Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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for Thursday, October 6th
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Fall Into Books
A Book Talk with OWL Staff
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As every reader knows, any time you finish a great book, you find yourself asking, “What do I read next?” With so many choices on the new shelves and in our stacks, it can be difficult to find just the right book!
Let us be your personal guide by hearing about what we’ve been reading. 

We’ll focus on fiction with a few memoirs thrown in for good measure. From recently published books to favorites you might have missed, you will hear about why we loved them and why they are on our recommended reading list.

Join Librarian Patricia Moore, and Library Book Club Liaison Cameron Bove as they share their reading recommendations so you can fall into reading this autumn!

Eighteen books will be shared. For each book, we’ll give a brief story line and then share our thoughts on why this book made it on our list. A list of each book selected, along with who recommended it, will be provided at the talk as well as available for download from our website at its conclusion.

After the book talk, copies of all of the books discussed will be available for check-out! Wherever possible, large print and audio book copies will also be available. From page turners to sweeping landscapes, we will have you covered so that you will wonder which one to start first! Registration is required.  

Wednesday, September 28th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Astro-Imaging: Exploring the Wonder of the Night Sky
with Joe Dougherty
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Ever wonder how the images of the Milky Way, nebulae or distant galaxies that we see in magazines, television, or posters are captured? You might be surprised to learn that it is not as simple as taking a camera out to the back yard and just “pointing and clicking.” It requires the harnessing and integration of telescopes, computers, cameras, software and even a bit of artistry.

Astro-imaging allows astronomers to see details of celestial objects that are hidden using a telescope alone. Imaging techniques can enable viewing deep space objects even with the brightness of a full moon. This talk explores the basics of astro-imaging. You will be taken behind the scenes to understand the equipment, processes, tools and techniques today’s imagers use to capture and create astonishing pictures of astronomical objects. Viewers will be treated to dozens of actual photos taken by members of the Litchfield Amateur Astronomy Club over the past several years. We will explore many of the varied types of astronomical objects through a pictorial tour of the night sky.

Joe Dougherty, president of the Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club, has specialized in astro-imaging for nearly ten years. He has given numerous presentations over the years on imaging techniques, processes, software and on improving image quality. Visit the Astronomy Club’s website at lhastro.org. Registration is required.


Wednesday, October 5th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Cookbook Club - Apples!
with OWL Staff
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Can Few things bring to mind autumn in New England like a freshly picked, crisp, and delicious apple. Whether paired with sharp cheese, baked in a pie, or simmered into homemade apple sauce - nothing compares.

At the Cookbook Club, we sample each other’s dishes, enjoy coffee or sparkling water, and discuss the pros and cons of the several highlighted cookbooks. Delicious food and spirited discussion - what else is there?

Beginning a month before Cookbook Club, come into the library and check out one of the selected apple cookbooks. For the next few weeks try out some recipes and come to the program ready to chat about the delectable highs as well as the inevitable culinary lows. Librarians and co-facilitators Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore will be bringing along their favorite apple dish and we invite you to do the same - but if life gets hectic, don’t worry, just bring yourself and a hearty appetite. Registration is required.



Sundays, September 18th & October 16th
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Stephen King: A Book Discussion Series
Led by Stephen Spignesi
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Stephen King’s books, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television shows, and comic books, have sold more than 350 million copies. King has published 54 novels, six non-fiction books, and nearly 200 short stories. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine. 

In 2015, King was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Additional awards include the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

In his book The Philosophy of Horror, Noel Carroll discusses King’s work as an exemplar of modern horror fiction. Analyzing both the narrative structure of King’s fiction and non-fiction ruminations on the art and craft of writing, Carroll writes that for King, “the horror story is always a contest between the normal and the abnormal such that the normal is reinstated and, therefore, affirmed.”

Join Stephen King expert Stephen Spignesi as he leads a discussion of two of King’s most acclaimed and literary novels, The Shining, and The Green Mile. We’ll explore two of King’s most compelling heroes/antiheroes, Jack Torrance of The Shining and John Coffey of The Green Mile; why it is difficult for many to see horror as literary; and how King’s personal experiences influence his writing.

STEPHEN SPIGNESI is a Practitioner in Residence at the University of New Haven and Adjunct Professor at Gateway Community College in Connecticut. Spignesi was christened “the world’s leading authority on Stephen King” by Entertainment Weekly magazine. He is the author of six books about Stephen King and his work, including The Stephen King Encyclopedia and The Essential Stephen King. His writing about King has also appeared in several magazines, anthologies and websites. In January of 2000, he appeared as a King expert in the A&E program Biography of Stephen King.

September 18: The Shining
Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their young son Danny move into the Overlook Hotel, where Jack has been hired as the winter caretaker. Cut off from civilization for months, Jack hopes to battle alcoholism and uncontrolled rage while writing a play. Evil forces residing in the Overlook – which has a long and violent history – covet young Danny for his precognitive powers and exploit Jack’s weaknesses to try to claim the boy.

October 16: The Green Mile
They call death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary “The Green Mile.” John Coffey, sentenced to die for the rape and murder of two young girls, is the latest addition to the Mile. Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent, discovers that there is more to John Coffey than meets the eye, for this friendly giant has the power to heal.

Light refreshments will be served. Books are available at the library to borrow in advance. Registration is required.


Wednesday, October 19th
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Walking Into White
An Evening with Guitarist & Vocalist Sarah McQuaid
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Sarah McQuaid’s voice has been likened to malt whiskey, melted chocolate and “honey poured into wine.” Her new album Walking Into White (2015) is her most honest and adventurous work to date, with a depth and texture of soundscape that are reflected in her beautifully crafted live shows. A captivating performer, she seduces her audience with cheeky banter and stories from the road, as well as with stunning musicianship; in her hands, the guitar becomes much more than merely an accompanying instrument. 

Born in Spain, raised in Chicago and now living in rural England, Sarah refuses to be pigeonholed, segueing easily from one of her emotive originals into a 1930s Cuban jazz number, a 16th century lute piece or an unexpected contemporary cover.

Her fourth solo CD has drawn international critical acclaim: The Musician (UK) called it “A work that grows with each listen,” while Germany’s Folker hailed it as “Ein mutiges Album mit einem potenziellen Pophit” (A courageous album that includes a potential pop hit). “Sending out a trembling resonance, this is a collection of songs that feel their way into your being,” wrote FolkWords (UK), where it was selected as Album of the Month and nominated for both Best Album from a Female Artist and Album of the Year. To hear samples and learn more, visit her website at sarahmcquaid.com.  Registration is required. 

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

American Amnesia
with Author Jacob Hacker
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In American Amnesia, authors Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson trace the economic and political history of the United States over the last century and show how a viable mixed economy has long been the dominant engine of America’s prosperity.

Like every other prospering democracy, the United States developed a mixed economy that channeled the spirit of capitalism into strong growth and healthy social development. In this bargain, government and business were as much partners as rivals. Public investments in education, science, transportation, and technology laid the foundation for broadly based prosperity. Programs of economic security and progressive taxation provided a floor of protection and business focused on the pursuit of profit - and government addressed needs business could not. The mixed economy was the most important social innovation of the twentieth century. And yet, it is anathema to many current economic and political elites.

Jacob S. Hacker, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He earned his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Yale University. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is the author or co-author of several books including, most recently, Winner-Take-All Politics and has edited three volumes -  Shared Responsibility, Shared Risk: Government, Markets, and Social Policy in the Twenty-First Century, edited with Ann O’Leary. He has appeared on The NewsHour, MSNBC, All Things Considered, and Marketplace. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required.  


Tuesday, October 25th
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Film Talk
with OWL Staff
Click Here to Register

With so many choices on the new shelves and in our stacks, it can be difficult to find the right film or series to watch! Let us be your personal guide by hearing about what we’ve been watching. 

Join OWL staff Library Director Ann Marie White, Librarian Patricia Moore, and Library Book Club Liaison Cameron Bove as we share some of our favorite films and television series. From recent releases to classic films, we’ll look at a broad spectrum of genres and styles of film.

Eighteen films or series will be shared. For each, we’ll give a brief story line, share our thoughts on the films or series, and share why you should add them to your list. A list of each film selected, along with who recommended it, will be provided at the talk as well as available for download from our website at its conclusion. After the film talk, copies of all of the films discussed will be available for check-out!

Brett McCracken in Relevant magazine writes, “We all agree movies allow us to escape - and there’s value in that - but it’s more than simple escapism. Movies take us to places we’ve never been and inside the skin of people quite different from ourselves. They offer us a window onto the wider world, broadening our perspective and opening our eyes to new wonders….But cinema is more than just a window. It’s also a magnifying glass. It focuses our attention on everyday reality in a way that makes us see everyday reality for what it really is: magnificence and curiosity. This idea - that the everyday, when carefully seen and considered, can provide epiphany - finds its greatest ally in the cinematic form…” Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required. 

Wednesday, October 26th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Agatha Christie is Missing
A Live Theatrical Performance with Prudence Wright Holmes
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In 1926, famed mystery writer Agatha Christie staged her own disappearance after she learned her husband wanted a divorce. She was missing for eleven days sparking a nationwide search.

In this rollicking interactive murder mystery, Prudence Wright Holmes plays ace detective Miss Clarissa Marbles and leads the audience on a fun-filled romp.

Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, Prudence Wright Holmes always dreamed that she would live in New York City someday and be a working actor. Her dreams came true and she was fortunate enough to be in the original cast of Godspell which she helped to create, along with her classmates from Carnegie Mellon University. Her first Broadway show was Happy End with Meryl Streep.

One of the highpoints of her career was playing a nun in Sister Act I and II with Whoopi Goldberg. She also enjoyed working with Woody Harrelson in Kingpin. The thing she is proudest of is writing and performing her one-woman show, Bexley, Oh!, at New York Theatre Workshop that she has now turned into a book. Registration is required. 


Monday Scholars
The Great American Presidents

Mondays, July 25  through  February 6
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Taught by: Dr. Allan J. Lichtman
Facilitated by: Cameron Bove

Facilitated by Cameron Bove, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. Each week, a new lecture topic will be watched and discussed. All participants need to do is come ready to engage their minds and participate in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required. 

Over the course of several months, we will examine twelve American Presidents. Come for the entire series or only for sections!


JUL. 25 - AUG. 22:    George Washington & Thomas Jefferson
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AUG. 22 - SEP. 26:   Andrew Jackson & James Polk
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OCT. 3 - OCT.31:       Abraham Lincoln & Theodore Roosevelt
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NOV. 7 - DEC. 5:       Woodrow Wilson & Franklin Roosevelt

DEC. 12 - JAN.9:       Harry S. Truman & John F. Kennedy

JAN.16 - FEB. 6:       Lyndon B. Johnson & Ronald Reagan

About the Course:

The presidency and its occupants, Professor Lichtman argues, deserve much of the credit for the political stability we have enjoyed for more than 200 years. We’ll explore how well this radical new way of governing has worked by examining the lives, the achievements, and the legacies of those generally considered our 12 greatest presidents.

About the Professor:

Dr. Allan J. Lichtman is Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C. and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Professor Lichtman is the recipient of the Scholar-Teacher Award from American University. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including The Thirteen Keys to the Presidency and The Keys to the White House.  





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