Research shows that reading novels and other literature helps readers better understand other perspectives and increases the reader’s own social navigation abilities. An October 2013 NY Times article discussing the studies stated researchers “found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking.” While we agree what the study uncovered ample self-improvement reasons for picking up some great fiction, we believe that many pieces of classical literature are also just darn good stories. So in this post we share some of our favorite classics — many read long, long ago. And we implore you, please don’t think of the classics as something you HAD to read in High School; read them for the great books that they are. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938) – This was the very first book that kept me up all night reading and for this pleasure I will forever be in its debt. Enter this gothic drama on the shores of Monte Carlo where our unnamed protagonist meets Max, the dashing, wounded, and mysterious millionaire she is swept away by and marries. The following pages whisk readers back to his English country estate “Manderley” where his deceased wife “Rebecca” haunts the characters with her perfect and horrible beauty. Can Max’s new wife ever live up to her memory? Will the lurking, skulking housekeeper Mrs. Danvers drive us all mad? How will the newlyweds and Manderley survive all the pressures pulsing in the mansion’s wings? If finding out the answers to these questions isn’t enough to entice you to curl up with this book right away, it also has one of the most famous first lines in literature. Do you know what it is? ~ Lisa Cadow Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985) – Though lesser known than One Hundred Years of Solitude, this novel is my favorite of the two. Its premise distills to a basic question — what if it were possible, not only to promise to love someone ”forever,” but to actually do so, to actually make all life’s choices based upon this vow? Set in an unnamed Caribbean town, the three characters, Florentino, Fermina and Dr. Urbino form the love triangle at the center of the author’s answers to this question. Florentino, after declaring his undying love for Fermina as a teen, is not at all deterred when she marries Dr. Urbino, and vows to wait until she is free. This happens 51 years, 9 months and 4 days later (yes, I had to look this detail up), when suddenly, (in a way only Garcia Marquez can pull off) Dr. Urbino dies while chasing a parrot up a mango tree. The novel explores all three of their lives in real time, in retrospect, with some magic realism (of course), and through the prism of this promise to love forever. ~ Lisa Christie My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918) – This novel unwraps the difficulties facing the Shimerdas, recent immigrants to America’s midwest, as narrated by a boy who met the family on a train taking them all to the same Nebraska town to live. While the hardships are harrowing, and the situations faced by both major and minor characters truly dire, the novel somehow manages to be both quiet and reassuring. It is a practical, well-crafted, not at all romantic look at the resilience of the human spirit and the hardiness of the many European immigrants who came across the ocean to begin again in America’s west. As such, this story is important, but more importantly, it is a very good story. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie West with the Night by Beryl Markam (1942) – Originally published in 1942, West with the Night still reads as if it was hot off the presses. This breathtaking memoir tells the story of the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west, penned by an author who was described by Ernest Hemingway as someone who “can write rings around all of us.” Markham was an adventurer, a poet, a philosopher, and a free spirit to her core who has served as an inspiration to generations of women. Her first loves were the horses she trained in east Africa as a teen. After discovering aviation, however, she never looked down. From 1931 to 1936 Markham delivered mail from her plane to remote locations in east Africa before heading north, across the Mediterranean, and then eventually across the Atlantic. If you liked Out of Africa, you will love this book. (Previously reviewed on the Book Jam on March 27, 2012) ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Cadow’
Posted in Book Clubs, Fiction Fanatics, Must Read Memoirs, tagged benefits of reading literature, Beryl Markham, Classic Fiction, classical literature, Classics, Daphne Du Maurier, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Marquez, Lisa Cadow, Lisa Christie, literary fiction, literature, Love in the Time of Cholera, My Antonia, New York Times, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Out of Africa, Rebecca, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, West With the Night, Willa Cather on September 30, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Fiction Fanatics, Just the "facts", Kids at Heart, Must Read Memoirs, Sports and other Adventures, tagged Ann Patchett, Bel Canto, Bo Caldwell, Coming of Age Novel, Counting Coup, Death Comes to Pemberley, Department Q Mysteries, Distant Land of My Father, E Lockart, Fabio Geda, In the Sea there are crocodiles, Isabel Allende, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Larry Colter, Like No Other, Lisa Cadow, Lisa Christie, Luis Alberto Urrea, Mexico, On Writing, PD James, Pride and Prejudice, Stephen King, summer reading, The Hummingbird's Daughter, Una LaMarche, We Were Liars, West Side Story, YA, young adult, Young Adult fiction, Young Adult Novels, young adults, Zorro on July 15, 2014 | 5 Comments »
An email from one of our great friends in need of perfect books for her soon-to-be-High-School-Senior to read this summer led to this post. Since this student is an avid and discriminating reader, she wanted well-written books. However, since this student’s summer plans include attending a challenging academic camp, she wanted our picks to be “fun” to read.
What follows is based upon the list we created for her. Since we think it is pretty good list for anyone (adult and young adult alike) looking for good books to read this summer, we share it now with you.
Before we begin our reviews, we would like to note two things about this list. 1) Most of the titles were published years ago. We list them now because people currently in high school were too young for these novels when they initially appeared on bookstore shelves, and we don’t want them or anyone to miss a chance to read these titles. 2) Most of these picks, while selected for readers who are YA’s target audience, are not books that most publishers would label as YA. Two 2014 YA titles finish out our list for anyone looking for a purely YA read.
What Could Be Called “Coming of Age” Novels
Zorro by Isabel Allende (2005). While Ms. Allende is known for magic realism, this novel offers a more straightforward narrative than found in most of her books. Ms. Allende’s account of the legend begins with Zorro’s childhood and finishes with the hero. Have fun with this book. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell (2002) – A look at China and USA through the eyes of a young woman whose life is greatly affected her American father’s fascination with China. Not necessarily light, but truly a great, great “coming of age” book. We have been recommending this to men, women and young adults for years and have never had a disgruntled customer. One all male book club declared it their best discussion book ever. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (2005) – Mr. Urrea creates a history of Mexico as seen through the life of one of their saints (who happens to be one of his distant relatives). This saga, written in gorgeous and lyrical prose, shows a Mexico that many might otherwise miss. ~ Lisa Christie
Some Novels with an Adventurous Bent
Death Comes To Pemberley by PD James (2011) – This mystery revisits at the characters and places from Pride and Prejudice six years after Darcy and Elizabeth are married. Their lives are rambling along quite well until a murderer enters their realm. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Department Q mysteries by Jussi Adler Olsen (assorted years) – All the Department Q mysteries take place in Denmark. They all involve a lovable and unique cast of police detectives. They all teach you a bit about life in Scandinavia. They are all well-written and fun, with some gory details periodically inserted. ~ Lisa Christie
A More Serious Novel with International Overtones
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001) – This well-written novel tracks the lives of partygoers when an event honoring a Japanese businessman visiting an embassy in an unnamed South American country goes terribly awry. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Some Non-Fiction Choices
On Writing by Stephen King (2000) – His attempt to show people how to write well, is really an autobiography about a writing life. Well-written, fascinating look at an American author that happens to have some good tips on getting better at writing. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (2011) – This short book follows an Afghan refugee through the countries he must cross, and shows what he must do to survive and achieve political asylum. The fact that he was ten when his journey began, and he did it all alone, makes it a truly thought-provoking read. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor at Little Big Horn by Larry Colter (2001) – An amazing tale of a gifted young basketball player named Sharon LaForge. Mr. Colter follows her and her team as they navigate the challenges of their basketball season and their home lives on an Native American reservation. I still remember passages thirteen years after reading it the first time. ~ Lisa Christie
Some Actual YA Titles For Young Adults (and adults – let’s be honest here)
Like No Other by Una LaMarche (July 2014) – West Side Story with an African-American as the male lead and a Hasidic girl as the female lead. Set in modern-day Brooklyn, this tale explores the feelings one’s first true love brings, and what it means to make your own way into the world — even if it requires navigating respecting one’s parents while rebelling from their rules. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (May 2014) – I can not say much about the plot as it will ruin the book. But this story of a privileged family summering on an island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard is a page-turner. The plot revolves around decisions leading up to a tragedy, and then focuses on how the decisions made after the tragedy affect the family, particularly the 18-year-old narrator. ~ Lisa Christie
This list is not meant to be a one size fits all recommendation. If you have trouble matching the young adults in your life to any of these books, please send us a comment and we will try to find a book to meet your needs.
Posted in Armchair Travelers, Closet Mystery Lovers, Fiction Fanatics, Food Lovers, Just the "facts", Kids at Heart, Must Read Memoirs, Sports and other Adventures, Tough GIfts, tagged A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, Amanda Coplin, And The Dark Sacred Night, Anthony Marra, Be IN a Treehouse, Beth Reynolds, Boys in the Boat, Brown, Capture the Flag, Carin Pratt, dads, Daniel James, Darragh McKeon, Donna Leon, e. lockahart, Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient, Elizabeth Blackwell, Father's Day Books, Father's Day gifts, Graduation gifts, How to Cook Everything, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jim Gold, Joanne Dugan, Julia Glass, Kate Messner, Laura McBride, Lev Grossman, Lisa Cadow, Lisa Christie, Mark Bittman, My Beloved World, My Venice, New York Times, Nickolas Butler, Norwich, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich Inn, Norwich Inn Pub, Norwich Public Library, Pages in the Pub, Penny McConnel, Pete Nelson, Phil Klay, Redeployment, River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes, Shotgun Lovesongs, Sleeping Beauty, Sonia Sotomayor, Sonya Sones, Sonya Sotomayor, summer reading, summer vacation, Summertime, The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook, The Magicians, The Night Before College, The Orchardist, Vermont, We are Called to Rise, We Were Liars, While Beauty Slept on June 9, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
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.
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
- Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient by M. Ruhlman (2014). Selected by Penny – World’s most versatile ingredient and more.
- The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook (2014). Selected by Jim – Excellent recipes often placed in historical context.
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
- All that is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon (2014). Selected by Beth – Writing that will blow you away.
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (2013). Selected by Carin – Saving a girl in war-torn Chechnya. Unforgettable.
- Redeployment by Phil Klay (2014). Selected by Carin – Moving, new, yet classic war tales.
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
- The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013). Selected by Jim – Honest. Accurate. Suspenseful. Educational. Uplifting. Heartwarming.
- Be In A Tree House by Pete Nelson (2014). Selected by Penny – Treehouse design. Construction inspiration. Father’s Day.
- River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (2014). Selected by Carin – Great Veggie Recipes. Even Better Pictures.
- How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (2003). Selected by Lisa – Reference for beginning and experienced cooks.
- The Night Before College by Sonya Sones (2014). Selected by Beth – A funny look at letting go.
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!
Posted in Belly Laughs, Closet Mystery Lovers, Fiction Fanatics, Historical Fiction Buffs, Kids at Heart, Must Read Memoirs, tagged A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon, Andrew Clements, Anthony Marra, audio-book, Audio-books, Barack Obama, Bill Bryson, books for road trips, Carin Pratt, Com Toibin, Department Q Mysteries, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Easter, Frindle, Hilary Schenker, Jack and Annie, Jack Reacher, JRR Tolkein, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Katie Kitchel, Lee Child, Lisa Cadow, Lisa Christie, Liza Bernard, Lucky Man, Magic tree House, Mary Pope Osborne, Meryl Streep, Michael J Fox, Michael Pollan, Neela Vaswani, No Talking, Norwich Bookstore, One Summer: America 1927, Same Sun Here, Seders, Silas House, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Testament of Mary on April 7, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Since in the very near future many, many people across the USA are heading to airports and getting in cars for April school vacations or for Seder and Easter dinners, we thought we would highlight a few great audio books for you to listen to during those long car rides, or to download to your devices for those plane trips. And since one of us always has young children in the mini-van making adult audio fare impractical for her, and the other Lisa’s work commute is too short for audio books these days, we also asked for help from two of our great local booksellers when we searched for audio-books intended for mostly adult audiences.
No matter where the road takes you, we truly hope you enjoy these picks. And yes, each of these picks is good in the printed form as well.
And, if you do not have a reason to listen to children’s literature, please skip to the end where there are picks just for you.
For families with pre-schoolers to 2nd graders in the car
Magic Tree House Series, by Mary Pope Osborne (assorted years) – Seriously, the phrases “Magic Tree House”, or “Jack and Annie”, are magic to the preschool set. These words are all you need to know to entertain pre-schoolers for hours. We promise. We have recommended these to hundreds of parents and grandparents and have yet to receive a complaint. OK we have heard one – the author, at a book a year, does not write and record fast enough. So now a synopsis of what causes all the fuss. In this series, siblings, named Jack and Annie, time travel in a magic treehouse that appears periodically in the woods near their home. While listening to these books, your kids learn a bit about all sorts of historical times and people, all while thinking they are part of an amazing adventure. You, as the adults in the car, get to know your children will not ask “are we there yet” as long as the audio-book is running. Bonus: The written versions make great early chapter books for emerging readers. ~ Lisa Christie and Lisa Cadow
For families with elementary school aged children in tow (depending upon the kids, probably best for 2nd grade and up)
Same Sun Here by Silas House, Neela Vaswani, Hilary Schenker (2012) – An interesting audio book with alternating narrators reading alternating chapters telling the story of two pen pals — one in NYC and one in rural KY — and the adventures they share via printed page and letters mailed through the US Postal service. Bonus: We know it is shocking that they used pen and paper even though email was available (the novel is set just after 9-11), but maybe you can discuss how you survived the “Olden Days” before email as you listen with children. ~ Lisa Christie
Frindle (1996) or No Talking (2007) by Andrew Clements – Mr. Clements is a former elementary school teacher and principal who truly seems to understand kids, and seems to have a special place in his heart for young troublemakers. Both of these books take place in a contemporary school setting where students cause a bit of a mess for themselves and/or the adults in their lives. Listen and enjoy the humor of elementary school aged students and the adults who work with them. Bonus: If you like these books, Mr. Clements has written many, many more, and someone has recorded them all for you to hear. ~ Lisa Christie
For families needing a good book to appeal to kids in 3rd to 12th grade
The Hobbit (1937) or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (1954) by JRR Tolkein – The “oh so British” narrator is superb. The content is both interesting enough for the teens in your car and adventurous enough for the elementary school aged. And since the only visuals are in their head, the plot is not too scary for most upper elementary aged kids. Bonus: You can cross some “classics” off your high schooler’s college prep reading lists. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
For families with teens and above
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (2003) – The US President won a grammy for his reading of his autobiography. You will win greater knowledge of his life. Pre-teens and teens can relate to his story of how hard his mother made him work at school. Parents can ponder his comments about how parenting with his wife Michelle caused him to think hard about divisions of labor in households and the chores that typically fall on women, whether they work outside the home or not. Listen and have fun road-tripping with the President in your ear. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (2002) – Yes, this choice may seem cheesy at first glance, but his life is full of ups and downs that make great stories (alcoholism, stardom, Parkinson’s). The book is well-written and funny. Yes, we said well-written; and yes, he admits he got some advice from his brother-in-law Michael Pollan. Bonus: Honestly, having his voice in your car is like a lovely conversation with a long lost friend or an intense introduction to someone you would like to know. ~ Lisa Christie
For times when mostly adults are listening
NOTE: These next choices are picked by our friends Liza Bernard and Carin Pratt of the Norwich Bookstore. Both have a long enough commutes to listen to numerous audio-books.
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson and read by Bill Bryson (2013) – Humorist Bill Bryson, tackles the events of 1927 in his latest book. The players include Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Capone. The New York Times review declares this book “a wonderful romp.” Carin’s review of the audio-book, “well done”. ~ picked by Carin
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibon (2013) – Katie Kitchel, another great Norwich Bookstore Bookseller, picked this novel as her staff pick recently. To quote her – “Don’t let the slim size of this novel deceive you. It is full of haunting questions, powerful imagery, and the emotion of a mother who has lost a son. This novel seeks to remind us, that first and foremost, Mary was a mother.” Liza is now recommending the audio-book. Since it is read by Meryl Streep, we have no trouble imagining why. ~ Picked by Liza
Department Q Detective series by Jussi Adler-Olsen (assorted dates) – We have sung the praises of this Danish series in its written form. Now Carin, a very well-read woman, has told us they are delightful in their audio-book form, especially the voice of Assad, the main detective’s trusted assistant. ~ Picked by Carin
Posted in Closet Mystery Lovers, Fiction Fanatics, Food Lovers, Historical Fiction Buffs, Just the "facts", Kids at Heart, Poetic Souls, Tough GIfts, tagged Aleksandra Mizielinska, America 1927, Americanah, Benediction, Bill Bryson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, colum McCann, cookbooks, Cynthia Rylander, Daniel Mizielinska, Dinner: A Love Story, Dog Songs, Drew Daywalt, Eleanor & Park, Elizabeth Gilbert, Elizabeth Wein, Everybody Wins! Vermont, Fork on the Road blog, Gavin Extence, God Got A Dog, James Bond, Jenny Rosenstrach, Kate Atkinson, Kent Haruf, Life After Life, Lisa Cadow, Lisa Christie, Lucinda Walker, Maps, Marisha Pessl, Mary Oliver, Neil Macgregor, Nigel Slater, Night Film, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich Inn, Norwich Public Library, Notes from the Larder, One Summer, Pages in the Pub, Palacio, Penny McConnel, Rainbow Rowell, Reader's Book of Days, RJ Palacio, Rose Under Fire, Shakespeare's Restless World, Signature of All Things, Solo, Stephanie McCaull, The Day the Crayons Quit, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Tom Nissley, Transatlantic, Vermont, Vermont Crepe & Waffle, William Boyd, Wonder on November 25, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
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).
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.
Posted in Armchair Travelers, Closet Mystery Lovers, Fiction Fanatics, Food Lovers, Kids at Heart, Must Read Memoirs, tagged Aaron Becker, Anthony Marra, Anya von Bremzen, Bentley's Restaurant, Carol Boerner, Constellation of Vital Phenomena, David Wiesner, Ellen Stimson, Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert, Food Escapes, Hour of the Red God, Jamie Oliver, Jerry Pinkney, Journey, Julia MacDonald, Karen Jay Fowler, Katharine Britton, Kathy Beaird, Lisa Cadow, Little Island, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, Michael Paterniti, Mollie Katzen, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, Mr. Wuffles, Mud Season, Norman Williams Public LIbrary, Pages in the Pub, Ray Walker, Richard Betts, Richard Crompton, Road to Burgundy, Say Nive Things About Detroit, Scott Lasser, The Heart of the Plate, The Telling Room, Tortoise and the Hare, Vermont, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Crepe & Waffle, Vermont Facial Aesthetics, We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Woodstock, Yankee Bookshop on November 5, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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.