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.
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