Books

Jon Kalish

Fun Home, the hit Broadway show inspired by Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s memoir, won a total of five Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical. The show chronicles her childhood and college years in a family with a closeted gay father.

But Bechdel isn’t the only Vermonter with a connection to Fun Home. Eleven-year-old Oscar Williams of Charlotte plays the older of her two brothers. 

Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

Not every community is fortunate enough to have someone like Mariam Herwig, who died last Friday at the age of 91. Known to all as ‘Mim,’ Herwig was a historian, author and poet.

Photo: Jack Rowell

This week, we're considering the role of storytelling for Vermont Reads, the Vermont Humanities Council's state-wide reading program. This year's book is Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.

Haroun admires his father, the great story-teller Rashid, and his ability to keep crowds of people awestruck with the power of his tales. When he travels to a magical world to bring back the source of the stories, Haroun meets a mysterious page called Blabbermouth, a girl who masquerades for a time as a boy, and in her presence, Haroun finds himself without words.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

All this week, we're discussing Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. It's this year's pick for the Vermont Humanities Council's Vermont Reads state-wide reading program.

Twelve-year-old Haroun has traveled to a magical land where all the world's stories are created. And it's up to him to stop a villain who controls a shadowy cult of silence from poisoning the Ocean that serves as the birthplace of the Sea of Stories.

Here's a passage from the moment when Haroun finally confronts the nemesis of storytelling, Khattum-Shud:

Ross Mantle

All this week, we're exploring the novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. The book is the Vermont Humanities Council's pick for Vermont Reads, the statewide community reading program.

At the heart of the book is Haroun, who tries to help his famous story-telling father, Rashid, who loses his "gift for gab" after his wife Soraya runs away with their neighbor, Mr. Sengupta.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Each year, VPR collaborates with the Vermont Humanities Council for "Vermont Reads," a statewide reading program. This year, people around Vermont are reading and discussing Haroun and the Sea of Stories by acclaimed author Salman Rushdie.

Random House Children's Books

Sharon Colvin, Vermont's new Youth Services Consultant for the Vermont Department of Libraries, recently had the honor of announcing the winner of the 2014-2015 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award to a room full of Vermont teachers and librarians. However, many of them had already heard the award is going to Chris Grabenstein, author of Escape form Mr. Lemoncello's Library. It's hard to keep a secret from a good librarian.

Chris Bailey

Deanna Emberley Bailey grew up in Shelburne and Charlotte. In 1985 she crossed the Connecticut River to attend Dartmouth College, where she played varsity soccer and majored in biology and education. She also met her future husband Chris, a classmate.

After their Dartmouth graduations, Chris and Deanna followed their dreams around New England. They got married, and pursued graduate school and their careers, Chris in sustainable agriculture and Deanna in education. They also had two sons and eventually settled down in Barre.

duncan1890 / iStock

This week marks two important dates for William Shakespeare: Although his actual birth date is unknown, he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and died almost 400 years ago on April 23, 1616.

David Evans, president of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, argues that everyone – literary scholar or not – should be acquainted with Shakespeare, and not just on the anniversary of his death.

Nina Keck / VPR

Phoenix Books will open a 2,400-square-foot store in downtown Rutland by September. City officials say it's the latest step in collaborative efforts to revitalize the city.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Prisoner 88 is among a handful of historical fiction titles nominated for this year's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award. It's the story of 10-year-old Jake Oliver Evans who, in 1885, is sentenced to five years in the Idaho Territorial Penitentiary for fatally shooting a man who threatened his father.

In 1972, when asked his opinion of the French Revolution’s effect on world history, Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En Lai responded, “Too soon to tell.”

A long view, to be sure, but many historians prefer it. Only time provides the perspective necessary for genuine understanding.

Stephen Martin

Orville Gibson went missing before dawn on the morning of New Years Eve in 1957. Three months later, his body was found in the Connecticut River, his legs and arms bound with rope.

Alex Diotto/Jeremy Holt

Vermont writer Jeremy Holt of Middlebury has written a graphic novel in four issues called Southern Dog, which tackles teen angst, the after-effects of a wolf bite and racism in the Deep South.

Holt recently spoke to VPR about where the story elements for Southern Dog emerged, and what fueled the writing process.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

For New Hampshire sixth grader Ruby Pepperdine, the "center of everything" is up on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors, stargazing with her grandmother, Gigi. In Vermont author Linda Urban's book The Center of Everything, after Gigi dies, Ruby has one big regret. She didn't listen to the last thing her grandmother tried to tell her.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Vermont College of Fine Arts, in Montpelier, was in celebration mode last week as the American Library Association announced its annual awards for young adult and children's literature. Three alumnae, one of whom is now on the faculty, and a former faculty member of the school's Masters of Fine Arts program in Writing for Children and Young Adults earned ALA honors.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

P.S. Be Eleven takes place in a very different time and place from modern-day Moretown, Vermont. The book's three sisters live in Brooklyn, New York in the late-1960s with their Pa and grandmother, who they call Big Ma. But, their mother lives in Oakland, California where she's involved with the radical civil rights group the Black Panthers.

ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England

In the late 19th century, the Arctic Basin was a mystery to many, destroying ships and explorers with its fierce ice. The Fram was a revolutionary ship designed to solve this problem, built to latch on to, and float with, the Arctic ice.

Northshire Bookstore

In the Rutland area, the name Lenny Burke is well known to many. But thanks to a new book by Yvonne Daley, called A Bend in the Road, Lenny Burke's remarkable story of overcoming a traumatic brain injury is being rediscovered by a whole new generation. And many are only just now realizing the tremendous impact Burke and his mother Emmie have had on T.B.I. treatment in Vermont and beyond.

Simon & Schuster

Women are a larger part of the labor force than ever before in the U.S., but society is still not always kind to women who step out of the boundaries of what's considered acceptable. That's one reason Vermont author Megan Mayhew Bergman wrote her new book of short stories, Almost Famous Women.

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