Museum Pass: The Florence Griswold Museum

Hello Friends! 

Did you know that libraries carry passes to museums and national parks? 

   If you are looking for a little bit of culture or an inexpensive (probably free) date night your library can help you!!!!!!

Just like borrowing a book, you can go to your library and borrow a museum pass!

 The Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum

   Recently, I headed to the Florence Griswold Museum which I knew NOTHING about. I had been told by several people to check it out but for some reason I didn't listen!! Shame on me because this place is SO COOL!!!!!

Little bit of background, Florence Griswold inherited her family's estate in 1890. She was unmarried (gasp!) and had no siblings. She was alone and needed to find a way to pay off her parent's debt so she decided to turn her enormous house into an artists retreat. 

 Florence Griswold Museum

Florence Griswold Museum

Every summer a group of painters (mostly men, mostly impressionists) would take up residency in her home. 


   The museum has lovely gardens where the trees were just starting to bloom and every flower was getting ready to pop. The river was off in the distance and framed with swaying pale grasses. 


The porch of the main house was so inviting! I sat on the steps and imagined the boisterous conversations that took place over the clinking of crystal. 

   The Florence Griswold Museum

 The Florence Griswold Museum

   The best part about Griswolds' house were the beautifully painted panels and doors. For twenty years, her guests would practice their talents on her house. The result is a massive collection of artistic expression.

nude door.png

The dining room was like a dream.


     A library complete with a door painting of a cow?! 
Cue heart eyes.!!

   Griswolds' house was a wonderful surprise. I had no idea I would enjoy it so much. It was an added bonus because the real reason I got all dressed up to visit the museum was the temporary exhibit
Pen to Paper: Artists' Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. 

                                         Saul Steinberg  1967

                                      Saul Steinberg 1967

     This exhibit, now closed, was a terrific way to spend the afternoon. I was in awe of the collection which included many artists that I idealize. It was so interesting to see love letters written in their scribbled hand or mundane notes in beautiful flowing cursive. It was such an inspiration that I couldn't wait to get home and write letters to all my favorite people. 

                                        Louis Lozowick  1932

                                     Louis Lozowick 1932

                                           Maxfield Parrish

                                        Maxfield Parrish

This exhibit was such a  graceful example of the dying
art of letter writing. 

                                            Joseph Cornell    1968

                                         Joseph Cornell 1968

                     Willard Metcalf   to Florence Griswold 1905

                  Willard Metcalf to Florence Griswold 1905

                                                                                                   John Sloan   Memory  1906

                                                                                                 John Sloan Memory 1906

    A huge THANK YOU!!! to the crew over at the Florence Griswold Museum! I am so grateful for the day I had. I suggest that everyone go visit! 

If in Connecticut, you can grab a    library pass
and then your admission is FREE!!
Go check it out!!!! 


Hop Picks for May 2018

Hello friends!

The weather is warm and it is time to celebrate!!

  These pleasant days call for making a guest list and planning a party. What better way to get in the spirit of the season than with a library book featuring a fantastic celebration?

These books all feature wonderful parties, intriguing guests and a lot of drama. I suggest you park yourself under a tree, break out your favorite sparkling beverage and take note of what to do (and what not to do) during this celebratory season.


    When talking about parties, the best place to start would be with F. Scott Fitzgerald's work. The Great Gatsby is a perfect example of the lavish celebrations that categorized the 1920s Jazz Age. These sparkling soirees were complete with cascading champagne mountains and ritzy musicians that would play all night long. 

   While I love The Great Gatsby, I am head over heels for The Beautiful and Damned. It has been said that Fitzgerald based his protagonists on his wife Zelda and himself. The book is full of drama in both tragic AND deliciously petty ways. It is a fascinating read. Like The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned also has glorious descriptions of the decadence of the era with a deep look  into the self destruction that can happen with such a lifestyle. 


   Speaking of decadence, I knew very little about Truman Capote's Black and White Ball until I read Deborah Davis detailed retelling. Apparently, Truman Capote only had to write one novel (In Cold Blood) because he was really, really good at planning a party. A party that was so grand that people are STILL talking about it. Party of the Century is an intriguing little book but if you don't have time to read it I suggest you at least check out the photographs. So fun!


   Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books and although it is not about a party, I am including it because it has a wonderful party scene. Have you read this? Seen the film? Well, for those of you who haven't Anne invites Diana over for a fancy tea party. Anne thinks she is serving raspberry cordial (a syrupy liquid that you could add to lemonade or seltzer) in fact, she is serving brandy. Well, Diana gets wasted... yikes! It is an awkward and silly scene that quaintly handles a child's struggle with proper etiquette and a responsibility way beyond her age.

   Recently, this wonderful story was turned into a graphic novel. Mariah Mariden's adaptation has a lot less dialogue but it doesn't need it because Brenna Thummler's illustration are remarkable. The faces are strange, not pretty or angelic and her color choices are bold. Seriously, even if you are not a fan of graphic novels, this book is so GORGEOUS! I love that I could see a new perspective on a novel I was so familiar with. 


The illustrations are strange and beautiful!!!


   I couldn't complete this list without a nod to Bret Easton Ellis's gripping novel Less Than Zero. This book is about the CRAZY party culture in Los Angeles in the 1980s. While this novel is written in a minimalist style, the actions and grit of the characters are like a punch in the face. I read this book in high school and then again for this list. Still shocking, still emotional, still a classic example of the disillusionment that can happen when you grow up. 


 This is Where I Leave You deserves an honorable mention.

   This book is both silly and emotional. The story follows the Foxman siblings as they "celebrate" the life and mourn the passing of their father. This is Where I Leave You is not full of streamers and glitter but it is about a family reluctantly staying in the same house (for seven days) to eulogize their father's life.
   Also, I am mentioning this book because in the second chapter there is the most awkward scenario involving birthday cake that I have ever read! If you are looking for a quick read that will have you laughing and thinking about all those BIG questions. Check out this book! 

   This list was one of the more challenging ones I have had to put together. Often when there is a party in literature something tragic happens. I wanted a list that was diverse and leaned more towards lighthearted and less well, murder-y. What books would you put on this list???

"Let's Loiter and Learn Something"

Big News!

Hello Friends!

I have some super exciting news!!!!!

I am so excited to announce that I am officially the
new COHOST of iCRV radio's  Library Chat.

   iCRV radio is bringing  positive news and lightheartedness to the Connecticut River Valley. I am so, so, so over the moon to be a part of such a creative group of people. 

           Me looking so sleepy with the fantastic Gwen Pond.

          Me looking so sleepy with the fantastic Gwen Pond.

   You can listen to the archives or you can listen to Gwen Pond and I LIVE Thursday mornings at 9am. We laugh, we get rowdy and we have lots and lots to say about the awesome library universe. 

   Check us out and if you have ideas, book recommendations or think your librarian should be a guest on the show just send me an email at 

This Thursday, in honor of mother's day we are dedicating the whole show to parents in literature. It is going to be hilarious, informative and I have a few surprises up my sleeve. 

 Follow me on Instagram for updates!

   When I talk about something (an article, book, etc.) on the radio I will be posting  it on my feed too. Instagram  is a terrific way to interact with my fellow library fans and book worms. 

Hope everyone is enjoying this delightful change in weather.

Thanks for checking in! 

Kate B