Booksink's HamletHub Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:06:00 -0400 The Book, and the Coffee

For many book lovers, it seems like a slam dunk, combining two favorite activities: drinking coffee and reading about it. Dave Egger's new book, "The Monk of Mokha," tells the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a young Yemeni immigrant who is adrift in the US without any clear career direction. Alkhanshali lands a job as a doorman at a high-rise in San Francisco and is inspired by a statue that he sees across the street to investigate the history of coffee. He discovers its origins in his own native country, inspiring him with a new direction in life. Before long, he becomes determined to reintroduce Yemen coffee to the world of high-end specialty imports, leading him on a journey to his own roots. His adventures and mishaps during the process are the compelling narrative of the epic hero, and the story is both entertaining and heart warming.

But, there's a kicker. What of the coffee itself?

The coffee is available on Amazon, and through the Port of Mokha website, which also graphically tells the coffee story. It is a compelling story of the power of dreams, of supporting cultural and political change by supporting the economic change inherent in supporting small growers. The coffee comes in two forms: the Yemen triology, a whole bean three pack, inscribed with the legend, "... coffee is about people" ($158 plus tax) and a cheaper medium roast, "Al Mokha: the world's first coffee" ($29.95 an Amazon choice).

We will admit that we were not ready to spend the big bucks to sample the unknown. Yet we would have been, had the coffee we bought overwhelmed us. We bought the lower priced Al Mokha, woke up early, prepared the coffee with more care than usual and, with visions of the "happy goats" who first led the Yemenis to the coffee bean dancing in our heads, took the first sip...

The coffee has rave reviews on the website. We wanted to like it. Really. It is, some say, "[an] Intriguing [blend] with a Unique Symphony of Citrus and Cocoa." Honestly though we are not sure where the citrus and cocoa notes went...We don't taste them. We shared the coffee with a member of the family who has the finest palate in the house (my spouse.) The verdict: "a bitter aftertaste. Not for me."

Sigh. The book is wonderful and inspiring. Well worth the read. The coffee? Not for me. Perhaps Port of Mokha needs to send us a high end sample?

]]> (Cia McAlarney) Readers Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:30:00 -0400
My Life Off the Post Road: Inventory Control

When my boys were young, I would go to COSTCO for “a few things,” spend $200 on things I didn’t need but were such a good deal that I couldn’t resist, and load it all into the back of the SUV.  I stored the vast quantities of toilet paper, diapers, and boxes of Goldfish all around the house: in the walk-in pantry, the linen closet, and the basement. I haven’t needed to buy a Q-Tip in 20 years.

Space became more restricted after I sold the house and moved into an apartment, but so did my demand for supplies, as the two grown boys were living elsewhere. I had an ample pantry and spacious shelves up to the ceiling above my washer and dryer. And since it was a two-and-a-half bedroom, I alone expanded into the space meant for absent others.

I shed many material items before I moved to a tiny one bedroom flat in England. The refrigerator is Lilliputian, the medicine cabinet nonexistent, and the “storage” closet only big enough for Henry the Hoover.

I studied the pros and cons of different inventory theories in both undergrad and graduate microeconomics courses. LIFO, FIFO… But personally, I had always applied the BALSIDRO method: Buy A Lot So I Don’t Run Out. Here in Stratford Upon Avon, I’m applying the Just-In-Time inventory approach. Buy just what you need, when you need it, and only just as much as you need. This minimizes inventory carrying costs and maximizes cash flow. Also, it has forced me to radically reconsider my habits as a consumer. They’ve changed considerably.

Need is the operative word. I try to be ruthless in deciding to distinguish that from what I want. I needed the shoe rack I bought and assembled myself for £7.99. I use it to keep my books off the floor so I can Henry Hoover the carpet.  I wanted the stunning white floral tapestry design Dr. Martens loafers.  I bought them anyway.  I didn’t say I’d perfected the method yet. But I pass up many, many things realizing I neither need them nor have any way to get them back to the States.

Shopping is not entertainment. In hindsight, I realize that when I was bored or lonely at home, I’d peruse a shop – for clothes, for books, even sometimes for groceries. The lack of car here makes that less practical as I have to walk to the shops and then lug purchases home. More importantly, I’m rarely bored or lonely, and that is a real blessing.  When I am, though, I walk down the Avon to feed the swans, go visit WS in Holy Trinity Church, or message my friends to go for a coffee or to see a film. I don’t go to The Gap.

Increasing inventory does not decrease anxiety. I often over-bought to quell that imaginary “what happens if I run out of conditioner?” disaster. I had a full bottle in each bathroom and three in reserve under the sink in the guest bathroom. I gave those unused, unopened bottles away when I moved. Now, I have one bottle in my shower. When I run out, I’ll run to Boots and get another. And if I have a day or two without, the gift of English dampness makes that virtually indiscernible. No amount of product can tame the dragon of constant, near 100 percent humidity.

The lack of car, time, and space has liberated me from stuff.  It’s a detachment I’ve become quite attached to.

Photos by Diane Lowman

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:27:36 -0400
Author Signing with Marie Bostwick at The Hickory Stick Bookshop on March 24

The Hickory Stick Bookshop will host a book signing with Marie Bostwick in celebration of her new book, "Just in Time," on Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m. Fans are encouraged to pre-order the book through The Hickory Stick Bookshop to receive an autographed copy and a free party favor from Bostwick herself.

In her most powerful novel yet, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick weaves the uplifting story of three grief support group dropouts--women united in loss and rescued through friendship.

Fifteen years ago, Grace Saunders vowed to take her beloved husband for better or worse. Now she's coming to terms with difficult choices as she crafts a memory quilt from scraps of their life together--a life torn to shreds by an accident that has left him in a coma. Enduring months of limbo, Grace is at least not alone.

Nan has been widowed for 20 years, but now, with her children grown, her home feels painfully empty. Even the company of her golden retriever, Blixen, and a series of other rescue dogs, can't fill the void. Then there's Monica, a feisty woman with a biting wit who's reeling following her husband's death--and the revelation of his infidelity.

As for Grace, a chance evening with a man she barely knows brings a glimmer of joy she hasn't felt since the tragedy--along with feelings of turmoil and guilt. But her struggle to cope will force all three women to face their fears, share their deepest secrets--and lean on one another as they move from grief and isolation to hope, and a second chance at happiness . . . called the book, "Beautiful, thought-provoking, tragic and redeeming, The Second Sister is a feel-good goldmine."

Marie Bostwick was born and raised in the northwest. In the three decades since her marriage, Bostwick and her family have moved frequently, living in eight different states at 18 different addresses, including Northwest Connecticut. These experiences have given Bostwick a unique perspective that enables her to write about people from all walks of life and corners of the country with insight and authenticity. Bostwick currently resides in Portland, where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts. Visit her at

This event is free and open to the public. If you are unable to attend, you may reserve a signed copy of "Just In Time"by calling The Bookshop at (860) 868 0525.

The Hickory Stick Bookshop is located at 2 Green Hill Road in Washington Depot, Conn. For more information, please visit or email

]]> (The Hickory Stick Bookshop) Authors Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:11:36 -0400
Wilton Library's Human Library on March 24

Spending quality time with a good book often means opening yourself up to new thinking and ideas. Imagine if that book were an actual human being, conversing with you one-on-one. Wilton Library’s Human Library provides just that opportunity.

The 'books' available on March 24 from 1 - 5 p.m. are human books: community members who have volunteered to share their stories in order to break down barriers based on age, race, sexual orientation, religion, ability, lifestyle choices, or other aspects of their identity. The library is offering 20 “books” ranging in topics from ageism to anorexia, from racism to surviving sexual assault, from being Christian to being Pagan, from defeating addiction to living with Alzheimer’s and much more.

There is no advance registration for the program. People can sign up for one-on-one 10-minute conversations with the human books when they come to the library on March 24 between 1 and 5 p.m. For more information about the Human Library, click here.

The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton, Conn. For more information, visit

]]> (Wilton Library) Readers Fri, 16 Mar 2018 05:06:41 -0400
Book Signing with Ray Allen at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore on March 29

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore will welcome University of Connecticut and Boston Celtics basketball great Ray Allen on March 29 at 7 p.m. for a book signing of his new memoir, "From the Outside." Allen and his wife, Shannon, a Middletown native, operate the in-store café, Grown.

Tickets are available online at for $27.99 and include a copy of "From The Outside," which Ray Allen
will sign at the book signing.

In "From the Outside," to be released on March 27, the record-holding two-time National Basketball Association champion reflects on his work ethic, his on-the-court friendships and rivalries, the great teams he has played for, and what it takes to have a long and successful career.

Ray Allen, the most prolific three-point shooter of all time, played in the NBA for 18 years, winning two championships (2008 Boston Celtics, 2013 Miami Heat). Allen, who went to the University of Connecticut, was the 1996 Big East Player of the Year. As a pro, he averaged more than 20 points a game for 10 straight seasons.

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore is located at 413 Main Street in Middletown Conn. For more information, phone (860) 685-3939.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Authors Fri, 16 Mar 2018 05:03:22 -0400
Singing the Blues in Connecticut

Zip a Dee Doo Dah, Zip a Dee Dah.  My oh, my what a wonderful day…Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder. It’s the truth, it’s actual,  everything is satisfactual. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, wonderful feeling, wonderful day (Song of the South, 1946).

With patches of snow still covering the thawing ground, the Eastern Bluebird appears, waking all living creatures and breaking the cold spell of winter with his melodious songs. The bluebirds are not the only ones singing. This docile little animal has the natural ability to make people happy. In the words of renowned poet Henry David Thoreau, “The bluebird is like a speck of clear blue sky seen near the end of a storm, reminding us of an ethereal region and a heaven which we had forgotten.”

A radiant color blue with a warm reddish breast, the male bluebird is as beautiful as he is charming. According to Tom Meyer, a trained bluebird rehabilitator referred to as “Mr. Bluebird” in his hometown of Bedford, NY the male arrives in the northeast in late February, ahead of his mate, and searches for a home worthy to present to her. Once he finds it, he beckons her with joyful chirps to come and approve one of the nest boxes he has selected to raise their family. “He will sit on top of the house fluttering and may show her 3 or 4 spots, just like a real estate agent,” chuckles Meyer. The female, who has lighter blue wings and tail, a brownish throat and breast and grey crown, gets busy creating a nest and promptly lays 4-5 eggs. She diligently incubates her eggs for two weeks. Once hatched, mom and dad share the responsibility of feeding the brood insects. “They kind of alternate, you’ll see the female go in and then the male and as the babies grow, the insects get bigger and bigger,” explains Meyer. It’s the glory and awe of nature at work-  a beautiful story of cohabitation, parenting and shared responsibility.

Believe it or not, if not for the effort and intervention of Eastern Bluebird loving humans, today, spring would arrive without the beauty and promise of the bluebird. There were several decades spanning the years from 1900-1970 when it was not easy for the kind spirited bluebird to find a natural nesting cavity.  Melodee Benoit, administrative assistant to the grounds department and bluebird monitor at the private GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, is dedicated to the preservation of the Eastern Bluebird. She explains that urbanization caused the Eastern Bluebird to compete with other cavity nesters for a place to raise their young. The submissive bluebird lost out to more aggressive birds such as The House Sparrow and the European Starling.  

”Back in the 70’s, a huge part of increasing the bluebird population was making people aware of the bluebird and their plight and how they weren’t thriving. ‘Backyard blue birders’ started putting up bluebird boxes,” explains Benoit. “I’ve put up more than 2,000 bluebird boxes,” Meyer humbly adds.  On his list: Bedford friend and neighbor, actress Glen Close. “About 20 years ago, Glen called me to put up some boxes.  I remember taking her daughter, Annie, who is now 22, on my shoulders so she could see the bluebirds, she said, “Oh, they look like pencil erasers,” chuckles Mayer.  In addition, after Christopher Reeve’s  horseback riding accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down, Meyer received a call from Reeve’s wife. “Dana asked me to put up a box on their back lawn,” says Meyer.

Benoit credits Meyer for making it possible for GlenArbor Golf Club to launch a successful bluebird program. Working in tandem with Benoit, Meyer put up 22 boxes at GlenArbor. “We have an environmental program at the club and the bluebird program is part of that,” explains Benoit.  Once a week, Benoit and Meyer travel the course in a golf-cart checking on each bluebird box. The club recently won an award from the North American Bluebird society for environmental stewardship. “Since 2002, we’ve had 809 bluebirds that we’ve fledged on our property alone,” explains Benoit. “They claim that there are more bluebirds coming out of nest boxes that people put up than natural cavities,” adds Meyer.

As a bluebird rehabilitator, Meyer is often called upon when a bluebird is in danger. Benoit recalls a time when bluebird babies were left alone in a nest. “Usually once a year we have to orphan a bluebird.  I can remember calling Tom for help. I put the baby birds in my hands and blew warm air on them. Tom got a heating pad and we put them into a box.” Benoit cared for them until she could add them to a nest box with other bluebirds about the same age. A fascinating trait of the Eastern Bluebird is their willingness to care for another bluebird’s young. “Those parents will then take over as adoptive parents,” explains Benoit.

While having a backyard nest-box is a fantastic way to assure the population of bluebirds continues to increase, Benoit says, ” It’s a commitment, if someone wants to have a bluebird box, they’ve got to monitor it, that’s part of the success. You need to know what’s going on inside the box. You need to check on the babies,” explains Benoit. The Eastern Bluebird can nest up to three times a season. “When they’re done nesting, you need to clean it out right away because they need to get back in there and do their thing again.”

The preservation and recovery of the Eastern Bluebird continues, in backyards, parks and golf courses throughout the northeast. “It’s hard not to love this little bird,” says Benoit. “If I could use one word to describe the bluebird, I’d say magical,” adds Meyer. What’s more, the bluebird is the state bird of New York. That’s one more thing to sing about.

*This story appeared in Ridgefield Magazine

]]> (Kerry Anne Ducey) Local Writers Fri, 16 Mar 2018 04:34:00 -0400
Monday in Westport: Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand Playreading of Award-winning Drama “The Whipping Man”

Westport Country Playhouse will present a Script in Hand playreading of the award-winning drama “The Whipping Man” by Matthew Lopez, a tale of loyalty, deceit, and deliverance, on Monday, March 19, at 7 p.m. The reading will be directed by Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist and curator of the playreading series. Tickets are $20 each.

“While this beautiful play has been done all across the country, I’m pleased to be able to share it with a Connecticut audience,” said Keefe. “It is shocking and moving, with moments of humor. It seems the perfect play for the Passover and Easter holiday season.”

In the post-Civil War South, three men are tied to each other by history and faith but are also bound by secrets. A badly wounded Jewish Confederate soldier returns home at war’s end to find that his family has fled to the countryside. Remaining in the city mansion are two former slaves, also raised by his family as Jews. With Passover upon them, the three men unite to celebrate the holiday, even as they struggle to comprehend their new relationships at a crossroads of personal and national history.

Westport Country Playhouse is located at 25 Powers Court, off Route 1 in Westport. For more information, visit, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177 or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529.


]]> (WCP) Beyond Books Fri, 16 Mar 2018 03:54:41 -0400
On the Children's Shelf: "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio

Normally, I read a book, then see the movie. Then I get frustrated that they didn't make the book into the 15 hour movie I saw in my mind while I read. Until now. My daughter read "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio a while ago. She immediately told me I needed to read it, but somehow I missed it on my "to be read" list.
She recently received the movie as a gift and asked for a family movie night. I could have raced and read the book first, but she said it was so good that I knew I needed to give it proper time to read (not race through it before watching the movie). So I promised to read it afterwards.
While the book and movie can never be 100 percent exactly the same, she was pleased with how similar the two were. I thought the movie was excellent and knew the book would definitely be amazing. The book covers so many important topics...being different, finding friends, changing friendships, growing up, sibling relationships, bullying, and more. Somehow Palacio packs it all in there in a way that everyone can relate to. It has lead to powerful discussions in our family. We've talked about how we treat each other, we've talked about bullying, we've talked about the things that make us different and the ones that make us the same. Above all, we've talked about my favorite quote:

"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."

Choose kind. I've said those two words so many times since our family movie night. While we have so many different hopes and dreams for each one of our children, the biggest a good, kind person. Choose kind. 
Once in a while, a book and its movie adaptation can both be incredible and amazing. In this case, I don't prefer one over the other. Read the book. Watch the movie. Choose kind.
]]> (Jessica Collins) Readers Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:51:30 -0500
My Life Off the Post Road: Snowmaggdeon

My niece July and her boyfriend, Sam, were due on Friday. So were a massive nor’easter in New England and a massive snowstorm in old England. I experienced the same déjà vu of angst awaiting my boys in early December. Would they get out okay? Would they get in okay? Would they get up to the apparently far reaches of the Siberian West Midlands okay?

“It never snows here!” 

“We haven’t had this much snow in seven years.”

“It hasn’t snowed twice in one winter since 1991.”

True or not, friends and strangers showered me with weather lore as comforting as the tissue paper insulation in my flat’s walls. In the midst of my anxiety bath, the B&B owner emailed to say the weather had firmly stuck her in Berlin, and she’d not make it for Julie and Sam's check in.

But Saint George of England (and my late mother and father to whom I regularly turn with requests for counsel and favors) watched over them and landed their plane safely at Heathrow and found them the only available Uber driver on the planet apparently, who probably accepted the fare because he thought he was meant to take them to Stratford, London and not Stratford Upon Avon. Busy as he was with getting Julie and Sam to Shakespeare Land, he never did manage to get the B&B owners back all weekend. As of this writing, they’re still enjoying their extended “holiday” in Berlin but graciously managed from there to arrange for others to open and heat the place so Julie and Sam could enjoy the warmth of the fuzzily-covered hot water bottles the B&B provides, among other amenities.

Delighted to have family here, delighted to have some quality one-on-one time with Julie and Sam, and delighted to regale yet another set of visitors with the glories of Shakespeare and these environs, we had an amazing and wonderful weekend. Despite the weather.

They hail from Boston, so cold, white weather is nothing new to them. But in all of New England, when it snows, we plow, shovel, sand, and salt, so that within a few hours, if not immediately, we just get on with it.  Here, paralysis sets in. We seemed to be the sole souls wandering around Stratford on their first day. Sleety snow literally pelted our eyeballs as we stood on the bridge over the Avon by Lucy’s Mill. “This is so beautiful!” they exclaimed.  The next few days we clocked over 10,000 steps per day, all of them through a curious mixture of packed snow, grey mush, and slick black ice. In the States, home and shop owners must, by law, clear the sidewalks in front of their property. Streets, including remote side ones, are plowed out within 24 hours even in the worst storms, or the citizens rally in angry mobs akin to those storming the castle in Beauty and the Beast. Here, shops close, people stay inside, or walk cautiously with ski poles reserved for actual skiing at home. Establishments close. Cars remain buried until the temperature rises to whatever the Celsius thermometer deems adequate to melt the mess.

The fact is that, like good hearty New Englanders, we did not let the weather daunt us, and by the third day, we’d visited every Shakespeare Birthplace Trust property, paid homage to his remains at Holy Trinity, fed the swans twice, and even went tropical in the Butterfly Farm. We hit every open pub and had fish and chips despite Fin and Fizz closing with no notice, disappointing us (reservations having been secured). They experienced blinding snow and its messy aftermath, overcast damp, driving rain, and even a few hours of glistening, glorious sun.

They are on their way to London now, and the Siberian weather system is….going back to Siberia? Petering out in the North Sea? Gone.  Gone. Gone. I only miss Julie and Sam and hope the nasty weather stays in parts far north for their visit to Londontown.

Photos (click to enlarge) by Diane Lowman

]]> (Diane Meyer Lowman) Local Writers Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:41:19 -0500
Spring Poetry Series on Goethe's Faust Begins March 15 at Wilton library

The great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote:

Poetry if you would know,
To its country you must go;
If the poet you would know,
To the poet's country go.

Goethe’s tragedy, "Faust," is one of the greatest masterpieces not only of German literature but of world literature as well. His work will be the subject of the Wilton Library's spring poetry series, led by Dr. Gerald Weiss. The free and open to the public four-week series begins March 15 from 10:30 - 12 p.m.

Although no English translation can capture the beauty of his poetry or the depth of Goethe's thought, an exposure to his various poetical forms and the relevance of his underlying message for our own time is too important to ignore. As someone has said: 'It is the poem of Humanity.” Since this poetic drama is too vast to cover in four short sessions, this course will focus on a few selected scenes that best illustrate his poetic genius and develop the main characters through the themes of passion, pathos, power, and politics.

Dr. Gerald Weiss earned both a B.A and an M.A. in Classical Languages from St. Louis University. He pursued graduate studies in Philosophy and Theology at Innsbruck University (Austria) and later at the Gregorian University (Rome, Italy) where he received his Ph.D. While writing his dissertation, he taught for a year at the Rome Center of Loyola University of Chicago. Upon returning to the United States he taught Philosophy/Theology/Religious Studies at Seton Hall,  St. Louis, and various other universities. He has had one book published and written numerous articles for educational, religious, and spiritual periodicals and journals. Since retiring he has devoted most of his free time to painting and has exhibited some of his works at the Wilton Library.

Poetry packets are available at front desk. Advance registration is required. To register, please click here or call (203) 762-6334. By registering for the first session, you will automatically be registered for all four sessions.

The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton, Conn. For more information, visit

]]> (Wilton Library) Clubs Fri, 09 Mar 2018 07:25:48 -0500
5 Websites for the Curious and Idle

When I was young my father announced that I should "understand my mother's problem." As alarming as that might sound, what he apparently meant was that she had a "peripatetic intelligence." One jaunt through our ancient massive Webster's dictionary later, I understood what he meant. My mother never met a fact she didn't like: the more obscure, the better. She combed the back pages of the Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and any dusty volume she could find for scraps of information she could announce abruptly, at inopportune times. "Madagascar has hissing cockroaches!" (over dinner), "Einstein's brain traveled cross country!" You get the idea.

In all honesty though, much of my adult late night life is spent in a meandering search for these tidbits of fascination; these days though they are easily found on the black hole that can be the internet. That said, here are some of the most fascinating web sites collecting and reporting the ephemera of modern life:

1) Brain Pickings: An inventory of the meaningful life. Founded and maintained by a Bulgarian writer living in New York, this blog offers a daily column connecting works of art, science and musings on the connections between them. There are no ads, rather donations are requested. Always interesting if sometimes obscure. 

2) Atlas Obscura like the book of the same name, is a website devoted to connecting obscure places to interesting traditions, histories and stories. In the best tradition of exploring the imaginative spaces of maps, the website is always fascinating and colorful, in the tradition of Ripley's Believe it or Not, or Barnum's American Museum.

3) The Archive, actually a newsletter (free subscription) it explores historical trivia, obscure places, and forgotten books. Well worth the weekly updates. Visit to subscribe.

4) The Old Bailey online. Not a curated website like the others, but a digitized collection of the records of the central criminal court of London dating back to 1674. This archive is, "A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court." Browse to explore and curate your own tales of long forgotten crimes and characters.

5) Seeker. If science is your thing, with a side order of vague conspiratorial bent, this is the site for you. Great imagery along with the articles.

What's your favorite way to waste time on the web?

]]> (Cia McAlarney) Local Writers Fri, 09 Mar 2018 05:48:00 -0500
Bethel's Byrd's Books welcomes back Audubon Society, March 20th

Do you want to know how to maintain bluebird houses? Do you want to know "why, oh, why"? On Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m., Byrd's Books will welcome Kate Pratt from the Audubon Society at Bent of the River to explain how to attract bluebirds and how to maintain their houses without a huge amount of effort. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Related books will be available.To save a spot, go to

Audubon Center Bent of the River is a 700-acre nature sanctuary and education center and is a part of Audubon Connecticut, a state office of the National Audubon Society, and the Atlantic Flyway. To learn more about the Center's dedication to Audubon's open space and working lands conservation efforts in Connecticut, visit

Byrd's Books is located at 126 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, Conn. For more information, visit byrdsbooks.comor, or phone (203) 730 BYRD (2973).

]]> (Ted Killmer) Authors Fri, 09 Mar 2018 04:49:00 -0500
Author Jim Bubba Bay Shares Story of His Near Death Experience at The Angel Cooperative on March 17

On March 17 at 3:30 p.m., author Jim “Bubba” Bay will share the story of his near death experience at Ridgefield’s Angel Cooperative.

Nine years ago, late one November night, Jim Bay went out for a walk near his home in Pine Plains, New York, and stepped backward to avoid an oncoming car, only to plummet 20 feet into a rocky ravine, breaking 23 bones in his body, including his skull and 11 ribs.

What happened next, as Bay contemplated the shock that no doubt lay in store for the person who might find his body days later, inspired the title of his 2014 book, “Miracle on Hammertown Road.” In this memoir, Bay not only describes the remarkable experience of his conversation with God, appearing in that “white light” that has been mentioned by so many people who experience a Near Death Experience, but he also describes how he found peace following the death of two of his six children – his infant son James and his teenage son Robert.

Following countless surgeries and rounds of physical rehabilitation, Bay has returned to work at his family’s gas station and their landscaping business, and now feels compelled to share his story with others, reassuring them through the challenges in their own lives. “If God can appear to me, and let me know that it was not yet my time,” he says, “then clearly God is available to all of us.”

Bay has already begun planning his second book, this time sharing the stories of the many people who thank him for writing “Miracle on Hammertown Road” and offering a story that consoles them through their own difficult times. “So many times,” Bay says, “people come up to me and say that they want to tell me something they’ve never told anyone else. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that we really are put here on earth to help each other, and if my story can give hope to others, that makes it all worthwhile.”

The Angel Cooperative is located at 51 Ethan Allen Hwy in Ridgefield. Conn. For more information, click here.




]]> (Tom Martin) Authors Fri, 09 Mar 2018 02:52:00 -0500
Third Saturdays Family Workshop at The Aldrich on March 17

Third Saturdays at The Aldrich continue on March 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a Family Workshop that is free for visitors of all ages.

Artist Lisa Scroggins will lead participants to create messy mixed-media masterpieces by twisting and layering tissue paper and glue to create unexpected textures, patterns, and shapes.

Times are as follows:

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: ages 2 to 5. 
12 - 1 p.m. break 
1 - 3 p.m.: ages 6 to 10 

The Aldrich is located at 258 Main Street. Learn more here.

]]> (Books, Ink editors) Beyond Books Thu, 08 Mar 2018 23:01:00 -0500
On the Children's Shelf: Read, Currently Reading, and To Read

Here is my latest list of books I recently finished, am currently reading, or plan to read shortly, and I recommend them all:
"The Last Ever After" (The School for Good and Evil #3) by Soman Chainani. I just finished it, and this one was my favorite (so far) in the series. It answered so many questions I've had and drew together story lines that I wasn't expecting.
"The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes. I just finished this book as well. This is Estes' story of a young girl who is bullied by her classmates and is pulled out of school by her father to move to a city where they will be more accepted. The children realize how wrong their actions were and are upset it is too late to apologize. The lesson to never stand by or go along with bullying when you know it is wrong was well presented, and I would definitely recommend this book.
"Quests for Glory" (The School for Good and Evil #4) by Soman Chainani. When I start a series, I am unable to stop until I'm out of books, so I'm diving into book four now and can't wait to see where this story goes!
"The War that Saved my Life" by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This has been recommended to me several times, and I need to read it.
"Home of the Brave" by Katherine Applegate. One of my children picked up a copy to give to her younger sibling and raved about how good it was. Now I need to read it.
What are you reading on this snowy day?
]]> (Jessica Collins) Readers Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:41:41 -0500