On a chilly November evening one week before Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, readers from Norwich, Vermont gathered to hear about some superb new books to give this holiday season (even if only to give to oneself).
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 the Norwich Inn, sipped drinks, and turned pages, all with the goal of raising money for the Norwich Public Library. This time we focused on GREAT books for holiday gift giving. Because of everyone’s efforts, a few people completed their holiday shopping during the event, and most got a good start on checking off their lists. And, we raised over $1,000 for our superb local library while increasing sales for our treasured independent bookstore.
This post lists all twenty books discussed during the evening, each with its special six word review written by the presenter. (Yes, we again 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 the Norwich Bookstore’s web site where you can learn more about their picks and order your selections. You’ll also notice that the selections are divided into rather specific categories to make browsing easier. Have fun looking, and enjoy getting some holiday shopping accomplished early from the comfort of your computer/iPad/cell-phone.
Our superb presenters included:
- Lucinda Walker – Lucinda has been the Director of the Norwich Public Library for 11 ½ happy years. Her journey to librarianship began at the Windsor Public Library, where she spent many a long Saturday afternoon in their children’s room. When she’s not wrangling 7th graders at NPL, she loves skiing, making chocolate chip cookies and dancing with her family.
- Penny McConnel – Penny has been selling books for 30 years and cannot imagine doing anything else. She lives in Norwich with her husband Jim, a retired dentist. When not reading or selling books, Penny can be found cooking, in her garden, singing and for two months in the winter enjoying life with Jim in California.
- Stephanie McCaull – Stephanie’s most recent reincarnation is a book-devouring, nature-loving, dinner-making, stay-at-home, but rarely-at-home-mom to two kids and two dogs, but with a husband Philip to help. She lives in Norwich and loves daily crosswords, monitoring peregrine falcons and endless walks in the woods.
- Lisa Christie – Lisa is the co-founder/co-blogger for the Book Jam Blog. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Everybody Wins! Vermont and Everybody Wins! USA, literacy programs that help children love books. She currently works as a blogger, non-profit consultant and occasional bookseller. She lives in Norwich with her husband Chris, two sons & a very large dog.
- Lisa Cadow – Lisa, co-founder and co-blogger of The Book Jam was our emcee for the evening. She is also the founder of Vermont Crepe & Waffle and the food blog Fork on the Road. She works as a health coach for Dartmouth Health Connect. She lives in Norwich with her husband, three teens, three cats and an energetic border collie.
COOKBOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO COOK UP A CULINARY SNOW STORM
Dinner: A love story by Jenny Rosenstrach. Selected by Stephanie – “Go-to” recipes +humorous narration = family winner.
Notes From The Larder by Nigel Slater. Selected by Penny – Readable Cook Drool Eat Classy Creative.
NON-FICTION/REFERENCE BOOK/POETRY: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO THINK AND CHAT WHILE SITTING BY THE WOOD STOVE
Reader’s Book of Days by Tom Nissley. Selected by Lucinda – An essential for all book lovers.
One Summer, America 1927 by Bill Bryson. Selected by Penny – Aviation, Politics, Baseball, Weather, History, Geology.
Maps by Aleksandra & Daniel Mizielinska. Selected by Penny – Beautiful. Children, adults explore illustrated geography.
Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. Selected by Stephanie – Poetry. Dogs. Love. Perfect for gifting.
Shakespeare’s Restless World by Neil MacGregor. Selected by Lisa – Museum Director explains Elizabethan objects. Insightful.
God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylander. Selected by Lisa – Great illustrations. Funny, yet reverent. Gift!
ADULT FICTION: FOR A WOMAN WHO ONLY HAS TIME FOR THE BEST FICTION
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Selected by Lucinda – She’s born. Lives. Dies. Lives. Ectera.
Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth GIlbert. Selected by Penny – Desire, Adventure, Compelling, Botany, 18th Century.
ADULT FICTION: FOR A MAN WHO HAS ENOUGH TECH, BUT NOT ENOUGH GOOD FICTION
Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Selected by Lucinda – Suspenseful mystery surrounds a reclusive director.
Solo: A James Bond Novel by William Boyd. Selected by Lisa – It’s Bond. Read it. Have Fun.
Transatlantic by Colum McCann. Selected by Penny – Historic fiction. Ireland. Didn’t want to end.
ADULT FICTION FOR ANYONE
Benediction by Kent Haruf. Selected by Lisa – Slow-paced. Gorgeous prose. Great characters.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Selected by Stephanie – Lagos-NJ-London. Savvy immigrant perspective. Surprising. Engrossing.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. Selected by Lucinda – Coming-of-age & quirky. Highly entertaining!
PICTURE BOOKS: FOR FAMILIES TO READ TOGETHER DURING SNOW STORMS
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. Selected by Stephanie – Crayons creatively air grievances. Giggles abound.
BOOKS FOR YOUNGSTERS (AGES 8-12): THOSE BEYOND TONKA TRUCKS & TEA PARTIES BUT NOT YET READY FOR TEEN TOPICS
Wonder by RJ Palacio. Selected by Stephanie – Ordinary inside/extraordinary outside. Inspiring. Real.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION — FOR TEENS /TWEENS AND THE ADULTS WHO LOVE THEM
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Selected by Lucinda – It’s 1986. Misfits, comics & love.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. Selected by Lisa – WWII Women Pilots. Concentration Camp. Important.
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