Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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Thursday, August 4th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Amour Provence
with Author Constance Leisure
Click Here to Register 

What is life really like in Provence? Constance Leisure will provide an insider’s look at the real Provence. Twenty-five years ago, she and her husband made a bold decision to move to France with two young children and soon afterwards purchased a tumbledown farmhouse in Provence that would eventually become the center of her creative life. 

Inspired by the people, places, and events surrounding her, Amour Provence describes life in two, adjacent villages in the South of France where most of the inhabitants are vintners. The characters in the novel live lives that overlap and intertwine over a span of nearly 70 years, from the Nazi occupation to the present. The lives of the villagers reflect less the guidebook image of the balmy skies of Provence, than the reality that the Midi is a place of extremes, the summers of unbearable heat and the harsh winters. The result is a portrait of lives deeply lived, rooted in the soil of Provence, shadowed by the past, against the backdrop of a region and a nation gripped by change.

Constance will reflect on life in Provence, describe the events that made her imagine the lives of the people who experienced them, and read short passages of the novel. She will give the view of a region in France that most tourists don’t see.

Constance Leisure was a writer and magazine editor in New York before moving to France. She lives there and in Litchfield. Visit her website at constanceleisure.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required. 


Tuesday, August 9th
7:00 - 8:15 p.m.

The Bear Facts: Natural History of Black Bears
with Paul Colburn
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What The Black Bear is an impressive animal. Males, or boars, normally weigh between 150 to 450 pounds, while females, or sows, weigh from 110 to 250 pounds. Adults are generally five to six feet long. Good tree climbers and strong swimmers, they can run up to 35 miles per hour! Encountering a bear in Connecticut was once rare as they had been extirpated from the state by the mid-1800s. Their return is due, in part, to the regrowth of forestland. Since 1980s, annual sightings have increased dramatically as more people and infrastructure have moved into rural areas.

The Bear Facts presentation will focus on the natural history of black bears in Connecticut by giving an overview of their habitat, diet and behavior and current research. Learn all about this fascinating animal and ways to coexist with our bear population.

Paul Colburn is a graduate of Master Wildlife Conservationist Program and is a certified Master Wildlife Conservationist. The MWCP trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. In addition to his work as a MWC, he volunteers for the Wesleyan University Admissions, the Red Cross and The Connecticut Sports Foundation. Paul holds a BA from Wesleyan University and served in the United States Army. Registration is required.

Sundays, July 10th & August 14th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Harper Lee: A Book Discussion Series
Led by Joseph Montebello
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In 1961 To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. Go Set a Watchman, was written in the mid-1950s about these same characters but was not published until July 2015.

Join Joseph Montebello as he leads a book discussion on these two novels. The discussion will begin with Go Set a Watchman on July 10 and finish with To Kill a Mockingbird on August 14. Books will be available to borrow beginning in June.

Joseph Montebello is the former Vice-President and Creative Director at HarperCollins. During his tenure, he worked with some of the most prominent authors publishing today: Annie Dillard, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Tony Hillerman, Stuart Woods, Jackie Collins, Roxana Robinson, Allen Ginsberg, among many others. In addition to being Creative director, he also founded his own imprint Harper Style, where he published books on fashion, photography, and interior design. He discovered Carolyne Roehm and published her series of flower books. He is a contributing editor for Litchfield magazine, The Litchfield County Times, Passport Magazine, and Berkshire Style


Thursday, August 18th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Beer Snob: A History of Connecticut Brewing
Lecture & Tasting with Will Siss
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Join us for an insightful presentation and tasting of Connecticut Brewing. New breweries are popping up all over the state, but brewing in Connecticut has its roots in colonial days. Will Siss, writer of the “Beer Snob” column for the Waterbury Republican-American, will focus on the birth of brewing through Prohibition and into the modern surge of brewpubs and breweries. Researching and writing his book, Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing, gave him insight into the intricacies of brewing, and helped him appreciate the role immigration and politics played in its history. He’ll share stories about how breweries started and survived, despite pushback from religious figures and social reformers. He’ll also answer any and all questions about Connecticut beer, past and present.

Then, Siss will take the audience through a tasting of Connecticut beers, with information about each beer and how best to drink like a “beer snob.” He’ll discuss each beer’s style and suggest food pairings, share information about each local brewery that makes the beer, and lead a lively conversation.

Will Siss is a regular columnist for the Waterbury Republican American and author of Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing. He is a Columbia University School of Journalism graduate whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, including Beer Advocate and Brew Your Own. He conducts beer-tasting classes, writes humor pieces, and plays in a band. His website is beersnobwrites.com. The author will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required. 

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

The Mind Reader
Lecture with Keith Zalinger
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Get ready for an Extra Sensory Performance!

Can Keith read your mind? Predict the future? Demonstrate that you and other guests can read minds? Read a guest’s personality from an item they are wearing? Perform acts that defy description? Many aspects of this show involve any number of participants, sometimes everyone in the room!

Is Keith psychic? He says it depends on your definition but from his perspective, everyone is psychic...to a certain degree. Keith also welcomes skeptics and says most self-proclaimed skeptics love his show.  The only thing he expects during his performance is courtesy.

Keith Zalinger is an acclaimed and award winning thought-reader and paranormal entertainer. A licensed hypnotist in the state of Connecticut, Keith also performs card, palm, and numerology readings, which people love and find useful in their lives. He is the author of Palmistry, Love, & You; Learn the Tarot and Practical Astrology. His clients include Harvard University, Cisco Systems, Mutual Insurance Company, Bridgeport Hospital, and Alden Global Capital. He was the featured guest speaker at Yale School of Management MBA Program in April of 2013. Visit his website at readerofminds.com. Registration is required.

Monday Scholars
The Great American Presidents:
George Washington & Thomas Jefferson

Mondays, July 25  through  August 22
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Click Here to Register

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!

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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