Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And, of course, Henry's is still there.

  Summertime is ostensibly the slow season here at the Library Society. A time to rest (a little) and plan (a lot) for a full fall schedule of events. Your loyal blogger was engaged in just such a planning meeting yesterday afternoon when I came upon Robert Molloy's 1947 book, Charleston: A Gracious Heritage. Disguised as a history text, but essentially a travel essay, Molloy's work is an interesting glimpse at Charleston in the immediate postwar years. Like most Charleston travelogues, there is frequently complaining about how much the city has changed, and how she stands to be ruined forever by the horrors of modernity.
  Because complaining about changes in Charleston is one of the (many) things that never changes in Charleston. And while there are plenty of little things in A Gracious Heritage that might merit comment, I'll share just one - change we can all be happy about. Because after last week's post praising the city's wonderful restaurant scene, this passage popped out:
  "Nowadays Charleston is not so well prepared for restaurant diners... The cooking in... the Francis Marion was good but not outstanding... There are two good seafood restaurants, the one called Henri's [sic], alongside the Market hall, and the Oyster Bay, on King Street just about Calhoun. The Villa Margherita, once famous for its cookery and the steepness of its prices, is now in the care of the United Seaman's Service, and the luncheon I had there was not notable... Though more natives than formerly now go out occasionally to dinner, the citizens don't make a practice of dining out."

  Thank heavens some things have changed, right?

UPCOMING EVENTS: I might have said summer was the slow season, but only in comparison to spring and fall! Carolina Day is, of course, on the 28th. Join us in the parade, or be square. Also, Thursday, June 30th, we'll have author Charlie Geer here at the Library talking about his three years living in Andalusia, Spain. Charlie's wife, Concha Munoz, will perform a little flamenco dancing as a festive cap to the event. 7PM, totally free. Also, a Bastille Day lecture and a few other summer surprises are in the events pipeline, so be on the lookout for some heat-beating activities here at the CLS!

Monday, June 6, 2011

On the other hand, Husk is a forty second walk from our back door...

It's funny how quickly one can discard a longstanding routine and become comfortable in a new one. Most of you are likely familiar with how pleasant the Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival is - three straight days of interesting speakers here at the Library Society, culminating with a big literary soiree Saturday afternoon. What you might not know is how expeditiously the Library staff transitions to the two hour long lunch break we get on LitFest days. Extra time to go out and have a long lunch here in one of the best cities in the nation for dining out? Yes, please.

Of course, your loyal blogger will live without the supersized lunch break. In fact, I'll probably live a little longer... so it goes.

This year's Festival was the most successful to date, with hundreds of attendees enjoying fine presentations by Bunny Hoest, Jay Parini, Ed Wilson, Alfred Malabre, Joshua Kendall, and Pat Conroy. Each of the speakers was wonderful in their own way: Bunny Hoest explaining all the hidden reference jokes in The Lockhorns, Jay Parini's explication/apology concerning the omission of The Great Gatsby in his 113 most important American books; Pat Conroy signing books for two straight hours.

And with that, it's summertime at the Library! Event season is officially over 'till fall. [Of course that doesn't mean we're getting too calm around here... Carolina Day is coming up soon, we're hosting a special Bastille Day event next month. Plus there's planning for all sorts of cool new fall events. And maybe a few summer surprises too.]

So stop by, check out the Literary Festival display (we've got some great rare books out... GWTW, To Kill A Mockingbird, the Porgo manuscript), and feel free to drop off a snack for your loyal blogger. He's hard pressed to make it all the way to Hominy Grill and back in a mere sixty minutes.