I’ve said this before: one of my favorite annual library events is the rapid reviews session at the annual Vermont library conference. And, I missed the conference this year, so I won’t be able to see this event until 2013. However, I do have the list of annotated reviews, which I will in brief, print below.
There are five librarians who, in rapid-fire, in front of a packed house, go through some 50 of their favorite books published in the past year in about 1.5 hours. Below under their names are two of titles selected from each of their lists. These are random selections by me, and in no way might it be their selections for this newsletter. You may find these titles in the Brooks Memorial Library. Mr. Money’s titles are on order, so holds may be placed on them.
-- Jerry Carbone, Brooks Memorial Library director
Vermont Department of Libraries
* Bechdel, Alison. "Are You My Mother?" Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Vermont cartoonist follows Fun Home with a strong memoir. Intense!
* deWitt, Patrick. "The Sisters Brothers." Ecco, 2011. A classic Western, sort of. Eli and Charlie Sisters are gunslingers in novel set in the 1850s.
* Lively, Penelope. "How It All Began." Viking, 2012. A broken hip changes many lives. Pair with Stewart O’Nan’s "Emily, Alone"?
* Redniss, Lauren. "Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie." It
Vermont Historical Society
* Randall, Willard Sterne. "Ethan Allen: His Life and Times." W. W. Norton, 2011. Vermont biographer takes another look at a Vermont hero; new treatment of an old subject.
* Guyette, Elise A. "Discovering Black Vermont: African American Farmers in Hinesburgh," 1790/1890. University of Vermont Press, 2010. African-Americans eke out a living on a hill in Vermont; an overlooked part of our history.
* Brown, Dona. "Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America." University of Wisconsin Press, 2011. Intellectual underpinnings of the "back to the land movement" that has been a recurring theme in Vermont history.
* Drysdale, M. Dicke. "The Wrath of Irene: Vermont’s Imperfect Storm of 2011." The Herald of Randolph, 2012. The storm as experienced in the White River watershed; news articles and first-hand accounts; many color photographs.
* Cook, Jeanne Weston, "Voices from the Flood." Northfield Historical Society, 2012. Essays about people affected by the storm in Northfield and Roxbury; black and white photos.
University of Vermont
* Harrison, Kathryn. "Enchantments." Random House, 2012. An enchanting, and horrifying, tale of what happens to Rasputin’s daughter and the Romanov’s sick son after Rasputin’s death and the Tsar’s fall. Call it love in the time of hemophilia.
* Marcus, Ben. "The Flame Alphabet." Knopf, 2012. When children’s speech becomes toxic, their parents (and the entire town) quietly panic. Enough said.
* Riggs, Ransom. "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children." Quirk Books, 2011. Your grandpa gets attacked by monsters after warning you for 16 years that it was going to happen. So you go insane and fly to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where you loop back and forth in time before saving other oddballs from certain death.
Church of Christ at
* Belafonte, Harry. "My Song: A Memoir." Knopf, 2011. Emotionally intense retelling of an important man’s life.
* Garfield, Simon. "Just My Type: A Book About Fonts." Gotham, 2011. We look at dozens of them every day, can maybe name a few, but have probably never considered the personalities, events and conflicts behind the words all around us. A crash course in all things font.
* Krondl, Michael. "Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert." Chicago Review Press, 2011. Fascinating history, with scientific, metaphysical and secular uses for desserts from fudge to macaroons.
* Levinson, Marc. "The Great A & P and the Struggle for Small Business in America." Hill and Wang, 2011. Superb cultural history, evocative and delightful.
* Van Buren, Peter. "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People." Metropolitan, 2011. Mordant humor, first person account of the "reconstruction." If you have only one book about the Iraq war, this should be the one.
Peter Money, Harbor Mountain Press
* Gilborn, Alice Wolf, et al. "Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont." The Blueline Press, 2012. Hot off The Shires Press in Manchester, this handsome collection is the latest literary celebration of contemporary Vermont (and Vermont-related) poets.
* Nichols, Robert. "Address to the Smaller Animals." Harbor Mountain Press, 2008. Nichols was Grace Paley’s husband; after years in New York City, they lived in Vermont.
* Antoon, Sinan. "The Baghdad Blues." Harbor Mountain Press, 2007. This book is essential for all libraries interested in Iraq. Antoon grew-up in Baghdad, studied American Literature, taught at nearby Dartmouth College, received a degree from Harvard, and had his novel "I’jaam" published by the famous City Lights Books.
* Ginsberg, Alan. "Howl." A number of editions. The historical significance of this book is legendary and this text is essential for any serious poetry collection. If you or a patron likes "Howl," they may also like Ginsberg protégé named Antler -- particularly Antler’s long poem, à la Howl, "Factory."
More picks will be printed in this column next week.
Amy Howlett is a library development consultant with the Vermont Department of Libraries; Paul Carnahan, a Brattleboro native, has been the library director at the Vermont Historical Society for 22 years. He compiles the "New in Vermont History" listing that appears at the back of the journal Vermont History twice a year; Nancy Bercaw is a program specialist for the UVM Libraries, with emphasis on internal communications. She is a frequent contributor to Seven Days; Ernie Drown is the music director at the UCC church in Hanover, and former director of the Aldrich Library in Barre; and Peter Money is a poet, librarian, college instructor, and lover of literature.
For Love of Book is a column written by readers of notable books which may be found in local libraries and bookstores. "Guidelines for Reviewers" may be requested from Brooks Memorial Library at 802-254-5290 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect to the library’s web catalog to search for books and other materials, at www.brooks.lib.vt.us.