Books

Courtesy VCFA

The first-ever Vermont Book Award winner has been announced. Chosen from six finalists, poet Kerrin McCadden of Plainfield won for her collection Landscape With Plywood Silhouettes.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The students at St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies are there to learn to behave as proper maidens should. The girls' lives are mundane under the care of their miserly headmistress. But despite their dreary situation at school, there is one fate that all the girls agree would be far worse. And that is being sent home.

So when their headmistress and her brother drop dead at Sunday dinner, the young ladies decide to bury the bodies in the back garden and keep the murders a secret. Thus is born The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

Canadian author Louise Penny conjured the small village of Three Pines for her bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache series. The idyllic town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, just north of the Vermont border, is just the place one would want to live, if not for the high murder rate.

Johnson State College

Getting published in the New Yorker is a high honor for any author, and that’s particularly true for literary fiction. This week a Johnson State College professor achieved that honor with his story “The Apartment,” published in the Aug. 31 issue of the magazine.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Dr. Seuss fans have a big treat this summer: An unpublished manuscript found among papers left by the late children's writer has just been released.

Right inside the entrance to the Dartmouth bookstore, there it is, a book that was almost lost to history. Almost a quarter century after the death of Dr. Seuss — a.k.a. Theodor Geisel — a new book is for sale.

The Windham County Economic Development Program has been re-launched to distribute funds negotiated from the closure of Vermont Yankee. The High Meadows Fund promotes and finances a new watershed resilience initiative. The Vermont Steampunk Festival is coming to Springfield in September.

Lenemeryphoto / Springfield Vermont Steampunk Festival

Whether you're a steampunk enthusiast, or just curious about the fiction genre that has developed a cult-like following, you may want to make plans to be in Springfield this September. The inaugural Springfield Steampunk Festival is happening September 11-13.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

The long-awaited Harper Lee novel Go Set a Watchman hit bookshelves July 14. To celebrate the release, bookstores across the country held themed parties. Some screened the 1962 movie To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck. Others served southern food or opened at midnight, when bookstores were allowed to start selling the new book. The Vermont Book Shop took a different approach.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts is hosting the first Vermont Book Award this year. Judges announced the six finalists in the running for the inaugural honor – and the $5,000 prize – Thursday.

Jessamyn West / Vermont Library Association

The Vermont Library Association is taking a page out of the 251 Club's playbook or, more accurately, its travel journal. The VLA has signed up 99 libraries around Vermont to issue library passports to encourage patrons to visit other Vermont libraries this summer.

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.

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