The Middletown Rotary Club One Book One Middletown selection, "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand, author of "Seabiscuit," is the remarkable true World War II story of bombadier and athlete Louis Zamperini, who survived a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean and 46 harrowing days at sea in shark-infested waters.
- At the , author Elisabeth Petry will lead The Veterans Writing Group, “We Were There: Writing Your Military Experiences," Thursday at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room 2. Vets are invited to share their own stories in their own voice through this series. We encourage all veterans, either active or retired to come and write their experiences for their own benefit or to share with family and friends. Old Saybrook native Petry is a writer and former journalist and lawyer. Her first book, a collection of letters that she edited, was Can Anything Beat White?: A Black Family’s Letters. It is being issued in paperback in March 2012. Her second is At Home Inside: A Daughter’s Tribute to Ann Petry, published in 2008. Liz has also taught college English and conducted a playwriting workshop. She lives in Middletown with her husband, Lawrence Riley, who is a dog trainer and commander of the Veterans of the Vietnam War, Middletown.
- Amby Burfoot: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Running Well known Connecticut runner Amby Burfoot will discuss Laura Hillenbrand’s books Unbroken and Seabiscuit March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library. Hillenbrand's two famous non-fiction books are both about legendary distance runners, one four-legged and one with two legs. Burfoot will relate how his ignorance of one subject, horseracing, and his deep knowledge of the other, human running, colored his reading of the two works. He will also discuss how Hillenbrand's painstaking research--she never met either subject — brought her books to life, and how her own chronic illness stands ironically apart from the extreme athleticism of her heroes. Burfoot graduated from Wesleyan University in 1968, two months after winning the Boston Marathon. He has spent the last 35 years of his life writing and editing at Runners World Magazine, the world's most popular running magazine. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, Burfoot hopes to finish the Manchester Road Race for the 50th year in a row.
- Indira Karamcheti, associate professor of English at Wesleyan University, will lead a discussion of "Unbroken" March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library. She is also an associate professor of American studies and director of the Center for the Americas at Wesleyan. She earned her Ph.D from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
- The program, Military Challenges Faced Today in Prosecuting Known Terrorists, will address Guantanamo Bay detention camp — where we were, where we are now and where we should be going. Capt. Glenn Sulmasy, chairman, Department of Humanities and professor of law, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, will lecture on this major issue March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library. He will discuss confusion over the War on Terror and whether its combatants should be processed in military commissions that typically deal with armed conflicts or in civilian courts. He is the author of The National Security Court System: A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror.
- Singer/guitarist Enzo Boscarino offers a musical tour of some of his favorite regions of Italy March 31 at 2 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library. Enjoy a ride through the Italian countryside with Enzo Boscarino, originally of Siracusa, who will serenade us with traditional Italian music from Liguria (Sanremo, Genova), Veneto (Venezia), down the peninsula through Tuscany (Firenze), Lazio (Roma), Campania (Napoli, Sorrento) and the islands of Sicily and Sardegna, offering historical and cultural notes seasoned with good humor. A poet, scholar, fencing master, linguist, singer and guitarist, Boscarino has been dubbed “a true Renaissance Man" by The Vineyard Gazette. He has shared his love of the music of Italy’s various regions with audiences in Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, and NYC, as well as at First Night in Hartford. Boscarino left Italy at the age of 21 to pursue his education in the United States and now teaches at Central Connecticut State University and St. Joseph’s College.
- Join a dramatic presentation featuring real letters from the World War II era April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Hubbard Room at the Russell Library. “Dear Eva,” a non-fiction drama, will be read to us by Catherine Ladnier and Paul Janensch, the play’s authors. Most of the letters in the play were to Eva Lee Brown, Catherine’s mother, from relatives and friends. Some are from men facing the draft or in uniform in the middle of action. One is on a troopship sunk by the Germans. The women are dealing with shortages and missing their loved ones. The letters are candid, sad and funny, and all true. The common theme is a longing for a return to normal life. The letters in the play were among hundreds of letters from that era saved by Eva and discovered by her daughter, Catherine. She and her collaborator, Paul Janensch, Professor Emeritus of Journalism at Quinnipiac University, selected the best of the letters, arranged them into story lines and edited them down to their essentials. Nothing is made up. Catherine and her husband Mickey Robinson live in Greenwich. Paul and his wife Gail Janensch live in Bridgeport and Vero Beach, Fla.
- Ropes Course Challenge Day: YMCA Camp Ingersoll in Portland, April 6 (Good Friday) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be able to climb the tower, use the zip line or go on the Giant’s Swing. $10 for adults; $5 for children: $20 family maximum. All proceeds to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.