Events

Mike McIntire Author Talk and Book Signing 

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Monday, September 25, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

With little public debate or introspection, our institutions of higher learning have become hostages to the rapacious, smash-mouth entertainment conglomerate known, quaintly, as intercollegiate athletics. In Champions Way, New York Times investigative reporter Mike McIntire chronicles the rise of this growing scandal through the experience of the Florida State Seminoles, one of the most successful teams in NCAA history.

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his Times investigation of college sports, McIntire breaks new ground here, uncovering the workings of a system that enables athletes to violate academic standards and avoid criminal prosecution for actions ranging from shoplifting to drunk driving. At the heart of Champions Way is the untold story of a whistle-blower, Christie Suggs, and her wrenching struggle to hold a corrupt system to account. Together with shocking new details about prominent sports figures, including NFL quarterback Jameis Winston and former FSU coach Bobby Bowden, Champions Way shines a light on the ethical, moral, and legal compromises inherent in the making of a championship sports program.

Beyond the story of Florida State, McIntire takes readers on a journey through the history of college football, from its origins as a roughneck pastime coached by nineteenth-century professors to its current incarnation as a gold-plated behemoth that long ago outgrew its scholastic environs. Illuminated in rich and disturbing detail is the hidden financial ecosystem that nourishes hundred-million-dollar teams, from the hustlers who recruit players for schools and the athletic departments controlled by rich boosters to the universities whose academic mission and moral authority have been undermined. More than pointing out flaws, McIntire examines their causes and offers hope to those who would reform college sports.

Kevin Peraino Author Talk and Book Signing  

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

A gripping narrative of the Truman Administration’s response to the fall of Nationalist China and the triumph of Mao Zedong’s Communist forces in 1949–an extraordinary political revolution that continues to shape East Asian politics to this day.  In the opening months of 1949, U.S. President Harry S. Truman found himself faced with a looming diplomatic catastrophe–“perhaps the greatest that this country has ever suffered,” as the journalist Walter Lippmann put it. Throughout the spring and summer, Mao Zedong’s Communist armies fanned out across mainland China, annihilating the rival troops of America’s one-time ally Chiang Kai-shek and taking control of Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities. As Truman and his aides–including his shrewd, ruthless secretary of state, Dean Acheson–scrambled to formulate a response, they were forced to contend not only with Mao, but also with unrelenting political enemies at home. Over the course of this tumultuous year, Mao would fashion a new revolutionary government in Beijing, laying the foundation for the creation of modern China, while Chiang Kai-shek would flee to the island sanctuary of Taiwan. These events transformed American foreign policy–leading, ultimately, to decades of friction with Communist China, a long-standing U.S. commitment to Taiwan, and the subsequent wars in Korea and Vietnam.Drawing on Chinese and Russian sources, as well as recently declassified CIA documents, Kevin Peraino tells the story of this remarkable year through the eyes of the key players, including Mao Zedong, President Truman, Secretary of State Acheson, Minnesota congressman Walter Judd, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the influential first lady of the Republic of China.Today, the legacy of 1949 is more relevant than ever to the relationships between China, the United States, and the rest of the world, as Beijing asserts its claims in the South China Sea and tensions endure between Taiwan and the mainland.

Victoria Redel Author Talk and Book Signing

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

A luminous and richly layered novel evoking The Big Chill–the story of a group of lifetime friends who gather together to confront life, love, and now, mortality Before Everything is a celebration of friendship and love between a group of women who have known one another since they were girls. They’ve faced everything together, from youthful sprees and scrapes to mid-life turning points. Now, as Anna, the group’s trailblazer and brightest spark, enters hospice, they gather to do what they’ve always done–talk and laugh and help each other make choices and plans, this time in Anna’s rural Massachusetts home. Helen, Anna’s best friend and a celebrated painter, is about to remarry. The others face their own challenges–Caroline with her sister’s mental health crisis; Molly with a teenage daughter’s rebellion; Ming with her law practice–dilemmas with kids and work and love. Before Everything is as funny as it is bittersweet, as the friends revel in the hilarious mistakes they’ve seen one another through, the secrets kept and adventures shared. But now all sense of time has shifted, and the pattern of their lives together takes on new meaning. The novel offers a brilliant, emotionally charged portrait, deftly conveying the sweep of time over everyday lives, and showing how even in difficult endings, gifts can unfold. Above all it is an ode to friendship, and to how one person shapes the journeys of those around her.

Rich Cohen Author Talk and Book Signing

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Thursday, October 26, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

When Rich Cohen was eight years old, his father took him to see a Cubs game. On the way out of the park, his father asked him to make a promise. “Promise me you will never be a Cubs fan. The Cubs do not win,” he explained, “and because of that, a Cubs fan will have a diminished life determined by low expectations. That team will screw up your life.” As a result, Cohen became not just a Cubs fan but one of the biggest Cubs fans in the world. In this book, he captures the story of the team, its players and crazy days. He searches for the cause of the famous curse. Was it the billy goat, kicked out of Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 1945 World Series, or does it go back further, to the very origins of the franchise? Driven mad with futility, he went on the road with the team in search of answers, interviewed great players present and past, researched in libraries but also in the bleachers, double-fisted, a frosty malt in each hand, demanding answers. He came to see the curse as a burden but also as a blessing. Cubs fans are unique, emissaries from a higher realm, warning of hubris and vanity. The blue cap with the red C said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” He interviewed the architects of the 2016 Cubs, the team that broke the curse. Here’s what he asked: How the hell did you do it? He was at (almost) every game of the 2016 playoff run – a run that culminated in (maybe) the single greatest baseball game ever played. He was excited but also terrified. Losing is easy. What would it mean to win?  A mix of memoir, reporting, history and baseball theology, this book, forty years in the making, has never been written because it never could be — only with the 2016 World Series can the true arc of the story finally be understood.

New York Times bestselling author Rich Cohen is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and the author of Israel Is Real, Tough Jews, The Avengers, Monsters, The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones.  and the widely acclaimed memoir Sweet and Low. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine and Best American Essays. Cohen has won the Great Lakes Book Award, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding coverage of music. He lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with his wife, three sons and dog.

Michael Korda Author Talk and Book Signing

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Thursday,November 2, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

An epic of remarkable originality, Alone captures the heroism of World War II as movingly as any book in recent memory. Bringing to vivid life the world leaders, generals, and ordinary citizens who fought on both sides of the war, Michael Korda, the best-selling author of Clouds of Glory, chronicles the outbreak of hostilities, recalling as a prescient young boy the enveloping tension that defined pre-Blitz London, and then as a military historian the great events that would alter the course of the twentieth century.

For indeed, May 1940 was a month like no other. The superior German war machine blazed into France, as the Maginot Line, supposedly “as firmly fixed in place as the Pyramids,” crumbled in days. With the fall of Holland and Belgium, the imminent fall of Paris, the British Army stranded at Dunkirk, and Neville Chamberlain’s government in political freefall, Winston Churchill became prime minister on this historical nadir of May 10, 1941. Britain, diplomatically isolated, was suddenly the only nation with the courage and the resolve to defy Hitler.

Against this vast historical canvas, Korda relates what happened and why. We first meet him at the age of six, surrounded by his glamorous movie family: his stage actress mother; his elegant father, Vincent, soon to receive an Academy Award; and his devoted Nanny Low, with whom he cites his evening prayers. Even the cheery BBC bulletins that Michael listened to every night could not mask the impending catastrophe, the German invasion so certain that the young boy, carrying his passport on a string around his neck, was evacuated to Canada on an ocean liner full of children.

Such alarm was hardly exaggerated. No one, after all, could have ever imagined that the most unlikely flotilla of destroyers–Dutch barges, fishing boats, yachts, and even rowboats– would rescue over 300,000 men off the beach at Dunkirk and home to England. The miraculous return of the army was greeted with a renewed call for courage, and in the months that followed, the lives of tens of millions would be inexorably transformed, often tragically so, by these epochal weeks of May 1940.

It is this pivotal turning point in world history that Korda captures with such immediacy in Alone, a work that triumphantly demonstrates that even the most calamitous defeats can become the most legendary victories.

Michael Korda is the best-selling author of Hero, Clouds of Glory, and Charmed Lives. The former editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for his participation in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and makes his hcme in Dutchess County, New York.

Roz Chast Author Talk and Book Signing

Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Main Program Room
Friday, November 10, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

From the #1 NYT bestselling author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast’s new graphic memoir–a hilarious illustrated ode/guide/thank-you note to Manhattan as only she could write it.
For native Brooklynite Roz Chast, adjusting to life in the suburbs (where people own trees!?) was surreal. But she recognized that for her kids, the reverse was true. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange world of Manhattan: its gum-wad-dotted sidewalks, honey-combed streets, and “those West Side Story-things” (fire escapes). Their wonder inspired Going into Town, part playful guide, part New York stories, and part love letter to the city, told through Chast’s laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons.
Roz Chast grew up in Brooklyn. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978. Since then, she has published more than one thousand cartoons in the magazine. She has written and illustrated many books, including Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, What I Hate: From A to Z, and the collections of her own cartoons The Party After You Left and Theories of Everything. She is the editor of The Best American Comics 2016 and the illustrator of Calvin Trillin’s No Fair! No Fair! and Daniel Menaker’s The African Svelte, all published in Fall 2016.

 

See a selection of our past events.