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We have no idea if you make, keep, or disdain New Year's resolutions. And, it feels as if we could all use some fun, hopeful, inspiring, and perhaps gentle books to peruse as we think about how we wish to be going forward (and process the past few years). Thus, we take a bit of time, during Kwanza and in the pause between Christmas/Hanukkah and New Years, to share a few books we've found as we shopped our favorite indie bookstores during the holidays. Regardless of where you land on resolutions, we wish you all the best in 2023. Happy reading.
Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury (2021). This lovely book can be dipped into or read all at once with equal effectiveness. Big Panda and Tiny Dragon was created by British author and artist James Norbury to share ideas - mostly from Buddhism - that have helped him throughout his life. It would make an excellent housewarming gift or thank you gift for holiday hosts.
Hope Is A Verb: Six steps to radical optimism when the world seems broken by Emily Ehlers (2021). This book addresses, with fun illustrations and encouraging words, how to get unstuck when the issues you are facing overwhelm everything else. Ehlers is an environmental activist and begins with the importance of making change and also not burning out. Then her six steps are actually tips that even those of us who are not trying to change the world can use. A great book to pick up and put down when you feel, well stuck.
Keep Moving: Notes on loss creativity and change by Maggie Smith (2020). A loving mediation on how to move through grief caused by any loss (death, illness, divorce, kids moving out of the home, new work situations). In the wake of her painful divorce, Smith started writing Twitter posts, inspiring thousands. This book collects them and would be helpful for anyone wondering what is next (probably best once they've had a bit of time to process the loss though as keep moving can be hard to hear in those initial stages of grief). The Boston Globe calls it “A shining reminder to learn all we can from this moment, rebuilding ourselves in the darkness so that we may come out wiser, kinder, and stronger on the other side.”
Choke: What the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to by Sian Beilock -- Beilock is both a renowned expert about the brain science behind human performance and neighboring Dartmouth's next (and first female) President. So, we were very curious about her book. In it, Beilock addresses questions such as 1) Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests? 2) Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag? 3) Why do you mess up when it matters the most—and how can you perform your best instead? We haven't finished it; but, we have a feeling her ideas about how not to crack under pressure will prove helpful going forward.
On a warm (for a Vermont winter) evening last week, we once again ushered Pages in the Pub into our holiday plans, and for a third, and we vowed final time, we met via Zoom.
Once again, the presenters - our fabulous town librarian Lucinda Walker; our town's terrific children's librarian, Erin Davison; amazing booksellers Emma Nichols and Sam Kass; and the delightful Samantha Davidson Green of Junction Arts Media (JAM), did an incredible job of raising a lot of money for our beloved Norwich Public Library (thanks to the generosity of the Norwich Bookstore). They confined their Zoom reviews to 90 seconds and their written reviews to six words (harder than it sounds), and helped many of those attending finish (or at least start) their holiday shopping.
No matter what, they gave all of us a GREAT list of books to give and get (and maybe start reading today). Just look below for their picks and reviews, and some great gift ideas.
We thank everyone who attended. We thank our presenters. We thank Dan and Whit's for donating a portion of wine sales for the evening. And finally, we thank the presenters! To easily shop from an indie bookstore, just use the Norwich Bookstore's online ordering page for this event.
Sci-Fi & Fantasy: because everyone can use an escape, even a dystopian one
Spear by Nicola Griffith (2022). King Arthur but make it queer. ~ Selected by Emma
Books for your favorite High Schooler
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (2021). Intersectional feminism, strong community, and murder. ~ Selected by Erin
Non-fiction or reference books for sitting by the woodstove
From Here to Equality by William Darity (2022). enraging history. deeply researched. paradigm shifting. ~ Selected by Samantha
Africa Is Not A Country by Dipo Faloyin (2022). Essential primer on history and culture. ~ Selected by Sam
Adult fiction for everyone who craves an engrossing novel
True Biz by Sara Novic (2022). True Talk about Deaf culture - Electrifying! ~ Selected by Lucinda
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (2019). Hot and hilarious in equal measure. ~ Selected by Emma
Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner (2019). Political and petty nuns lack piety. ~ Selected by Emma
Poetry: because everyone can use more in their life
Essential Ruth Stone by Ruth Stone (2020). Honest. Stays on my bed stand. ~ Selected by Samantha
Coffee table books or literary gifts that fit everyone on your gift list
American Wildflowers by Susan Barba (2022). Beautiful writing, beautiful art, beautiful concept.~ Selected by Sam
Biography & Memoir: When living vicariously through other’s memories helps
Riverman by Ben McGrath (2022). Turns out, freedom is very affordable. ~ Selected by Sam
Goddess Pose by Michelle Goldberg (2016). Brisk Storytelling. Epic Adventure. Inspiring woman. ~ Selected by Samantha
Mysteries because everyone can use a thrill
Shutter by Romona Emerson (2022). Riveting storytelling with murder & ghosts. ~ Selected by Lucinda
Verifiers by Jane Pek (2022). Old-school sleuthing for the internet age. ~ Selected by Sam
Books for young readers (think ages 8-12)
Measuring Up by Lily Lamotte (2020). Kid cooking competition brings family together. ~ Selected by Erin
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen (2002). Compelling characters. Survival adventure. Restorative Justice. ~ Selected by Samantha
Picture books for kids (think under 8): For great read alouds, snuggling or quiet contemplation
After the Fall by Dan Santat (2017). Facing fears and learning to fly. ~ Selected by Erin
Books for your favorite tween
Attack of the Black Rectangles by AS King (2022). Middle schoolers protest censorship with aplomb. ~ Selected by Emma
Books for foodies and foodie aspirationals -- cookbooks and beyond
Black Food by Bryant Terry (2021). Genre defying art, prose, and recipes. ~ Selected by Erin
Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman (2022). Deb makes everything easy & delicious! ~ Selected by Lucinda
Breaking Bread by Debra Spark (2022). Bite-sized morsels of literary food memories. ~ Selected by Lucinda
It's that time of year -- gift giving, multiple festivities, and our annual Holiday Edition of Pages in the Pub.
Pages in the Pub is a lively evening of discussing and celebrating books with the Norwich Bookstore, The Book Jam, and the Norwich Public Library. Discover new reads and connect with fellow book lovers!
AND leave with a fabulous list of books to give and get.
This year’s gathering will be online via Zoom, so pour yourself a pint or grab a snack and settle in at home for the fun!
Register here | $20 per registration
ALL proceeds benefit the Norwich Public Library.