‘Connecticut Icons’

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Cover of Charles Monagan's "Connecticut Icons"

Connecticut Icons: Classic Symbols of the Nutmeg State
Globe Pequot
Hardcover – October 13, 2017
by Charles Monagan

Few people know Connecticut, its people and its places, the way Charles Monagan does.

Connecticut Magazine itself is a state icon. Monagan, its longtime editor, spent years sharing with readers the Nutmegger nuggets he discovered.

This revised and updated collection of those back-of-the-book backstories is light-hearted and appreciative. The short essays are colorfully illustrated. The overall package is part day trip inspiration, part fun facts, part show-and-tell.

Some reviewers have said they use it as a going-away present for visiting friends. For others, it’s for browsing and display. At seven-by-seven inches and 125 pages, it’s probably better suited to the first use. It fits better in the suitcase or on the night table than on a coffee table.

‘Let’s check this out!’

The photos are good but the real joy of this book is in the storytelling. That means the small format is suitable. Each icon, be it a place, a product, a food, a landmark, gets a two-page illustrated spread with tips so the reader can visit or learn more.

This is not the sort of book that the reader feels compelled to read cover-to-cover, although you could. It’s the sort that you pick up and open at random and say “hey, I know that place” or “I didn’t know that” or “let’s check this out!” The best, though, are the “hey, Martha” moments — the stories behind Mounds candies, or Silly Putty, or the Sunfish sailboat. Those are the stories that are not found in guidebooks. They risk being lost to time unless someone like Monagan tracks them down and tells them.

Monagan, a novelist (“Carrie Welton“) and humorist (“How to Get a Monkey into Harvard,” “The Complete Neurotic” and “The Reluctant Naturalist”), does just that in this bright little volume.

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