Eric Lehman brings us “Connecticut Vanguards” on July 17th at 7:00pm

On the 163rd Anniversary of Bethel’s founding, Eric Lehman will bring us an author talk and signing of his latest book, Connecticut Vanguards: Historic Trailblazers & Their Legacies”. Join us Tuesday July 17th at 7:00. To save a spot, click HERE.

About the book:
Noah Webster, Charles Goodyear, P.T. Barnum and Katharine Hepburn all have Connecticut in common. Like so many other residents, they had an inventive spirit and drive that changed the course of history for the rest of the state. Some of the state’s natives, like Eli Whitney and Henry C. Lee, pioneered new methods. Prudence Crandall and Helen Keller championed the rights of the underprivileged. Some, like Frederick Law Olmsted and Sol LeWitt, changed our perception of the world. Author Eric D. Lehman chronicles the lives of two dozen men and women who left their marks on Connecticut and the world as a whole.

About the author: 
Eric D. Lehman is the author of twelve books of history, travel, and fiction, including The History of Connecticut Food, Literary Connecticut, Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London, and Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity, which won the Henry Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society of America and was chosen as one of the American Library Association’s outstanding university press books of the year. His 2016 book Shadows of Paris was chosen as novella of the year from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, earned a silver medal in Romance from the Foreword Review Indie Book Awards, and was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award. He teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Bridgeport and lives in Hamden with his wife, poet Amy Nawrocki, and their two cats.

The Least Among Us: Waging the Battle for the Vulnerable

By Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. The outspoken Connecticut congresswoman’s impassioned defense of America’s safety net in the time of Trump

Cynical politicians like Paul Ryan and Donald Trump argue that the people of the United States would be better off without food stamps, Obamacare, and workplace protections. Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro knows these folks are just plain wrong.

Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, DeLauro saw firsthand how vulnerable hard-working people are in the face of corporate indifference and government neglect. From fatal industrial fires to devastating childhood poverty, DeLauro witnessed it all—and emerged convinced that social programs are worth going to the mat for, again and again. Worker protections, Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance lift up all Americans; they fulfill this country’s promise of opportunity for everyone, and are essential for our country’s health.

For twenty-five years, DeLauro has been fighting for everyday Americans, earning a reputation as the most impassioned defender of our social safety net. The Least Among Us tells the story of a quarter century of deal-making on behalf of people too often overlooked, told by a woman as fearless as she is opinionated. Part House of Cards, part progressive manifesto, The Least Among Us shares lessons about power—how it’s gained and how to wield it for everyone’s benefit.

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Erik Ofgang shares the story of Gillette Castle on Thursday July 27 at 7pm

Erik Ofgang returns to Byrd’s Books with his new book, “Gillette Castle: A History” on Thursday July 27th at 7:00pm. To save a spot, click HERE.

About the book:

During his career as an actor, William Gillette portrayed world-renowned character Sherlock Holmes in more than 1,300 performances. His career as a playwright and actor afforded him the opportunity to purchase a 184-acre estate, where he also built a twenty-four-room medieval-style castle. Overlooking the Connecticut River, Gillette’s castle was complete with spy mirrors, sliding furniture, hidden rooms and a three-mile quarter-scale railroad. Since becoming a state park in 1943, it has evolved into one of Connecticut’s most popular tourist attractions. Writer and award-winning journalist Erik Ofgang examines the history of an iconic structure and Gillette’s life and role in the evolution of Sherlock Holmes.

About the author:

Erik Ofgang is an award-winning writer, musician and magician whose work has appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers throughout the country, including the Associated Press, the Hartford Courant and Connecticut Magazine, where he is a senior writer. His debut book, Buzzed: Beers, Booze & Coffee Brews, Where to Enjoy the Best Craft Beverages in New England, was released in 2016. He teaches writing and journalism at Western Connecticut State University’s MFA writing program and at Mercy College. When he’s not writing, he can be found playing bass with the Celtic roots band MacTalla Mor. He lives in western Connecticut with his wife, Corinne, and their Labradoodle, Iris.

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Cooking for Picasso

By Camille Aubray.

For readers of Paula McLain, Nancy Horan, and Melanie Benjamin, this captivating novel is inspired by a little-known interlude in the artist’s life.

“A tasty blend of romance, mystery, and French cooking.”—Margaret Atwood, via Twitter

The French Riviera, spring 1936: It’s off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis. A mysterious new patron who’s slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request—to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he’s secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.

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, 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, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny.

New York, present day: Céline, a Hollywood makeup artist who’s come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother’s enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Céline carries out Julie’s wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Côte d’Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Céline discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera’s most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre.

Praise for Cooking for Picasso

“Intrigue, art, food, and deception are woven together in a tale of love and betrayal around the life and legacy of Picasso. Touching and true, this well-written narrative made me long for my mother’s coq au vin and for the sun of Juan-les-Pins.”—Jacques Pépin, chef, TV personality, author

“Intriguing and insightful, the sensory details alone will have you thinking you’re reading the pages seated at a seaside café in the South of France.”—Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life

“[A] delicious, atmospheric novel . . . You’ll be glad you’re along for the ride.”People (Pick for “The Best New Books”)

“[A] colorful family saga . . . Cooking for Picasso is . . . about how people take what seems to be worthless and make it into something priceless. . . . The characters in Camille Aubray’s debut novel illustrate . . . that value lies not in what you own, but in who you are.”—The Washington Post

“This richly crafted tale of love, trust, art and food is wonderfully evocative of the sun-kissed Côte d’Azur, while weaving in a modern-day mystery. . . . Ideal for whiling away some time en vacances on the Riviera.”France Today

“[A] sweet summer escape.”Cosmopolitan

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Llewellyn’s Little Book of Psychic Development

By Melanie Barnum. Your psychic gifts are just waiting to be explored, and this pocket-size guide makes it easy! Discover how to tune in to your intuition, deepen your spirituality, and improve your relationships with simple techniques for developing your psychic senses.

Fill your life with abundance and positivity by engaging in your psychic birthright. This little book is packed with ways to help you, from hands-on exercises and journaling prompts to true stories from Melanie Barnum’s clients and personal experiences. If you want to feel more connected to your spirit, make changes in your career, or receive help when making decisions in every area of your life, this is the right book for you!

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David Leite’s New memoir is “Notes On a Banana”

Please join us when David returns for a book discussion of this book on Thursday June 15th with our Book Group.

Byrd’s Books welcomed back author David Leite in celebration of his memoir, “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression”. For those of us who were fortunate enough to attend David’s author talk on his last book, “The New Portuguese Table” we got a preview of this new, wonderful book.

Released by Harper Collins April 11th: 

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite s Culinaria a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. A clever and determined dreamer with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, obsessed over proper hair care, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French, thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of bipolar disorder. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-thirties, David found relief from his wild mood swings in cooking, Julia Child, and a Viking stove he named “Thor.”

Notes on a Banana is his heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, yet tender memoir of growing up, accepting himself, and turning his love of food into an award-winning career. Reminiscing about the people and events that shaped him, David looks back at the highs and lows of his life: from his rejection of being gay and his attempt to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan, to becoming a writer, cookbook author, and web publisher, to his twenty-three-year relationship with Alan, known to millions of David s readers as “The One,” which began with (what else?) food. Woven throughout these stories are the dishes David loves the tastes that led him to happiness, health, and success.

A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison s An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirsof Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the character-rich storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.

About the author:

The winner of multiple James Beard awards, Leite grew up in a blue-collar Portuguese home in Fall River, MA, longing for middle-class stability and struggling with bipolar disorder, which was not diagnosed until his mid-thirties. Meanwhile, he threw himself into cooking.

My review of the book on Goodreads:

In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding love of food. With the anchor of strong family and culture, the author mines the depths of mental illness and the aching journey of diagnosis to find balance and, ultimately, happiness. From the author of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria, David Leite has given us a feast of a journey to devour in this piercing memoir.

Would like a signed book? Click HERE, and pick it up at the store.

Would you like a signed book mailed to you or a friend? Click HERE.

 

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The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success

By Christopher L. Kukk. Drawing on new research in biology, neuroscience and economics, a practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home and in the community—provides a unique four-step program for becoming a compassionate achiever.

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The To-Do List

By Sharon Struth. Maggie Harris has her ultra-organized life well in hand, until she finds her neighbor and husband together, in her bed, and the tight hold she keeps on her world unravels, leaving her grasping for an escape. So how can she refuse when she’s handed the dream job of running her aunt’s bookstore and a chance for a fresh start? Even though the bookstore is in Brockport, Connecticut, her former hometown, and a place she’d vowed to leave behind forever.

When someone breaks into Maggie’s new business and leaves a threat on the wall, Detective Cooper Stanton is assigned the case. It’s been twenty years, but Coop hasn’t forgotten the way Maggie once charmed him at every turn—even with her controlling ways. This time, though, Coop refuses to let her seize the reins. What he doesn’t know is she plans to grab them anyway…and she’s got a secret she never shared.

The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World

By Abigail Tucker. Discusses the natural history of domesticated felines and how they achieved global domination, despite offering humans no practical benefits, through visiting researchers who discovered feline bones in the first human settlements and searching for house cats on the loose in Florida.

Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but Also My Mom’s, Which I Know Sounds Weird)

Navel GazingThe New York Times best-selling author (and Connecticut author!) and stand-up comedian, in a candid and humorous memoir, reexamines his life as a middle-aged guy and confronts his genetic legacy as he enters his 40s.

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