The downtown Left Bank Books will host its final Sunday Lyceum program Sunday, May 22 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. with a talk by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, author of the “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights.”

Inspired by the exotic encyclopedias of the 16th century, Kerwin Jenkins’ “Encyclopedia” is a sumptuous verbal cabinet of curiosities, brimming with fascinating entries about all those things she deems exquisite. Arranged alphabetically, the diverse and beguiling subjects are briefly summarized and charmingly illustrated, among them the origin of badminton, the history of the tassel, Champagne, the Elephantine Colossus (one of several elephant-shaped 19th-century buildings), enthusiasm, frilly lingerie, mouches (fake beauty marks), omelets, sequins, twilight and whistling. With its engaging anecdotes and perfect design, it is just the right book for its subject.

Kerwin Jenkins began her career in New York writing for Women’s Wear Daily and for W magazine, later becoming the magazine’s European editor in Paris. Assignments took her all over Europe and beyond, from Madrid to Copenhagen, Athens to Venice and Ibiza to Tallin, visiting ateliers, villas, palazzos, chateaux and haciendas. She had dinner in the Tower of London, a rude massage in a steam bath in Tunis and played in a surreal elephant polo match for charity in Jaipur. She currently writes for Vogue magazine and lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.

The program is free and the public is warmly invited. As always, space is limited. To reserve a seat, or a copy of “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite,” call Left Bank Books at 548-6400. The shop is open daily at 21 East Main St./Route 1.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to