What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in February

February is “Love Your Library” Month, and there’s plenty to love at CPL! Jane Austen fans will want to check out the “For the Love of Austen” events scheduled all month long, and we’re celebrating the Chinese New Year this month, too. Happy Year of the Pig!

Dramatic Reading : Darcy and Elizabeth

Sunday, February 3, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00PM

Join us for a dramatic reading of Darcy and Elizabeth presented by; the Cheshire Community Theatre. Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy take center stage in this one-act version of Jane Austen’s beloved romance. Registration is appreciated.

Create Valentine’s Cards

Monday, February 4, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00PM

One of the many joys of the Valentine season is sending cheerful cards to the ones you love. Join France Angle and create beautiful Valentine Cards using rubber stamps, ink and Stampin’Up products. Space is limited and registration is required.

Tai Chi

Tuesdays, February 5 – March 19, 2019, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Tai Chi Instructor Kathy Brenner will lead six weekly sessions of Tai Chi and Qigong, on Tuesdays, February 5 through March 12. Join her in an easy to follow series of low impact and aerobic exercises, (please wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing). Space is limited and registration is required.  Register online or call 203-272-2245, x4.

Library After Hours: Chinese New Year Celebration

Friday, February 8, 2019, 5:00 – 7:30PM

Join us for a celebration of the Chinese New Year featuring an acrobatic performanace by Li Liu, mask-making, a dragon parade and more!

Pizza and drinks will be available for purchase. There is no admission fee, but donations to the Friends of the Library are appreciated and help defray the cost of these special events. Please note that the Lower and Upper Levels of the Library will not be open to the public. Please register so that we know how many goodies to have!

New World Trio Concert

Sunday, February 10, 2019, 2:00 – 3:30PM

For more than three decades, the New World Trio, featuring Anhared Stowe on violin, Peter Zay on cello and Pi-Hsun Shih on piano, has brought the excitement and intimacy of chamber music to live audiences throughout New England. Today’s program, “The Influence of a Woman”, will feature Tchaikovsky’s Trio in A Minor op.50 and Debussy’s the Premier Trio in G Major and highlights the influence of Nadezhda von Meck on both composers.

The Romance of Jane Austen

Thursday, February 14, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Professor Rebecca Adams will discuss Jane Austen and the ideals of Romance. Learn the expectations for women during Jane Austen’s life, as well as a description of Jane Austen’s life and the real life characters who inspired some of her more famous characters (Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins). Registration is required.

Create Zentangle

Monday, February 18, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00PM

Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.  Each patron will learn the Zentangle method and leave with one landscape artwork. Registration required for this adult program.

The Importance of Tea in Chinese Culture

Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Tea is an important aspect of Chinese tradition. Join Vivian Huang and learn about the different types of tea, find out why tea become an essential part of Chinese culture and learn to write “Tea” in Chinese calligraphy. Registration is required.

Silk’n Sounds A Capella Concert

Sunday, February 24, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00PM

Silk’n Sounds is greater New Haven’s premier auditioned women’s a cappella chorus. Dedicated to excellence in the performance of four-part harmony in the American barbershop tradition and in other musical traditions, he chorus performs a broad repertoire of songs in traditional and contemporary musical styles.

Regency Dance Lesson

Thursday, February 21, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Do you love to watch Jane Austen Movies and the lavish balls?  Have you ever said to yourself; I would love to learn how to dance like that?  This is your chance to learn!  One night and one night only join us for fun evening of dance.  Come dressed up if you so choose and please bring good shoes to dance.  Space is limited for this adult program and registration is required.

Shades of Jane Austen

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Join us as we learn about the world in which Austen grew up, mainly rural England.  With the aid of beautiful slides, including many of paintings of the time, Patricia Carr will help us enter that world and learn a little more about what life was like for the country gentry. Registration is required.

 

Brief Biographies for Non-Fiction Readers

The CPL collection includes short biographies on major historical figures.  The Penguin Lives Series from publisher Penguin Random House is an innovative series that pairs celebrated writers with famous individuals who have shaped our thinking.  The broad and diverse subjects of these biographies come from around the world and from all walks of life.

Here is the complete list of the 28 ‘mini-biographies’ owned by the library:

Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Keneally
Andy Warhol by Wayne Koetenbaum
Branch Rickey by Jimmy Breslin
Buddha by Karen Armstrong
Crazy Horse by Larry McMurtry
Dante by R.W.B. Lewis
Elvis Presley by Bobbie Ann Mason
Frank Lloyd Wright by Ada Louise Huxtable
George Herbert Walker Bush by Tom Wicker
Herman Melville by Elizabeth Hardwick
Jane Austen by Carol Shields
Joan of Arc by Mary Gorden
Joseph Smith by Robert V. Remini
Julia Child by Laura Shapiro
Leonardo da Vinci by Sherwin B. Nuland
Mao Zedong by Jonathan Spence
Marcel Proust by Edmund White
Martin Luther by Martin Marty
Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marshall Frady
Mozart by Peter Gay
Napoleon by Paul Johnson
Pope John XXIII by Thomas Cahill
Robert E. Lee by Roy Blount, Jr.
Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley
Saint Augustine by Gary Wills
Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray
Winston Churchill by John Keegan
Woodrow Wilson by Louis Auchincloss

They can be found on the Lower Level in the Biography section.

Jane Austen Spinoffs

If one way to measure the popularity of an author is to note the number of spinoffs that his or her work has created, then Jane Austen is high on the popularity list!

longbourn Longbourn by Jo Baker
This is the story of Sarah, the Bennet’s housemaid in Pride and Prejudice, as she serves in their household while the events of the classic unfold. However, the downstairs is just as eventful as the upstairs, especially when a new footman arrives.

 

prideandprejudiceandzombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
This is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice during a zombie apocalypse. Elizabeth Bennett is fighting off the zombie infestation after a plague has settled on the village. However, she also finds herself fighting Mr. Darcy after his arrival.

 

scargravemanorJane Austen and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
This is the first book in a mystery series about Jane Austen as a detective. In this book, Jane’s friend Isobel is newly wed to a man who is many years her senior. Then, during the night, her new husband dies. Soon after his death, Isobel’s maid accuses Isobel of murdering her husband and committing adultery with her late husband’s nephew.

anassemblysuchasthisAn Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan
This is the story of Pride and Prejudice, told from the point of view of Fitzwilliam Darcy. This is the book to read if you wish to know more about the mysterious man and his view of the events in the classic novel.

 

janeaustenThe Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford
Anne Sharp was Jane Austen’s governess. Ever since Jane’s death twenty-six years earlier, Anne has held onto a lock of Jane’s hair. However, Anne is following up on a suspicion that she has carried with her all this time. Jane may have been murdered, and the lock of hair may prove it.

 

missingmanuscriptofjaneaustenThe Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
Samantha McDonough finds a letter that laments a missing manuscript at an estate in Devonshire. The author of both the letter and the manuscript is thought to be none other than Jane Austen. All that that Samantha needs to do is figure out a way of working with Anthony Whitaker, the handsome owner of the estate.

 

emmaEmma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
As the title describes, this is the modern version of the classic novel about a young woman who interferes in the lives of those around her. Fresh from college, Emma is kept busy by running her own business, caring for her father, and playing matchmaker.

 

northangerabbeyNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermid
This is a modern retelling of Northanger Abbey. Cat Morland, who loves to read novels, constantly fantasizes about experiencing adventures. So, when she travels to Edinburgh to attend a festival, she begins to wonder about the mysterious Northanger Abbey and its seemingly perfect residents, one of whom is very handsome.

 

 

Famous People Make Great Fictional Sleuths

I love it when well-known historical figures pop up in books I am reading. Since I could (and probably will!) write several posts on this topic, I thought I’d start with one of the most popular ways that famous people of the past get cast in novels: as amateur sleuths.

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Let’s begin with Eleanor Roosevelt, who appears as the chief mystery-solver in the Eleanor Roosevelt Mystery series  written by her son, the late Elliot Roosevelt. This enchanting series is a blend of fictionalized history and cozy mystery with a strong dollop of the atmosphere of the Roosevelt White House years as it can only be portrayed by an insider.

Going back in time to 18th century London, we encounter Benjamin Franklin in the mystery series by Robert Lee Hall. Books like, London Blood: Further Adventures of an American Agent Abroad, tell of Franklin’s detective experiences. His illegitimate son Nick, the narrator, is at Franklin’s side through the seven adventures that take place during the time Franklin was in England to intercede for the American colonies with the British government.

Jacket.aspxWho’s next? Jane Austen, of course, in the series by Stephanie Barron. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor is the first in this series that depicts Jane as a sleuth with a subtle sense of humor and an eye for noticing, with excruciating exactness, nuances in the behavior of others.

And then there’s the ultimate real-person-as-fictional-sleuth genre in which famous authors cast themselves as the main crime solving character! Famous for this type of series are Steve Allen and Ed Koch. Allen penned a series featuring himself and his wife, Jayne Meadows. Books like Die Laughing are written with Allen’s trademark humor and wit. Former mayor of New York Koch also starred himself in stories such as The Senator Must Die, in which Hizzoner out-sleuths everyone around him.

I have to admit, though, my favorite mystery series that highlights the famous is Stuart Kaminsky’s Toby Peters mystery series. Although Toby Peters is a fictional character, his cases in the Hollywood of the thirties and forties bring him in contact with famous clients such as Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dali and many others. These famous people often help him solve the case. I especially loved To Catch a Spy featuring Cary Grant, who may or may not be spying for the U.S. government during the early days of World War II, and A Fatal Glass of Beer, featuring a hard-drinking, hard-talking, shotgun-wielding W.C. Fields.

Looking for more? Try these:

Jacket.aspx3The Beatrix Potter mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert

Blue Suede Clues: A Murder Mystery featuring Elvis Presley by Daniel M, Klein

Hemingway Deadlights by Michael Atkinson (featuring Ernest Hemingway)

The Color of Death by Bruce Alexander (featuring Sir John Fielding, founder of the first police force in London in the 1700s.)

A Marked Man by Barbara Hamilton (featuring Abigail Adams)

Escape Artist: an Edna Ferber mystery by Ed Ifkovic

The Illusion of Murder by Carol McCleary (featuring reporter Nellie Bly)