Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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Read Outside the Box
OWL’s Adult Summer Reading Program
June 1 - August 7 

From June 1 through August 7, join us as we challenge you to Read Outside The Box! 

Read Outside the Box: Adult Summer Reading Program will challenge you to broaden your reading horizons and discover new books with 12 reading challenge categories. Don’t panic…we’ve designed this for success including some two-for-one title tips to help you cross off two challenge categories with one book. To help inspire and encourage you, we have also planned book displays, recommended reading lists, and special events.

Complete one category to be entered into our giveaway for a Book Lover’s Prize Box. Follow us on Facebook for a chance to win weekly book give-aways! Finish eight categories and you will be invited to an Exclusive After Hours Celebration with us at the OWL.

The Exclusive After Hours Gathering will be Monday, August 14 at 7 PM. Enjoy delicious desserts, great conversation and much more! You don’t want to miss it!

Register at OWL beginning June 1 to start Reading Outside The Box!


Sundays, June 4th & 25th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. 

Two Booker Prize Winners: 
A Book Discussion with Mark Schenker
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The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a prestigious literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. In this two-part series, we will explore two Man Booker Prize Winners.

Sunday, June 4: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
In 1520s England, Henry VIII’s challenge to the church’s power set off a tidal wave of religious, political and societal turmoil that reverberated throughout Europe. In this darkly brilliant reimagining of life under Henry VIII, Mantel boldly attempts to capture the sweeping internecine machinations of the times from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the lowborn man who became one of Henry's closest advisers.

Sunday, June 25: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has psychological and emotional depth and sophistication. This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about and he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

Mark J. Schenker is the Senior Associate Dean of Yale College, Dean of Academic Affairs and a lecturer in English at Yale. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. He lectures frequently on literary topics, and enjoys making literature accessible and enjoyable. Books are available at the library to borrow four weeks in advance of the discussion. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Tuesday, June 27th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Cinematic Guitar Poetry

with Hiroya Tsukamoto

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Hiroya Tsukamoto takes us on an innovative, impressionistic journey filled with earthy, organic soundscapes that impart a mood of peace and tranquility. It is cinematic guitar poetry, blending folk, jazz and Japanese roots to create a unique and powerful sound. Hiroya also introduces some Japanese folk music with the stories behind the songs. 

Acoustic Guitar Magazine wrote, “Hiroya Tsukamoto plays with fluid mastery, pristine tone, and great warmth…”

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and composer originally from Kyoto, Japan. When he was 13, his father brought home a blue-grass banjo, “but there was no way to find a banjo teacher in my hometown in Japan,” Tsukamoto says. “So I tried to learn from the only bluegrass record I had, Foggy Mountain Banjo, by Earl Scruggs.” The album by the North Carolinian proved to be a challenge because of Scruggs’ renowned top-speed picking, “but I just loved the music very much.” His friends then introduced him to the guitar about a year later. In 2000, he moved to the U.S. when he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Today Hiroya performs more than one hundred shows a year across the U.S. and internationally, including several appearances with his group at Blue Note in New York. He has also performed and appeared on major international television networks such as NHK (Japanese National Television) and EBS in Korea. Visit his website at: hiroyatsukamoto.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Read Outside the Box with The Cookbook Club!

Wednesday, July 12
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

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Join us for a special meeting of the OWL Cookbook Club. This summer we invite you to bring a recipe you found in food memoirs and food novels. 

Borrow one of our recommended food memoirs or food novels that we will have on display a month before the meeting. Spend the next few weeks experimenting with your culinary adventures, then be ready to discuss why you were drawn to make the recipe you chose. Was it the character, story, setting or perhaps just the delectable ingredients? We want to know!

Join OWL Librarians Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore for a fun and appetizing evening. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Thursday, July 13th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Gonzo Girl: A Novel

A Conversation with Cheryl Della Pietra

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“Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra’s novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson’s assistant will linger in your mind. 

This debut novel is raucous, page-turning, head-spinning, and side-splitting as it depicts a boss and mentor who is both devil and angel, and a young heroine who finds herself tested in the chaos that surrounds him. An intense story, Della Pietra’s tale about writing, firearms, psychotropics, and the pros and cons of hot tubs will suck you in and take you on ride. Gonzo Girl is a ticket you want to buy.”  -Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

Join Todd Johnson as he facilitates a conversation with Cheryl Della Pietra about her novel Gonzo Girl.

Cheryl Della Pietra is a longtime New York City magazine editor, writer, and copy editor. She has published numerous stories in such magazines as Marie Claire, Redbook, and POV Magazine. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she lived with Hunter S. Thompson in Woody Creek, Colorado, for several months in 1992, where she worked as his assistant. She currently lives in Connecticut, with her husband and son. Visit her website at: cheryldellapietra.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Sundays, July 16th & August 13th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Madame Bovary & The Bad Girl: Two Novels Sharing Common Threads

A Discussion with Aimee Pozorski

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In this series, we will look at the ways in which Nobel-Prize winning Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa has revisited, revised, and updated for the 21st century Gustav Flaubert’s 19th century masterpiece, Madame Bovary. By first reading Madame Bovary, followed by The Bad Girl, we will discuss how these novels consider such themes as revolution, the nature of realism, representations of women, illness, and narration as rendered in two different centuries from two different parts of the world while at the same time maintaining their focus on the unifying vision of a woman stifled by the social codes of her time.

July 16: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: The story focuses on a doctor’s wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

August 13: The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa: Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her.

Aimee Pozorski teaches contemporary American literature at Central Connecticut State University and holds a PhD in English with a certificate in psychoanalytic studies from Emory University. She served as President of the Philip Roth Society from 2009 to May 2015. Her books include Roth and Trauma: The Problem of History in the Later Works and Falling After 9/11: Crisis in American Art and Literature. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED  

Thursday, July 20th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Red Bandanna: A Life, A Choice, A Legacy

with Alison Crowther

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Please join us for this special event co-sponsored with St. Anthony of Padua of Litchfield.

What would you do in the last hour of your life? This is the true story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage.  Alison Crowther, the mother of Welles, will discuss his life, his choices and his legacy. 
On September 11, 2001 when the attacks on the World Trade Center began, Welles was no longer an equities trader. He became a firefighter. 

The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna. Eyewitnesses report that the man spoke calmly, with authority, and was obviously well trained. He is reported to have saved many lives that day.

Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make. Please join us for this special evening as the mother of Welles, Alison Crowther, discusses his life and legacy.

For more information about St. Anthony of Padua, visit their website at  stanthonylitchfield.org. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Thursday, August 3rd
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Price of Illusion

with Author Joan Juliet Buck

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The Price of Illusion is the account of four decades spent in the creative heart of London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris, where Joan chronicles her quest to discover the difference between glitter and gold, illusion and reality, and what looks like happiness from the thing itself. 

Joan’s memoir tells the story of a life lived in the best places at the most interesting times: London and New York in the swinging 1960s, Rome and Milan in the dangerous 1970s, Paris in the heady 1980s and 1990s.

But when her fantasy life at Vogue came to an end, she had to find out who she was after all those years of make-believe. She chronicles this journey taking the reader through the wild parties and the fashion, the celebrities and creative geniuses as well as love, loss, and the loneliness of getting everything you thought you wanted and finding it’s not what you’d imagined.

Joan Juliet Buck was born in Hollywood, and raised in Paris, London, and Ireland. She began writing book reviews for Glamour at 19, and was Features Editor of British Vogue at 23. After two decades doing profiles, essays and criticism for American Vogue, Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler and The New Yorker, she became the first and only American woman ever to fill Paris Vogue’s coveted position of Editor-in-Chief which she held from 1994 to 2001. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Tuesday, August 8th

6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

I Am Zelda

A Live Theatrical Performance with Rita Parisi

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Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald is often known as the crazy wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. She was the glittering half of the Golden Couple of the 1920s and muse and inspiration for the flapper characters in Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age stories. But before she met Scott, she was the flamboyant and outrageous Zelda Sayre, the famous belle from Montgomery, Alabama and the daughter of a judge and an artistic mother. In fact, her antics before - and after - marriage became legendary. 

But Zelda was much more than a southern belle, a glittering jewel on Fitzgerald’s arm, 1920s icon or an American expatriate wife in Paris. This original play will pay tribute to an often misunderstood woman; a woman who battled schizophrenia for much of her life; a woman who was also a mother, an accomplished ballet dancer, an exhibited artist and a published writer.

Rita Parisi has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years in the New England area. In 2002, she founded Waterfall Productions to create shows that highlight her passion for theatre, literature and costuming; these shows have been performed all over the East Coast. Rita is also actively involved in the independent film scene and her films have been debuted at the Boston International Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. For more information visit waterfallproductions.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Thursday, August 17th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Cooking For Picasso: A Novel

with Author Camille Aubray

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The French Riviera, spring 1936: Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life - and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, a 17-year old who cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis, chafing under her family’s authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward. 

New York, present day: Céline learns that her grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met where she discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Camille Aubray is an Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship winner, and was a writer-in-residence at the Karolyi Foundation in the South of France. She was also a finalist for the Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award and the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. She studied writing with her mentor Margaret Atwood at Humber College Writers’ Workshop in Toronto. Aubray has taught writing at New York University, and wrote and produced for ABC News, PBS, and A&E. Visit her website at: www.camilleaubray.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 



Thursday, August 24th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

You Don’t Look Your Age…And Other Fairy Tales

with Author Sheila Nevins

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Sheila Nevins is the best friend you never knew you had. She is your discreet confidante you can tell any secret to, your sage mentor at work who helps you navigate the often uneven playing field, your wise sister who has “been there, done that,” your hysterical girlfriend whose stories about men will make you laugh until you cry. Sheila Nevins is the one person who always tells it like it is. In You Don’t Look Your Age, the famed documentary producer finally steps out from behind the camera and takes her place front and center.

In these pages you will read about the real life challenges of being a woman in a man’s world, what it means to be a working mother, what it’s like to be an older woman in a youth-obsessed culture, the sometimes changing, often sweet truth about marriages, what being a feminist really means, and that you are in good company if your adult children don’t return your phone calls.

Sheila Nevins has a BA from Barnard and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and is a television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films. She has produced over one thousand documentary films for HBO and is one of the most influential people in documentary filmmaking. She has worked on productions that have been recognized with 32 Primetime Emmy Awards, 34 News and Doc Emmy Awards, 42 Peabody Awards, and 26 Academy Awards. Nevins has won 32 individual Primetime Emmy Awards, more than any other person. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 





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