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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Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England by David K. Leff

Maple SugaringWe celebrate David Leff’s new book, “Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England”.

About the book:

Maple Sugaring gives readers an intimate look at the art and science of America’s favorite sweet. These stories, told by real-life sugarmakers, reveal how this ancient industry has continued into the twenty-first century. Thanks to the newest technology, and patience, New England sugarmakers are still keeping it real. A former maple sugarmaker and board member of the Maple Syrup Producers’ Association of Connecticut, David Leff takes us on a journey into the very heart of New England’s character. Along the way he talks with the sugar gurus, who share their expertise, insights, and anecdotes about their experiences in the business. What makes maple sugaring such a beloved tradition? Is it marketing savvy, family tradition, or something deeper–and harder to tap? This book is for anyone with a sweet tooth who is curious about the science, or who simply enjoys a good story. Maple Sugaring is full of wisdom, quirky characters, and recipes.

About the author: David K. Leff

Leff, author of numerous essays and stories for the Hartford Courant and other periodicals, is former Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He has served as chairman of the Collinsville Historic District Commission, and as a volunteer firefighter, among other civic activities.

Gregg Mangan: On This Day in Connecticut History

On this Day CT histGregg Mangan gave an author talk and sign copies of his new book, “On This Day in Connecticut History” on Saturday May 9th at 4:00p.m.

About the book:

Connecticut’s character runs much deeper than breathtaking fall foliage and quaint coastal towns. One day at a time, author Gregg Mangan chronicles fascinating episodes in state history, from the earliest European settlements to the modern era. After a lengthy debate, the state senate voted in favor of “Yankee Doodle” as the official state song on March 16, 1978. Bridgeport’s General Electric Company completed work on the bazooka on June 14, 1942. On the morning of December 4, 1891, the only four-train collision in American history occurred at the railroad station in East Thompson. Each date on the calendar holds a nugget of knowledge in this celebration of Constitution State history.

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