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Archive for the ‘Armchair Travelers’ Category

Last week, on a GORGEOUS Spring evening that actually felt like summer (being Vermonters some of us were melting in the 78 degree heat), readers from Norwich, Vermont and surrounding towns gathered in The Norwich Inn Pub to hear about some superb new books to bring to the mountains this summer, and to give to grads and dads later this month.

The evening was the latest outing of the Book Jam’s live event – “Pages in the Pub”.  This event is designed to bring together independent booksellers, literary bloggers, educators, librarians, and book lovers for an evening of talking about great titles.

 beer & book

This event sold out, but those people lucky enough to get a ticket sipped drinks, listened to great book reviews and laughed a bit.  We focused on GREAT books for summer reading because summer is just around the corner, and great gifts for grads and dads because those celebrations are upon us. Because of everyone’s efforts, a few people completed their father’s day shopping during the event, and most got a good start on stocking up on great summer reading.  We also raised over $700 for the library, all while increasing sales for a treasured independent bookstore – The Norwich Bookstore of Norwich, Vermont.

Our SUPERB presenters included (and we truly thank them for their time and talent):

  • Beth Reynolds - Beth is the children’s librarian at the Norwich Public Library during the week and dons her bookseller cap on the weekends at the Norwich Bookstore where she has helped many a family find the perfect last-minute birthday present. When not working in town you can find her at home knitting, reading, baking, writing or taking pictures of her new lop-earred bunny.
  • Carin Pratt – Carin moved to the Upper Valley three years ago after spending 30 years in DC working as a television producer. She’s never looked back. She reads a lot.
  • Penny McConnel – Penny is the co owner of The Norwich Bookstore. She lives in Norwich with husband Jim and enjoys gardening, reading, studying Italian, cooking, knitting, visiting her three sons and a grandson in Phoenix, the Bay Area and Burgundy France, and best of all, doing things with Jim.
  • Jim Gold – Our first male presenter in Norwich says — “Reading has given me the quiet eye and understanding heart to see beyond the confines of my dental profession. It fosters good conversation. Other activities that feed my soul:  hiking, cycling, canoeing, gardening, woodturning, cooking and time with my favorite and far more experienced book seller, Penny McConnel.”
  • Lisa Christie – Lisa is, among other things, the co-founder of the Book Jam and a nonprofit consultant. One of her best jobs was being the founder of Everybody Wins! Vermont, a statewide literacy organization.  In her spare time she reads (though never as much as she would like), bikes, swims and has fun with her husband and two sons.

Since most of you could not join us in person, we now share the great titles discussed last week. This post lists all twenty-one books discussed during the evening (Beth somehow snuck in an extra title), each with its special six-word review written by the presenter. Each of their selections is linked to The Norwich Bookstore web site where you can learn more about the picks and order your books. You’ll also notice that the selections are divided into rather specific categories to make browsing easier.  Have fun looking, and enjoy getting a head start on your summer of great reading.

Non-fiction or reference book – For people who like to ponder large tomes during summer vacation

  • Summertime by Joanne Dugan (2014). Selected by Beth – Photos you’ll want to jump inside.
  • My Venice by Donna Leon (2013). Selected by Jim – Poignant. Insightful. Clever. Observant. Witty. No BS.

Cookbooks – For anyone looking for summer inspiration

Memoirs – For people who enjoy living vicariously through other people’s memories

  • My Beloved World by Sonya Sotomayor (2013). Selected by Penny – Inspiring. Hopeful. Insightful. Educational. Fantastic story.

Adult Fiction – For a woman who only has time for the best fiction after hiking all day

  • Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler (2014). Selected by Carin – Thirty-somethings navigate small town lIfe.
  • While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell (2014). Selected by Lisa – “True” story of “Sleeping Beauty”. Fun.
  • We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride (2014). Selected by Beth – It’s all about connections. And love.
  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (2012). Selected by Jim – Excellent character development carries moving tale.
  • And The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass (2014). Selected by Penny – Searching can bring you home again.

 

Adult fiction – For a man who has enough camping equipment, but not enough good fiction

Books for summer campers/ young readers in Tree-houses (ages 8-12) – books for those beyond tonka trucks and tea parties but not yet ready for teen topics.

  • Capture the Flag by Kate Messner (2012). Selected by Lisa – Series. Art. History. Fun. Smart kids.

Books for your favorite High Schooler – “not required” reading for teens to ponder during the long hours of summer vacation

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009). Selected by Beth – Imagine Harry Potter going to college.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2014). Selected by Lisa – Charmed Island Life? Tragic Choices.  OK?

PERFECT books for the dads and grads in your life – or stated another way, last minute gifts to ensure happy celebrations

A brief note to our valued readers — While we are not Goodreads, we are trying to grow and show that small independent bloggers and bookstores make a difference.  So this June, we are campaigning to increase our subscribers.

Please subscribe if you have not already done so.  And if you are a subscriber, please encourage your fellow readers to subscribe to the Book Jam.  To subscribe, go to the right hand side of our blog – under email subscription – and provide your email. THANK YOU!

 

 

 

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On a chilly October evening at the end of a lovely fall foliage season, readers from Woodstock gathered to hear about some superb books they should add to their autumnal reading list.

This evening was the latest outing of the Book Jam’s live event – “Pages in the Pub”.  This event is designed to bring together independent booksellers, literary bloggers, public librarians, and book lovers for an evening of talking about great titles. This time, we gathered at Woodstock’s Bentley’s Restaurant, sipped drinks, and turned pages, all with the goal of raising money for Vermont public libraries, including Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library.

Below is a list of all sixteen books discussed during the evening along with its own special six word review written by the presenter.  (Yes, we limited the presenters to six words so we would not run out of room in this post, and they creatively rose to the challenge.) Each of their selections is linked to INDIEbound where you can learn more about their picks. You’ll also notice that the selections are divided into rather specific categories to make browsing easier.  Our superb presenters included:

  • Kathy Beaird - A librarian in schools and public settings for more than 20 years and a lover of books for 60.
  • Carol Boerner  – A retired eye surgeon, reinvented with Vermont Facial Aesthetics – a cosmetic beauty business.
  • Lisa Cadow  – Founder of Vermont Crepe & Waffle,  a food cart and caterer and co-founder/blogger of the Book Jam.
  • Julia MacDonald – She can almost always be found with her nose in a book or making chocolate chip cookies.

These four women persuaded audience members to purchase 78 books, raising over $700 for Vermont libraries, and helping Yankee Bookshop sales.  And now, their selections:

Adult Fiction: For women who only have time for the best

 

Little Island by Katharine Britton, selected by Julia - Secrets create the landscape of lives.

We are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, selected by Lisa - Humans. Chimps. Different Kinds of Family.

Adult fiction: For men who have enough electronic gadgets, but not enough good fiction to put in them

Hour of the Red God: A Detective Mollel Novel by Richard Crompton, selected by Julia - Maasai detective-exciting plot-dangerous Nairobi.

Adult Fiction: For ANYONE who loves fiction

 

Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, selected by Kathy - War story told with hopeful heart.

Say Nice Things About Detroit by Scott Lasser, selected by Lisa - Starting over midlife. Taking Chances. Love?

Memoir / Biography: For people who enjoy living vicariously thru other people’s memories/adventures

 

Road to Burgundy: The unlikely story of an American making wine and a new life in France by Ray Walker, selected by Julia - A full-bodied armchair travel book.

Mud Season by Ellen Stimson, selected by Kathy - LOL comedy of flatlander mistakes. Hilarious!

Memoirs with a food angle: For the foodies out there

 

The Telling Room: A tale of love, betrayal, revenge and the world’s greatest piece of cheese by Michael Paterniti, selected by Lisa - Magical cheese. Obsession. Spain. Fine Storytelling.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A memoir of food and longing by Anya von Bremzen, selected by Carol – Charming. Poignant. Horrifying. Personal. MUST READ.

Cookbooks:  For people looking for culinary inspirations

  

Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes: Over 100 recipes from the world’s greatest food regions by Jamie Oliver, selected by Carol - Culinary travelogue. Sophisticated recipes. Endearing style.

The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian recipes for a new generation by Mollie Katzen, selected by Kathy - Enchanted Broccoli Forest all grown up.

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 most requested, naturally delicious recipes from one of America’s best loved restaurants  by The Moosewood Collective, selected by Lisa - Veggies, veggies everywhere. Prepare deliciously every day.

Coffee table books or literary gifts: For all your favorite hosts/hostesses/co-workers

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert by Richard Betts, selected by Carol - Novel. Serious. Instructive. FUN. Great gift.

Picture Books: For families to read together on cozy fall days

  

Journey by Aaron Becker, selected by Julia - Lonely Girl, red marker adventure, stunning!

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner, selected by Carol - Charming. Family fun. Exquisite illustrations. Wordless!

The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney, selected by Kathy - Every page a work of art.

The Book Jam would also like to thank the Vermont Community Foundation for making it possible to take Pages in the Pub to Woodstock.

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As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore.  Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement.  Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.

Today’s post features Meg Lukens Noonan, the author of The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury, and Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 CoatWhile we have not yet read her book, we agree with her desire to meet/drink with Beryl Markham.

In brief — The Coat Route looks at the question – “In today’s world of fast fashion, is there a place for a handcrafted $50,000 coat?”. To answer it, Ms. Noonan traces a luxury coat from conception to delivery, looking at all its components and the places they come from.
Ms. Noonan has been a freelance writer for twenty-five years, specializing in adventure, active and luxury travel. Credits include Outside, The New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Islands, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two daughters.
Ms. Noonan will appear at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, August 28th.  This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Please call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com for more information or to save a seat.
1.What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?
 The Panama Hat Trail: A Journey from South America by Tom Miller. I’ve always admired this book, which traces the making of a Panama hat all through Ecuador. It’s a good story, told with humor and filled with history and colorful characters. I swiped the idea of a sartorial travelogue from him.
 The Orchid Thief: A true story of beauty and obsession by Susan Orlean. Orlean is one of those magical, dogged non-fiction writers who can make a subject you didn’t have any interest in at all become the most fascinating thing in the world. She absolutely nails characters with just a few perfectly-chosen words. She’s also very good at knowing just how much of herself to put in the story. I studied that book to try understand how she did it.
 At Home: A short history of private life by Bill Bryson. Bryson’s voice is so distinctive and seems so effortless–it’s like he’s sitting in the room chatting with you. He’s also a brilliant researcher, who packs every paragraph with astonishing, meaningful facts. There are no throw-away sentences. I love all his books, but Home is the one I kept referring to when I was working on The Coat Route. I was trying to figure out how to write about things that were inherently boring–like buttons–and how to present history and information without being really tedious.
2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?
Beryl Markham, author of West With the Night, her lyrical memoir about living in Kenya. She was fearless, beautiful, scandalous and a superb writer. I’m pretty sure she would want to skip the coffee shop and go straight to a bar to drink gin–and I would happily tag along.
3.What books are currently on your bedside table?
  
Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
Dear Life by Alice Monro

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