The Book Jam Blog
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Last Thursday evening marked a turning point for our annual live holiday fundraising event "Pages in the Pub”. As is always the case in chilly November, we gathered, we talked, we laughed, and a panel of book lovers reviewed a varied collection of fascinating titles all to benefit our beloved Norwich Public Library. But this year, even though our plans to come together in the wine cellar of the historic Norwich Inn were waylaid, book lovers were still miraculously able to participate “virtually” from the comfort of their own homes. Despite the many challenges presented to readers in 2020, the tradition of “Pages” carried on. As has been the case with so many events this year, Pages in the Pub: Holiday 2020 happened on ZOOM.
Yes, there were technical hiccups (but very few), internet issues (very Vermont), even some questions beforehand about lighting and wardrobes (Flannel? Candlelight? Neon light? Purple? Guess you had to be there!). And it was all wonderful just the same. Audience members took away ideas for holiday gifts and the energy and enthusiasm of presenters for their picks burst through computer screens.
And the audience loved it! Comments included:
With today's post, all will now have access to the great books our presenters recommended. Throughout this post, we link each book individually to the Norwich Bookstore and we also link to the entire list in one place (just click right here) to make ordering even easier. From bird books to Barack Obama’s new memoir to some much-needed humor from Jerry Seinfeld, there’s something for everyone (even for younger, burgeoning book worms with our picture and chapter book ideas). We hope they all help you complete your holiday shopping with ease and joy.
Short bios of each of the presenters, Lucinda Walker, Chris Rimmer, Penny McConnel, Tom Candon, and Lisa Christie, as well as our superb emcee Danielle Cohen appear at the end of this post to help you with your selections. We thank them all for their time and reviews. We also thank Natasha Leskiw, our zoom chat room guru, and our partners, the Norwich Bookstore (thank you for always generously donating a portion of "Pages" proceeds to the library) and the Norwich Public Library for ensuring this virtual version succeeded.
So now, happy shopping and happy reading!
NON-FICTION/REFERENCE BOOKS: FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO PONDER LARGE TOMES WHILE WATCHING MASKED NEIGHBORS STROLL BY
The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larsen (2020). Churchill, Blitz, Roosevelt, Informative, Family, History. ~ Selected by Penny.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama (2020). Long Awaited, Personal, History, Family, Memoir. ~ Selected by Penny. (Audiobook too.)
The 99% Invisible City: A field guide to the hidden world of everyday design by Roman Mars (2020). An entertaining & educational look at design. ~ Selected by Lucinda.
What It’s Like to Be A Bird by David Sibley (2020). Engaging, enlightening insights into avian lives. ~ Selected by Chris.
Say We Won and Get Out: George D. Aiken and the Vietnam War by Stephen Terry (2020). Politicians with conscience? Bipartisanship? Dream world?. ~ Selected by Tom.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell (2019). Signature Gladwell; apropos of the time. ~ Selected by Tom.
COOKBOOKS: GIFTS FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR COVID
See You on Sunday by Sam Sifton (2020). Family, Friends, Adaptable, Informative, Sharing, Love. ~ Selected by Penny.
Sustainable Kitchen by Heather Wolfe and Jaynie McCloskey (2020). Delicious recipes create environmentally-friendly eats. ~ Selected by Lucinda.
ADULT FICTION: FOR ANYONE WHO ONLY HAS TIME FOR THE BEST FICTION
The Searcher by Tana French (2020). Ireland, Mystery, Secrets, Compassion, Well Written. ~ Selected by Penny.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy (2020). Futuristic, dark human and ecological odyssey. ~ Selected by Chris.
American Spy: A Novel by Lauren Wilkinson (2020). Not your traditional spy story – good. ~ Selected by Tom.
ADULT FICTION: FOR A WOMAN WHO ONLY HAS TIME FOR THE BEST FICTION AFTER REMAINING SOCIALLY DISTANCED ALL DAY
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls (2020). When first love & Shakespeare’s words collide. ~ Selected by Lucinda.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet (2020). Unraveling the mystery of personal identity. ~ Selected by Lucinda.
THRILLERS TO HELP EVERYONE FORGET THE NEWS
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (2020). Lakota enforcer seeks justice. Amazing debut. ~ Selected by Lisa.
FOR HARD TO SHOP FOR FRIENDS: BOOKS FROM A GENRE YOU
DON'T USUALLY READ
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (2020). NYC boroughs personified - speculative fiction bonanza! ~ Selected by Lucinda.
BOOKS FOR YOUR FAVORITE HIGH SCHOOLER: “NOT REQUIRED” READING FOR TEENS TO PONDER
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (2019). Coming-of-age adventure; haunting, uplifting, gripping, poignant. ~ Selected by Chris.
Clap When You Land by Elisabeth Acevedo (2020). Two girls, same father, expand family. ~ Selected by Lisa.
PICTURE BOOKS FOR FAMILIES TO READ TOGETHER DURING SNOWSTORMS
Escape Goat by Ann Patchett (2020). Fun. Family. Farm. Goat. Humorous. Colorful. ~ Selected by Penny.
Tiny Bird: A hummingbird’s amazing journey by Robert Burleigh (2020). Inspiring tale of wondrous hummingbird migration. ~ Selected by Chris.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS: THOSE BEYOND TONKA TRUCKS & TEA PARTIES BUT NOT YET READY FOR TEEN TOPICS
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (2020). “Little House” from a Chinese-American perspective. ~ Selected by Lisa.
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim (2020). Teen’s mistaken identity defies & saves family. ~ Selected by Lisa.
CLASSICS FOR ANYONE: BOOKS THAT REMAIN ON YOUR SHELVES NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU CLEAN AS PART OF COVID-19 PROJECTS
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean (1976). Family, friendships, love, loss, American West. ~ Selected by Tom.
FOR YOUR FAVORITE CO-WORKERS, NEIGHBORS, AND COVID HEROES: THESE ARE JUST PERFECT GIFTS
Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (2020). Because we ALL need to laugh. ~ Selected by Lisa. (Audiobook too)
To help you know a bit more about our presenters, to give them some recognition, and possibly help you pick the perfect books from this Pages in the Pub list for your holiday shopping needs, here are short bios for everyone.
Lucinda Walker loves her job as the Director of the Norwich Public Library. Her new favorite word is "pivot" and she is grateful for the dedication and expertise of her NPL colleagues. Some of her favorite things include the podcasts "99% Invisible" and "Smartless", popcorn, and playing music with her husband Peter and their two kids, Hartley & Lily.
Chris Rimmer is a longtime Norwich resident, an ornithologist and avid (his wife would say obsessive) birder, and founding executive director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. He'd rather watch than read about birds any day, but happily does both. When not chasing birds around the Upper Valley or on mountaintops in the Northeast and Caribbean, he enjoys fly fishing, paddling, hiking, and gardening.
Penny McConnel has been selling books for 41 years. She and Liza Bernard opened the Norwich Bookstore in August of 1994 and Penny although not working anyway near as many hours she did in the past, still can often be found behind the counter at the store or selling books at the many offsite events where the store travels. She lives in Norwich with husband Jim and spends her off time reading, knitting, gardening, cooking & dreaming of her next beach walk.
Tom Candon is Associate Managing Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth. In this role, he helps oversee the Center's day-to-day operations. From 2014-2018, he also served as the Administrative Director for Dartmouth's Mandela Washington Fellowship Program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative. For the past eight years, he has served on the Norwich School Board. He thought he would have been more productive with house projects during the pandemic, but he was able to help build a fence for his wife's dog and binge watch some excellent series that even his two teenage daughters would watch.
Lisa Christie, co-founder of the Book Jam, was in previous times the Founder/Executive Director of Everybody Wins! Vermont and USA, literacy programs that help children love books. She currently works as a part-time non-profit consultant, school board member, and all-the-time believer in the power of books. She lives in Norwich with her musician husband, two superb teenage sons, and a very large dog. She often dreams of travel.
Danielle Cohen is an audiobook narrator and actor, living in Norwich, Vermont. She grew up in Manchester, England, reading anything and everything aloud, and at the age of eight dreamed of being a news reader, or later, a stand-up comedian! Neither of those ever happened, but she did pursue an acting career for many years and has performed in many productions at Northern Stage in White River Junction, VT. She loves telling a good story and being an audiobook narrator has been a natural progression. When she is not narrating audiobooks, she can be found walking or running with friends, playing board games with her husband and teenage daughters, or baking and eating cake!
THE OTHER BOOK JAM LISA
Lisa Cadow is the co-founder of the Book Jam. When not reading or experimenting in her kitchen, she is a full-time student of counseling at the University of Vermont. She fervently believes that health outcomes would improve if doctors could prescribe books to patients as well as medicine. Lisa lives in Norwich with her husband, three cats, and a fun border collie and loves it when her three adult children visit.