Last night, on a GORGEOUS Spring evening just before Mother’s Day, readers from Rhode Island gathered in Newport to hear about some superb new books to bring to the beaches this summer, and to give to moms on Mother’s Day.
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.
This time, we gathered for the first time ever outside our home state of Vermont at the Salvation Cafe in Newport. There we sipped drinks and turned pages, all with the goal of raising money for BabySteps, a Rhode Island based early childhood education center. We focused on GREAT books for summer reading, because summer is just around the corner, and Newport is a great place to remember the pleasures of beaches.
Our SUPERB presenters included (and we truly thank them for their time and talents):
- Ann Hood, Acclaimed Author – Ann is an avid knitter, a nomad, a book lover, and a writer. She travelled all the way from Providence for this event. She’s also a native Rhode Islander.
- Linda Finn, Board Chair of BabySteps, an early childhood learning program – Linda is a first term, part-time State Representative for Middletown and Portsmouth. She also owns and operates Linda Finn Garden Design, a residential landscape design firm; is a founding member of RI Coalition Against Gun Violence; and, is the Board Chair of BabySteps.
- Judy Crosby, Owner of Island Books – Judy is the owner of Island Books in Middletown and Newport. When not working at the stores you can find her at home in Portsmouth reading, cooking or gardening. With “Pages in the Pub”, she fulfills the longtime dream of having a book event at the Salvation Cafe thanks to owner Sue Lamond, champion of all things ‘local’ and great supporter of Island Books!
And representing the Book Jam:
- Lisa Christie, Co-Founder of The Book Jam – 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/first director of Everybody Wins! Vermont, a statewide literacy organization. And, while she loves living in Vermont, she was VERY excited to be in Newport for an evening.
Non-fiction or reference book – For people who like to ponder large tomes during summer vacations
- Centrist Manifesto by Charles Whelan (2013). Selected by Lisa – Usual politics tiring? He proposes solutions.
- The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2013). Selected by Linda – Friendship, politics, muckrakers. Facts like fiction!
Memoirs – For people who enjoy living vicariously through other people’s memories
- The Splendid Things We Planned by Blake Bailey (2014). Selected by Ann – You thought your family was dysfunctional?
Adult Fiction – For women who have time for the best fiction while at the beach
- After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman (2014). Selected by Ann – Secrets, lies, disappearances, a tangled web!
- Under the Wide & Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (2014). Selected by Ann – Improbable, impassioned, adventurous, unforgettable love story.
- We Are Water by Wally Lamb (2013). Selected by Linda – Very modern, engaging, family drama.
- The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh (2014). Selected by Judy – Multi-layered coming-of-age. Keeps pages turning.
Adult fiction – For men who have enough camping equipment, but not enough good fiction
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra (2014). Selected by Lisa – AMAZING writing. Chechnya conflict. Great characters.
- Orfeo by Richard Powers (2014). Selected by Linda – Intrigue, internet, music fuel this mystery.
- The Martian by Andy Weir (2014). Selected by Judy – Mars Mission. Accident. Man’s struggle to survive.
Cookbooks or coffee table books or reference books – For your favorite grad or dad
- The Big Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger (2014). Selected by Ann – Best BBQ by the BBQ God.
- Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar (2012). Selected by Judy – Small, everyday conscious choices really matter.
Books for summer campers/ young reader (ages 8-12) – books for those beyond tonka trucks and tea parties but not yet ready for teen topics.
- Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (2014). Selected by Lisa – Lonely girl uncovers painting. Solves mystery.
- Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody (2013). Selected by Lisa – How a boy inspired Robin Hood.
Books for your favorite High Schooler – “not required” reading for teens to ponder during the long hours of summer vacation
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (2002). Selected by Judy – Must-read (or re-read) for everyone before movie!
BONUS – PERFECT books for the moms in your life, or last minute gifts to ensure a Happy Mother’s Day
- The Year She Left Us by Kathyrn Ma (2014). Selected by Lisa – Chinese American Adopts Chinese Orphan. Different.
- The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman (2014). Selected by Ann – Mermaids, Coney Island, romance, hope.
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (2012). Selected by Linda – Hysterical story of mother-daughter love.
- Salmon Fishing in Yemen by Paul Torday (2007). Selected by Linda – Wild dreams, adventure… not much fishing.
- Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (2014). Selected by Judy – Debut novel. Great foodie. Absolutely Delicious.