"I approach music...as a way of knowing the world," said New Yorker music critic and award-winning author Alex Ross in the introduction to his new book, Listen to This. Taking its title from a 2004 essay in which Ross described his late-blooming discovery of pop music, the book offers a view of the musical scene from the Renaissance to Radiohead, showcasing the best of Ross' writing from more than a decade at The New Yorker.

On Monday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m., at Westport Library, Ross will talk about his book, whose passionate, insightful and often witty essays in the end teach us how to listen to music. Free and open to the public, the talk will take place in the library's McManus Room, and books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.

Ross has been the music critic for The New Yorker since 1996. He is also the author of the international bestseller The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award.

`Herding Donkeys' examines

Obama's grassroots election

The 2004 election saw the Republicans grab the White House, both houses of Congress, 28 governorships and a majority of state legislatures, leaving the Democrats blinking and disheartened in its wake. In his book newly released book, Herding Donkeys, Ari Berman, political correspondent for The Nation, explores the unlikely grassroots movement engineered by then-DNC Chairman Howard Dean that would lay the groundwork for Obama's historic electoral victory. On Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m., at Westport Library, Berman will talk about his new book and the grassroots movement that not only ushered Obama into office but also sowed the seeds of dissent that would produce the current legislative stalemate and intraparty fighting. The talk will be held in the library's McManus Room, and books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.

Berman is a political correspondent for The Nation and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at the Nation Institute. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and National Public Radio.

Mysery duo to sign books,

read from latest novels

Mystery fans, mark your calendar for Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m., when acclaimed whodunit authors S.J. Rozan and Daniel Judson will be at Westport Library to talk with the Connecticut Post's Joe Meyers about mystery-writing and their new books, On the Line and Voyeur.

On the Line is Edgar-winner Rozan's 10th novel featuring New York City PIs Bill Smith and Lydia Chin, who, this time, find the tables turned when Lydia gets kidnapped and Bill, whom the cops consider a suspect in at least one murder, has to find her alone.

Shamus-winner Judson's Voyeur features former Manhattan gumshoe-turned-South Hampton-liquor-store-owner Rehmer, who gets drawn into investigating the disappearance of a former employee when her mother fears that she'll be next targeted for murder. The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the McManus Room. Books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.

Rozan, a native New Yorker and former architect in a practice that focused on police stations, firehouses and zoos, is the author of 11 novels. Her work has won the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero and Macavity awards for Best Novel and the Edgar for Best Short Story. In 2003, she was an invited speaker at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and, in 2005, she was Guest of Honor at the Left Coast Crime convention in El Paso, Texas.

Judson, a native and resident of Watertown, is author of 10 novels, six of them published, including The Bone Orchard, nominated for a Shamus and a Barry Award; The Poisoned Rose, a Shamus winner and The Darkest Place, also a Shamus nominee.

Bestselling romance novelist talks about `Playing the Game'

Get out the smelling salts, all you romance novel fans. On Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m., at Westport Library, bestselling English romance novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford will talk about her new book, Playing the Game, whose heroine Annette Remmington moves past a troubled childhood to build a career in the glamorous world of priceless artwork. A lover of art history herself, Bradford fills the story with wonderful insights into the business of art collecting, weaving in fascinating details about art appraisals, auctions and art fraud. Free and open to the public, the talk will take place in the McManus Room, and books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.

Bradford is the author of 25 New York Times bestselling novels, including her phenomenal debut novel, A Woman of Substance, and her most recent book, Breaking the Rules. With more than 82 million books in print, Bradford is one of the world's most popular women's fiction writers, known for creating strong female characters who overcome great obstacles on their journeys to success.

For more information, check the Library's website, www.westportlibrary.org, or call 203-291-4800.