We celebrated books in the Norwich Inn during the annual holiday edition of Pages in the Pub in our home town of Norwich, Vermont last week. Our superb presenters spoke about their favorite picks for gift giving, and wow did they sell a lot of books. We thank them for that, and for leaving all of us a great list of books to give and get. Bonus – thanks to the generosity of the Norwich Bookstore, the event raised around $1,400 for the Norwich Public Library (while increasing sales for a great indie bookstore).
This post lists all twenty- three books discussed during the evening, each with its special six word review written by the presenter. You’ll 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 gift giving, with their intriguing bios at the end.
COOKBOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO COOK UP A CULINARY SNOWSTORM AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED SOME HELP
Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman (2015). Selected by Lucinda – Yummy dishes; up, down, across, diagonal.
Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell (2014). Selected by James – Master Chef Teaches Son. Goodbye Take-out.
MEMOIRS: FOR PEOPLE WHO ENJOY LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE’S MEMORIES
438 Days: Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin (2015). Selected by James – Thirty-hour trip goes quite awry.
Hold Still by Sally Mann (2015). Selected by Penny – Photography, family, bravery, mortality, beauty, fear.
ADULT FICTION: FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A GREAT BOOK
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (2015). Selected by Penny – Perhaps my favorite book of 2015.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal (2015). Selected by Lucinda – Forging family through lutefisk and bars.
Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann (2015). Selected by Lucinda – Deeply evocative. Beautifully written. Perfectly human.
The Sellout by Paul Beattie (2015). Selected by James – Outrageous satire: black narrator segregates neighborhood.
ADULT FICTION: FOR A MAN WHO HAS ENOUGH TECH, BUT NOT ENOUGH GOOD FICTION
The Cartel by Don Winslow (2015). Selected by James – Narco-Terror: North America’s ISIS. Gripping.
The Heist by Daniel Silva (2015). Selected by Penny – Guilty pleasure, art, espionage, marriage, Israel.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION — FOR TEENS /TWEENS AND THE ADULTS WHO LOVE THEM, AND FOR ADULTS WHO JUST LOVE YA
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall (2015). Selected by Katie – Beauty surprises, kindness transforms, both inspire.
The Boys in the Boat: YA adaptation (2015). Selected by Katie – Loved by adults, now perfect for kids!
BOOKS FOR YOUNGSTERS (AGES 8-12): THOSE BEYOND TONKA TRUCKS & TEA PARTIES BUT NOT YET READY FOR TEEN TOPICS
How Machines Work: Zoo Break! by David Macaulay (2015). Selected by Katie – Inspiration for the afternoon scientist—invent!!
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry (2015). Selected by Lisa – Field-trip hijinks involve spies, adventure, laughs.
Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill (2014). Selected by Lisa – Little House fans will thank you.
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan (2015). Selected by Lisa – History, mystery, magical realism. Boys & girls.
PERFECT PICTURE BOOKS: FOR FAMILIES TO READ TOGETHER DURING SNOWSTORMS
Dewey Bob by Judy Schachner (2015). Selected by Lucinda – Adorable raccoon. Quirky art. Sweetness abounds!
Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins (2015). Selected by Lisa – Three different views. One big snowstorm.
Job Wanted by Teresa Bateman (2015). Selected by Katie – Moral: Persistence, confidence, & hard work prevail.
NON-FICTION/REFERENCE BOOK/COFFEE TABLE BOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO THINK AND CHAT WHILE SITTING BY THE WOOD STOVE
For armchair travelers
Lonely Planet’s Wild World by Lonely Planet (2015). Selected by Katie – Gorgeous adventure awaits, snuggled in armchair.
For messy people who can’t find their own coffee table
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (2015). Selected by James – Can book save human oil slick?
For the person who doesn’t usually read animal books
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (2015). Selected by Lucinda – Making friends with octopuses (not octopi!).
ABOUT THE PRESENTERS
James Bandler – In spite of his father’s not-entirely unfair observation that he’d have trouble finding a rat in his own cup of coffee, James Bandler spend his formidable years writing about corporate misbehavior for a series of financially troubled newspapers and magazines. Now a recovering journalist and professional fact-finder, he is best known as the private chauffeur of two Norwich teenagers and the vice-chairman of the Dennis Thatcher Society of North America (DTSNA), Vermont Chapter.
Katie Kitchel – Like the books she enjoys reading, Katie’s career has been a varied mosaic. Since graduating from Dartmouth in 1995, Katie has worked as a victim’s advocate, a mediator, a trainer, a music teacher, an arts administrator, an admissions reader, and a bookseller. Her most cherished job, though, is being mom to her boisterous boys. In her “spare time”, she loves to READ and to SING and to perform in musicals and dramas alike. She lives in Norwich, VT with her husband, her three boys, and her wildly energetic dog.
Penny McConnel 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.
Lucinda Walker loves being the Director of the Norwich Public Library and thanks Norwich for adopting her. Lucinda’s journey to librarianship began at the Windsor Public Library, where she spent many a long Saturday afternoon devouring their children’s books. She counts among her favorite things: French roast coffee, storytelling podcasts, and Saturday Night Live (plus books, of course!) Lucinda lives in Brownsville with her poet husband Peter and kids, Hartley & Lily.
Book Jam Lisas
Lisa Cadow is the co-founder/co-blogger for the Book Jam Blog, and the founder of Vermont Crepe & Waffle, a food cart and catering company serving authentic French crepes. When not reading, traveling or testing recipes for her food blog, Fork on the Road, she works as a health coach for Dartmouth Health Connect, an innovative primary care practice in Hanover, NH. She lives in Vermont with her husband, three teens (two of whom are away at college most of the year now), three cats, and an energetic border collie.
Lisa Christie is the co-founder/co-blogger for the Book Jam Blog. In previous times, she was the founder/first Executive Director of Everybody Wins! Vermont and a former Executive Director of Everybody Wins! USA, literacy programs that help children love books (www.everybodywins.org). She currently works part-time as a non-profit consultant, part-time graduate student, and most importantly full-time mom/wife. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two sons, and a very large Bernese mountain dog, and often dreams of travel.