices, and her unfiltered thoughts. Through this story, Reid depicts the life of Hollywood fame and the prices one pays to live such a luxurious, yet fraudulent, life. Although the the public and newspapers says one thing, reality is a completely different thing.

The plot quite literally sent me on adrenaline highs of rollercoasters. The story had me thinking one thing, and then a different thing the next chapter. Then it had taken a gigantic turn that I never saw coming. The twists that kept on coming just kept on getting better every time, especially toward the end, where it is revealed why Evelyn was so persistent on only having Monique write her biography. The way their lives crossed paths was totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book to everyone (high school and up), it is written beautifully and eloquently and nearly had me in tears multiple times.

5 stars.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Reviewed by Ella K.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid that you have likely heard of if you are a watcher of BookTok. The book has attracted a lot of attention recently and that attention is well deserved. I read this book because I heard from one of my friends who likes to read that it was worth it to look into. Despite not knowing anything about the book or its plot line, I loved this book and was hooked immediately.

The book follows Monique Grant, a journalist who is not very famous, but was hired to work for a relatively famous publisher. She is told by that publisher that Evelyn Hugo wants her for an interview about a charity gala that she is throwing to raise money, and that she would only do the interview if it was Monique who was sent over, no one else. When Monique goes to talk to Evelyn, she reveals that it is not just an interview. Evelyn wanted Monique to write her exclusive biography. Evelyn had been a very private person up to this point, so the opportunity for an exclusive tell-all would work wonders for Monique’s career. Like the title suggests, Evelyn has had seven husbands, but she has not revealed the causes for her divorces.

This book is filled with intrigue and suspense. The story telling is impeccable and despite the sheer amount of information that Evelyn has to convey, the author does well at making the story clear and not confusing. Add that to a surprising twist near the end of the book and you have a book well worth reading for teen readers who love any genre. There are some mature themes in this book and I would advise younger readers to wait to read this book.

5 stars

Short Stuff

I’d like to read more, but I don’t have time to read a long, involved story.

There’s a solution for that. It’s called a short story.

 Short stories are those that can be read in under an hour – often not more than 5,000 words (beyond 7,500 is called a novella, and they are often published alone in little books, like Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption,  J.A. Jance’s The Old Blue Line, or Shirley Goodness and Mercy by Debbie Macomber) and they are often grouped together in anthology volumes, anthology meaning, literally, a collection of stories, the same way a CD album is a collection of individual songs.

Short stories are an art form of their own, still carrying the same structures of their longer novel cousins (plot, themes, metaphors, etc) but in a very short package. Some are complete stories (think of Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day, or Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery) while others might just give you a slice of life, a few hours in the life of an individual with no clear beginning and no clear end, leaving you to wonder what might come next (some stories by Anton Chekhov, or Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants). They can be happy or sad, comic or dramatic, or full of irony (The Necklace, by Guy de Maupassant). Sometimes an anthology might consist of short stories on a single theme (love, loss, westerns, adventure), or they could be a mix of anything. And the beauty of an anthology is you can read one or two stories, or the whole thing, depending on your time and interest.

But short stories don’t carry the same weight as novels.

Of course they do! Many writers are known more for their short stories than for their novels – Alice Munro is considered one of the premier short story writers, having won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature in part for her short stories. Ray Bradbury is another prolific short-story writer, not quite horror, not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy, just imaginative. His philosophy was to write one short story a week, because out of 52 short stories, you were bound to have three or four that were really good. Short stories are easier to sell, if not to anthologies then to magazines – many a writer got their start in The New Yorker, Collier’s, or Atlantic, let alone Good Housekeeping and Readers’ Digest. Some of the most popular authors – Isaac Asimov, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler – carved their name writing for pulp fiction magazines.

Short stories don’t always stay short, either. Many popular films started out as short stories – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (published in The New Yorker) (Did you realize this one takes place in Waterbury, Connecticut?), All About Eve, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 3:10 to Yuma, Shawshank Redemption, Minority Report, Brokeback Mountain, Rear Window, Total Recall, and many, many others.

A little story can go a long way. If you’re pressed for time, check out the stories in these collections, and more!

Best Short Stories of Jack London

Ray Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales

Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, Vol. 4

Children of the Night: Best Short Stories by Black Writers

Dancing Through Life in a Pair of Broken Heels

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories

Beautiful Days

Amish Front Porch Stories

Bring Out the Dog: Stories

Complete Stories of Edgar Allen Poe

Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers

20th Century Ghosts

Made in China

Every now and then you read a book so disturbing you change your life because of it. That’s how I felt about Amelia Pang’s book, Made in China. I have not been so disturbed by a book since Road of Lost Innocence, by Somaly Mam. 

In 2012 Julie Keith opened up Halloween decorations, only to find a note in broken English, asking her to “kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”

Julie did – contacting Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The United Nations Human Rights Council, and Anti-Slavery International.

None of them called her back.

Through her own research, she slowly learned the extent that America’s cheap consumer goods are, too often, being manufactured illegally by political prisoners in China, who work in concentration camp conditions amid torture and starvation.

 It wasn’t until she spoke to Immigration and Customs and Border Protection that she got anyone to listen – ICE and CBP are the agencies responsible for preventing forced-labor products from entering US markets. ICE made a formal request to visit the “reeducation center” where the product was made. China refused. Keith learned that China has never allowed inspection of their manufacturing facilities, and one piece of evidence isn’t enough to push further.

But Keith couldn’t stop thinking about the person who wrote the note. She wound up doing an interview for The Oregonian, and suddenly found herself in the spotlight of Chinese dissident news, CNN, Fox, and more. Through the group Human Rights Watch, Keith found out it’s almost impossible to prove human rights violations – Kmart insisted the factory had been audited every 6 to 12 months, absolutely within the law, but audits cost money and mostly check for cleanliness and quality control. They never check for the source of labor. When you have a hundred thousand subcontractors, and each audit is $1,000, the costs and time add up to impossible.

Sun Yi and his letter

Sun Yi was the man who wrote that note in 2009, three years before Julie Keith found it. He was imprisoned and tortured for belonging to a meditation group that fell into disfavor with the Party. After two years of  starvation, torture, and working sometimes 24 hours a day in inhumane conditions, he was released. CNN interviewed him, blocking his face so he could not be identified. Sun Yi decided that, while he could get the information out, he wanted to write a letter to Julie, thanking her. He included his email address. Sun realized if he was to live, he had to leave China, and slipped out to Indonesia before the Chinese authorities could stop him, since Indonesia didn’t require a visa for Chinese citizens. There, he had free communication with the world.

In March of 2017, Julie Keith flew 36 hours to Indonesia, to meet Sun Yi in person, something she always wanted to do. The meeting was bittersweet, and Keith learned much about Yi’s poor treatment.

In October of 2017, Sun Yi died mysteriously of a lung infection and kidney failure. He was said to have been befriended by a Chinese woman not long before. She wasn’t seen in Jakarta afterward. No autopsy was performed.

This book tore at my heart. It’s short, easy to read, and always engaging. As we flip past internet bargains and snap up dollar deals, think twice before buying cheap merchandise. Ask if the item was made in the USA, and try (oh yes, it’s difficult) to buy items made only in countries who pay fair wages and rely on fair trade. Does that pop-up ad on social media look beautiful, at a reasonable price? Google the company. If there’s little to no information on it, it may be because it’s fly-by-night. You might get a nice product, but the company may fold in one town and open up under a different name three blocks away in the same Chinese city, using the same illegal workers. 

I got suckered in by that myself: researched the company, found no red flags, ordered what I thought was a hand-made item by a small Mom & Pop company, until a few weeks later when I got an email telling me my package had just cleared customs from China.


The package arrived with a label that had a New York State company address – slapped directly over the label that was on the envelope that arrived from China.

Think when you purchase something. Without demand for cheap products, there will be less demand for labor. Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Is the price too good to be true? Where was it made? Who made it? Who is profiting from my buying it? Was someone harmed by my decision to purchase this item?

Sometimes, the answer might be yes.

Teen Book Reviews: Anna and the French Kiss & Twelve Steps to Normal

Teens: did you know that you can earn community service credit for writing a book review and submitting it to us? Today, we’ll hear from two teens who did just that. Find out more about how to earn community service hours from home at cheshirelibrary.org/teens/.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Reviewed by Lily S.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is a Young Adult contemporary romance. It takes place in a prestigious boarding school in Paris, France called the School of America in Paris, A.K.A. SOAP. Anna, the main character, was forced into entering the school by her father, although she’d rather stay in Atlanta with her friends, and soon-to-be boyfriend, Toph. When she arrives, she feels a bit homesick, but soon meets a great friend group. In her friend group are St. Clair, Meredith, Josh, and Ramishi. St. Clair catches Anna’s attention, a result of his great personality, looks, and charming English accent, but Anna has to suppress her feelings for St.Clair because he has a girlfriend. On top of this, Anna struggles to actually speak French. St.Clair frequently asked to show Anna Paris, and Anna finally relented. They begin to get along and get closer and closer.

To start, Stephanie Perkins has a very great way of writing. Her writing was made for a very fun read, all while really toying with my emotions. This story was not just a simple frivolous romance novel, but it also dealt with serious issues that really make you feel for the characters and you find your subconsciously feeling so many emotions for them. Perkins’ writing made me feel so connected to each character. She also nailed it when it came to describing Paris. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris, and this book made me feel like I was there. It was honestly a form of escapism for me. I felt as though I was there with Anna and St. Clair, walking around Paris, seeing vintage movies, and eating delicious food. I fell in love with Paris and it is now my dream place to visit. I especially loved the characters in this book because they each had such powerful personalities and said words that really stuck with me. Because they were so real and had real problems, I felt like I could really relate to them which contributed to the connection I felt with each character. I especially felt this with St.Clair because he was so genuine and he had a fun personality, but also said heart-warming words that had me feeling so many emotions. I felt so bad for him while he experienced family- problems. I found myself worrying about him in a really deep way. I also really loved Anna. She was so relatable and honest. Anna was such a great person and friend, so much that she makes decisions while taking into consideration how her friends will benefit. She was overall such a good narrator. It was so cute how she loved movies and reviewed them.

The next aspect of this book that really stuck with me was Anna and St.Clair’s relationship. It was so pure and innocent and then quickly escalated to a very romantic relationship. I loved how St.Clair convinced Anna to leave her room and show her Paris. I absolutely loved how they helped each other feel better and overall made each other better people. It was so sweet how they were best friends and in love. There was a lot of slow burn in the book, which was nice, but it got slightly annoying that they kept hiding their feelings. But when they admitted the love, it was so nice because of all the tension that was previously there. I think Perkins wrote their story so well and really included the very real long hill of falling in love. The other characters, Ramishi, Josh, and Merideth were written equally as well. I didn’t really like Ramishi though. I loved Josh and how he was a very talented artist. I hated Meredith at first, and how she “claimed” St. Clair, but I ended up feeling bad for her.

Overall, the story was very beautiful. Reading about Anna and St.Clair’s friendship and how it escalates made for such a great read. Anna and The French Kiss is definitely one of the best contemporary romance books I read. It had such a beautiful setting, excellent storyline, and simply had everything and more of what the perfect romance book should have.

5 stars.

Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn. Reviewed by Sarah F.

The main character Kira, had her whole life ripped away because of her dad’s alcoholism. She had to move away from her boyfriend, friends, her home, and basically everything she knew. After almost a year of being away, her father is sober and she’s moving back home. Kira is determined to fix her lost friendships and forgive her father or in her case, go back to her “normal life”. However, that is all ruined when Kira returns home to find three recoveries that her father brought home from rehab. Now another thing on her list is to get rid of them.

Without spoiling I would like to say most characters are very likable except Whitney and Jay, what they did is unforgivable in my opinion and how come Whitney is avoiding Kira and not the other way around? Some things Kira did were extremely confusing to me at least since I didn’t grow up in a household of recovery from substance abuse but, knowing her father’s past I don’t understand why she did what she did (page 342 if you want to know what I’m talking about). Kira can also be a huge brat sometimes but she isn’t too bad. I understand her temper for things and I think she blames a lot of her own issues on her father. I did enjoy the small romance between Kira and Alex I feel it lightened the mood of Kira in the book, I think Alex also really helped her accept and change the way she sees things. Nobody is perfect and I think the author purposely made Kira this way not to show that she’s a brat but, to show that nobody is perfect and feeling that way (how Kira feels) is normal.

The story was pretty good however the ending felt extremely rushed. Everything happened too quickly, there were like 5 things happening at once. Overall this book is decent, I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever read but it’s pretty good. I would recommend this book to those with similar experiences or as a light read(I am a relatively quick reader though).

4 stars.