Look Here for Great Books for Holiday Giving for ALL ages
Last week in our hometown of Norwich, book lovers once again converged on our historic Norwich Inn to raise money for our treasured Norwich Public Library and get a jump start on our holiday shopping. Our superb presenters spoke about their favorite picks for gift giving, and once again sold a lot of books. We thank them for donating their expertise. And, thanks to the generosity of the amazing Norwich Bookstore, the event raised roughly $1,300 for the Norwich Public Library. And, we all get to enjoy their great list of books for us to give and to get.
This post lists all the books discussed during the evening, each with its special six word review provided by the presenter. You’ll notice that the selections are divided into rather specific categories to make gift-giving easier, but not to deter anyone from trying any title. We hope you have fun browsing these selections. We also hope that you enjoy holiday shopping from the comfort of your computer/iPad/phone using the direct links to each selection, and that you are inspired to visit your favorite indie bookseller and purchase some of these in person.
And now, our superb presenters’ picks for holiday gift giving, with their intriguing bios at the end.
For people who like to cook up a culinary snowstorm
- Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (2017). Selected by Carin Pratt - Beautiful ways to eat more vegetables!
- Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman (2017). Selected by Lucinda Walker - ‘Sizzling’ ‘Bacony’ ‘Carmelized’ ‘Crispy’ ‘Simple’ = Delicious.
- How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman (2017). Selected by Lisa Cadow - Tasty Veggies. Two Thousand Recipes. Techniques!
For people who enjoy non-fiction or reference books while sitting by the woodstove
- Footsteps: From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco edited by The New York Times (2017). Selected by Lucinda Walker - Travel through bite-sized literary essays.
- The Apparitionists by Peter Manseau (2017). Selected by Jeff Sharlet - The man who “photographed” Lincoln’s ghost.
- Democracy in Chains by Nancy Maclean (2017). Selected by Jeff Sharlet - Riveting pre-history of the Trumpocene.
For people who enjoy living vicariously through other people’s memories
- The Wine Lover’s Daughter by Anne Fadiman (2017). Selected by Carin Pratt - Clear-eyed depiction of complex oenophile dad.
- Among the Living and the Dead by Inara Verzemnieks (2017). Selected by Jeff Sharlet - “Returning” to a land never yours.
For kids & for families to read together
- The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen (2017). Selected by Lucinda Walker - Guess who lives in wolf’s tummy!
- The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies (2017). Selected by Jeff Sharlet - The whale returns, the deep revisited.
- 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar & Ross MacDonald. (2017). Selected by Lisa Christie - A good pun is never done!
For middle grade & middle school readers, those beyond Tonka trucks and tea parties but not ready for teen topics
- The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Peréz. (2017). Selected by Lucinda Walker - First rule of punk: be yourself.
- Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh. (2017). Selected by Lisa Christie - We need to read diverse authors.
For your favorite young adult who still likes to drink hot chocolate and spend snowy days reading
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017). Selected by Carin Pratt - Revelatory YA novel everyone should read.
- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. (2017). Selected by Lisa Christie - Mystery; mental health; important: you’ll cry.
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. (2017). Selected by Lisa Christie - Elevator ride dilemma. Violence explained? Important.
For anyone who just needs an engrossing novel to help them recover from the news
- Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (2017). Selected by Lucinda Walker - Smart, funny, moving novel of persistence.
- Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (2017). Selected by Carin Pratt - Fearless WWII-era diver searches for father.
- Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins (2016). Selected by Lisa Christie - Short stories read like superb films.
For enjoyment by your hosts or coworkers – or just about anyone!
- This Land: An American Portrait by Jack Spencer (2017). Selected by Carin Pratt -Exquisite soul-calming meditative images of America.
- Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner (2016). Selected by Jeff Sharlet - The reading life of a novelist.
- Mistletoe Murder: And Other Stories by P. D. James (2016). Selected by Lisa Cadow - Mysteries. Great gift for holiday hosts.
Lucinda Walker has been the Director of the Norwich Public Library since 2002 and is grateful for her colleagues and this remarkable community. Besides books, her favorite things include French roast coffee, skiing, Provincetown, storytelling podcasts, and Saturday Night Live. Her favorite time to read is at 3 am. Lucinda lives in Brownsville with her poet husband Peter and two amazing kids, Hartley & Lily.
Jeff Sharlet, a journalist and associate professor of creative writing at Dartmouth, is the nationally bestselling author or editor of six books of literary journalism, including The Family, described by Barbara Ehrenreich as “one of the most compelling and brilliantly researched exposes you’ll ever read." He is an editor-at-large for Virginia Quarterly Review and a contributor to periodicals such as Harper's, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in Norwich with his wife, son and daughter, where he is an avid patron of the Norwich Public Library and Norwich Bookstore.
Carin Pratt, a native of Massachusetts, Carin moved to the Upper Valley (specifically Strafford) six years ago after spending 30 years in DC working as a television producer, finishing as executive producer of Face the Nation. She’s never looked back. She reads a lot, and works part-time at the Norwich Bookstore in order to afford her addiction to books.
Lisa Christie is the co-founder of the Book Jam. In previous times, she was 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, part-time Dartmouth graduate student, and all-the-time believer in the power of books. She lives in Norwich with her musician husband, two superb sons, and a very large dog. She often dreams of travel.
Lisa Cadow is the co-founder of the Book Jam. When not reading or experimenting in her kitchen, she works as a health coach for Dartmouth Health Connect, an innovative primary care practice in Hanover, NH. 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.
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