Books

Hemera / Thinkstock

Any parent of young kids--or even older ones for that matter--struggles with the question of how much screen time kids should be exposed to in a given day or week. Experts say it should be limited, but what's the definition of "limited"? And how realistic is it in a 21st-century life populated by screens on every device from phones to tablets and computers, before we even get to TV's?

“St. Albans Invaded! Several Citizens Shot! Great Excitement Prevails!” Those were the headlines 150 years on Oct. 19, 1864.

What came to be known as the St. Albans Raid brought the Civil War, the great majority of which was fought in the south, to the northern hills of Vermont as confederate soldiers attacked and held St. Albans hostage. The details of the siege are told in a new book by author Michelle Arnoksy Sherburne, The St. Albans Raid: Confederate Attack on Vermont.

Helen Shepartz

Fans of Guilford author Michael Nethercott’s first novel, The Séance Society, will be happy to know that the so-called “odd couple” sleuths, Lee Plunkett and Mr. O’Nelligan, have returned to solve another crime.

Nethercott’s new novel, The Haunting Ballad, features Plunkett and O’Nelligan on the job in Greenwich Village in 1957. The folk singer Lorraine Cobble has fallen to her death from the roof of her apartment building. Did she jump, or was she pushed?

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

This month we go to Grand Isle School, where fifth graders have been reading Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. The book draws on Federle's own experience in musical theater and the classic middle school experience of feeling like an outcast.

Cancer has the power to transform the lives of those who are struck by it, as well as the lives of close family members. That’s the theme of the new novel by Burlington writer David Huddle. The Faulkes Chronicle focuses on Karen Faulkes, the matriarch of a large family – very large, with more than two dozen kids – and how the family’s relationships are tested by her cancer. 

Angela Evancie / VPR

Fall is here and for many Vermonters that means wrapping up the gardening season. But others are thinking about getting their hands in the soil, and planning ahead for next year's garden.

Author, gardener and VPR commentator Ron Krupp has a new book out where he chronicles the full year of a garden. It’s called The Woodchuck Returns To Gardening.  He views it as a companion to his first book, The Woodchuck’s Guide To Gardening.

Going back to your childhood home to visit your parents can be awkward at the best of times. Especially if your 38-year-old brother still lives at home and your mother is a hoarder … But sometimes going back home again is exactly what you need to do to move forward with your life. That’s the theme of Vermont author Sarah Healy’s new novel, House of Wonder. Sarah Healy spoke with Vermont Edition about the book. Healy starts off reading a passage.

Amy Noyes / VPR

Today marks the beginning of season two of Dorothy's List, Vermont Edition's series about the books that are nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher children's book award. Each month this school year, this series will bring you a story about one of the books on the list of award nominees. The winning book is selected in the spring by the Vermont middle grade students who read and discuss these books.

Martha E. Diebold Real Estate

Author J.D. Salinger, the enigmatic author of The Catcher in the Rye, was secretive and reclusive. And his neighbors in Cornish, New Hampshire guarded his privacy fiercely. So, just about anything that gives us a peak into his world is of interest to those who loved his work. Recently, a home he once owned in Cornish, New Hampshire was put up for sale by its current owner.

Courtesy Diana Whitney

Brattleboro resident Diana Whitney's debut collection of poetry, Wanting It, is gathering praise from some of the state’s top poets. Vermont Poet Laureate Sydnea Lea calls it a “brilliant book.” Major Jackson refers to the poems in this collection as “ancient secrets.”

Whitney says the title of the book does not refer to one specific thing.

“It’s the wanting it that’s beautiful, more so than the having,” she says. “If you get what you want, then you don’t get that tremulous longing.”

Charlotte Albright / VPR

For many of us, summer is a time to kick back with a good book.  And in some neighborhoods, finding something new to read is as easy as strolling down the street. Little free libraries have been sprouting all over the world—including Vermont. Some are no bigger than a bird house. Others are as large as a phone booth. You leave a book, and take one—no card necessary.

Ramon Espinosa / AP File

Writer and Vermont resident Julia Alvarez captured critical acclaim with her novels How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies. Now, she’s about to receive the National Medal of Arts in a White House ceremony on Monday. Alvarez joins us to discuss her work.

Neal Charnoff / VPR file

Author Chris Bohjalian has set his latest novel in Vermont.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands tells the story of Emily Shepard, a teenager whose parents may have been responsible for a nuclear meltdown in the Northeast Kingdom.

With the Kingdom now an off-limits radioactive zone, Shepard winds up orphaned and alone on the streets of Burlington.

The book delves into the world of homeless teens in the Queen City, where stealing, prostitution and drug use are the norm.

Dale Cahill

Tobacco may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vermont, but from the late 1800s to the mid-20th century, tobacco thrived in the southern part of the state.  To combat our unpredictable weather, farmers in this region constructed unique sheds which allowed for the drying of the tobacco leaves.

Steven Senne / AP

For the last couple years, an event has been staged in Boston Common on the Fourth of July. It’s a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro.” This year, the Vermont Humanities Council has sponsored readings of the speech around Vermont, too.

Glenn Moody / Courtesy Blue Rider Press

When journalist Michael Hastings died in a car crash a year ago at age 33, he left a legacy as a tough war reporter and gifted writer. Hastings might be best remembered for an article he wrote in 2010 for Rolling Stone about General Stanley McChrystal that led to the general’s resignation.

In the early 1970s, Sam Lattimore and Elizabeth Church met in an art gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They fell for each other and married and moved into a hotel, where, less than a year into their marriage, Elizabeth was murdered by a bellman who had become obsessed with her.

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Thinkstock

For some people, summer is full of hectic, busy days spent running from one event to the next. Others like to enjoy summer at half speed: on a picnic blanket with a glass of lemonade and a good book. If summer for you is synonymous with "summer reading," then you'll appreciate our summer book show.

We talk to Josie Leavitt, co-owner of Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, and Stan Hynds, book buyer for Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, about what makes a good summer read. And we get some of their suggestions for what books we should throw in our picnic baskets.

Courtesy

This week we’ve been exploring themes from the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The novel is this year’s pick for the Vermont Humanities Council’s state-wide reading program, Vermont Reads.

In the book, the protagonist August Pullman is facing the daunting prospect of starting fifth grade after being homeschooled. But his challenges are amplified, because he looks very different from everyone else.

Excerpt: If It's Okay For Me To Ask

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Middle school is a time when kids become teenagers, and unfortunately this doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone.

The first year of middle school is the subject of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and it’s this year’s choice for the Vermont Reads community literature program. The book follows Auggie Pullman, a 10 year old born with genetic conditions that have left him looking very different from his peers.

Lamb to the slaughter

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