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Posts Tagged ‘David Ezra Stein’

Well, due to a lingering Nor’easter we had to reschedule, but we finally made it to the Norwich Inn last week for the annual holiday edition of Pages in the Pub in our home town of Norwich, Vermont. Our superb presenters spoke about their favorite picks for our gift giving categories, and wow did they sell a lot of books. And thanks to the generosity of the Norwich Bookstore, they raised around $1,000 for the Norwich Public Library (while increasing sales for a great indie bookstore). The presenters also left us with a great list of books to give and to get.

This post lists all twenty-three 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.) You’ll also notice that the selections are divided into rather specific categories to make browsing and gift-giving easier.

We hope you have fun looking, and that you enjoy holiday shopping from the comfort of your computer/iPad/phone using direct links to each selection. And now, our superb presenters’ picks for holiday giving and their bios at the end.

COOKBOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO COOK UP A CULINARY SNOW STORM

  • Make It Ahead by Ina Garten (2014). Selected by Lucinda – Delicious dishes made ahead remove stress.
  • My Paris Kitchen by David Leibovitz (2014). Selected by Penny – Paris Recipes, Photographs, Delicious Stories, Techniques.

MEMOIRS: FOR PEOPLE WHO ENJOY LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S MEMORIES.

POETRY: JUST BECAUSE

  • Aimless Love by Billy Collins (2013). Selected by David – Accessible poetry with imaginative surprises.

ADULT FICTION: FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A GREAT BOOK

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013). Selected by Penny – Nigeria, America Racism, Relationships, Blog, Thoughtful.
  • Us by David Nichols (2014). Selected by Lucinda – Can visiting Europe repair the family?
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014). Selected by Penny – French Girl, German Boy, WW2 Intrigue.
  • Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel (2014). Selected by Lisa – Short stories by master storyteller. Unique.
  • Cobra by Deon Myer (2014). Selected by Lauren – Cape Town crime thriller with twist.

BOOKS FOR YOUNGSTERS (AGES 8-12): THOSE BEYOND TONKA TRUCKS & TEA PARTIES BUT NOT YET READY FOR TEEN TOPICS

  • Holes by Louis Sachar (2000). Selected by Lauren – Perfect pick for reluctant young reader.
  • Misadventures of Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (2014). Selected by Lisa – Hilarious brood of six creates chaos, love.                               
  • Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli (2014). Selected by Lisa – Funny sibling rivalry leads to Dickinson.  

YOUNG ADULT FICTION — FOR TEENS /TWEENS AND THE ADULTS WHO LOVE THEM

  • I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (2014). Selected by Penny – Twins, Art, Loss, Family, Homosexuality, Individuality.
  • Like No Other by Una LaMarche (2014). Selected by Lisa – Modern-day West Side story. Fun!

NON-FICTION/REFERENCE BOOK/COFFEE TABLE BOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO THINK ANDCHAT WHILE SITTING BY THE WOOD STOVE

  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (2014). Selected by David – Aiming for good end to good life.
  • This is the Story of A Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett (2013). Selected by Jim – Unpretentious, insightful, biographical, interesting, sensitive, compassionate.
  • Elephant Company by Vicki Croke (2014). Selected by Jim – Educational, enlightening,  well written, engaging, evocative, entertaining.
  • Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg (2014). Selected by Lucinda – OMG – Funny texts by authors. LOL!

PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS: FOR FAMILIES TO READ TOGETHER DURING SNOW STORMS

OUR SUPERB PRESENTERS

  • Lucinda Walker – Lucinda’s first love was Encyclopedia Brown. Lucinda has been the Director of the Norwich Public Library since 2002. She would like to give a grateful shout out to her amazing colleagues and the Norwich community. Lucinda loves reading, skiing, listening to podcasts, drinking coffee, and dancing with her awesome husband Peter and 2 kids, Hartley & Lily.
  • David Otto – Having worked nearly forever, as a clergyman, pastoral counselor, and currently a fee only financial planner, David gets out of the office to ride his bike, spend summers in Maine with his family, and cross-country ski in the winter. He reads mostly non-fiction and sometimes refers to himself in Norwich as Mr. Mary Otto.
  • 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. She is very excited to once again be a participant in Pages in the Pub.
  • Jim Gold – Reading has given me the quiet eye and understanding heart to see beyond the confines of my discipline. 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 and travels (though never as much as she would like), bikes, swims, tries to speak Spanish and has a lot of fun with her husband and two sons.
  • Lauren Girard Adams – After spending two years in South Africa, Lauren has returned home to Norwich with her husband and two children.  Lauren is enjoying sharing tales of their adventures and experiences, including the discovery of a book or two, with family and friends here at home.


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In Vermont, the beginning of March means town meeting day, and because we live near Dartmouth College it also heralds the birthday of one of the college’s most famous students and benefactors, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss).  But in addition to our valley community, millions of people across the country also celebrate his books and birthday in early March as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.

To honor the child in all of us, the ever-growing world of picture books, and as a shout out to one of the fathers of the genre on his special day, we’ve selected a few of our favorites from the crop of new picture books to share with you.  (Thank you Susan Voake, retired children’s librarian extraordinaire for getting us started in our selection.) Even if you don’t have kids – or if  you do and they are beyond picture books – you may have nieces and nephews in this age set, christenings to attend, or perhaps you just might want to make a spontaneous gift to your local public library, children’s hospital, and/or homeless shelter.

And because we couldn’t resist sharing something for our always hungry adult readers, a new book, an international best seller The Dinner by Herman Koch, is also reviewed below.

A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis and Marie LaFrance (March 2012)- An old-fashioned fable, based upon Jewish and Islamic folklore.  We interpreted this story as a tale about being rewarded for doing the right thing even when the world is pressuring you to act differently.  You may have other interpretations.  Since the setting is a village facing hard economic times, many of the villagers’ arguments and situations might ring true for many readers.

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp !Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure by Wynton Marsalis and Paul Rogers (Oct. 2012) – The music of everyday items truly sings on every page in this funly (Yes, we are also making up words in honor of Dr. Seuss with this post.) illustrated book.

Oliver by Birgitta Sit (Oct. 2012) – This almost sparsely illustrated book shows you a boy who is a little bit different and slightly lonely.  Along the way you see his adventures, and his discovery that he is pretty OK.  And then, you smile as he embarks on the greatest adventure of all – friendship.

Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein (Sept. 2012) – A gorgeously illustrated book shows the power of a smile to charm.  It also demonstrates in a silly manner how interconnected the world is today.

Grumpy Goat by Brett Helquist (Jan. 2013) – Yes, this goat is cranky, he’s hungry, and he’s never had a friend.  But, humorous illustrations show the power of positive thinking when growing something and making friends.

Now one pick for grown-ups.  At first, this may seem a bizarre fit in a post crafted as a tribute to a man who wrote books for children. However, we believe Geisel, who created biting cartoons for Dartmouth’s humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern and during his early career, would have appreciated the darkly satirical writing in this riveting book.

 The Dinner by Herman Koch (2012) – This page-turner kept me up all night as I raced to finish it.  Now, it will probably keep me up for many nights going forward as I think about the very disturbing traits and situations this plot unearths.  Amidst the dark, dark satire are very uncomfortable truths; it is these and to be honest – the entire premise  – that left me slightly reeling when I finished. (Of course I could be reeling from the lack of sleep reading this caused.)  The book’s plot poses the question – how far would you go for your family?, as it eavesdrops on a dinner between two couples in a trendy Amsterdam restaurant.  As their conversations turn from the mundane – what to order, to the ultimate situation that brought them together, you really do feel like a fly on a wall watching a disaster in the making.  I can’t say any more because revealing any plot items would be unfair to any future readers.  But note, this would be a GREAT book club book because you are going to need to talk with someone about it.  Plus, it is a very quick read – a bonus when cramming for book club discussions. ~ Lisa Christie

And one last thing, happy first day in her new job to Lisa Cadow.  She is turning her many talents to coaching people in an exciting new health care model.  Don’t worry, she will still review books and be the co-blogger for the Book Jam, she has just added a new aspect to her professional career starting today. So, please join me in wishing her well in her new endeavor. This new job seems especially appropriate in a post honoring a literary “Dr.”  ~ Lisa Christie

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