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Inequality in the United States is the stuff of headlines these days and has been gaining more attention in the years since the economic collapse of 2008, but the gap between rich and poor in America has been steadily increasing for decades before that crisis occurred.

The statistics are startling, including this: The one family that owns Wal-Mart has as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population — some 120 million people.

In his latest book of poetry, Winter Ready, Leland Kinsey continues to explore the themes of family, time, and landscape that have occupied his previous works. They serve him well, as he examines the Northeast Kingdom he lives in and that his family has called home for generations.

Kinsey spoke with Vermont Edition about the book.

HMH Books for Young Readers

The annual cycle for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s book award begins in the spring, when the nominating committee releases the Master List of 30 titles. The books on the list are aimed at readers in grades four through eight. The committee aims to have something on the list for every reader in that age range – from novels to nonfiction picture books. To be eligible to vote for the winner, students must read at least five books on the list.

Vermont author Rebecca Rupp takes us inside a transformative summer for Danny Anderson, when he makes a set of new friends who help him overcome his grief in the novel After Eli.

AP/U.S. Forest Service/Dennis J. Souto

In the current issue of the nature writing magazine Orion, Robert Sullivan has an essay eulogizing the Eastern Hemlock.

This tree is being decimated by the hemlock wooly adelgid, a tiny but massively destructive pest. Sullivan says the hemlock has never been a particularly well-loved tree, but the experience of being in a dark, quiet, hemlock forest, where the falling pine needles create their own ambient sound would be enough to turn anyone into a fan.

Nick Adams

Addiction has the power to throw lives into chaos. Sometimes reaching across generations, it disrupts not only the addict but also the addict’s family. That’s the story told in the debut memoir by Winooski resident Jessica Hendry Nelson.

If Only You People Could Follow Directions is the story of her brother’s addiction, her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s attempt to hold the family together, and her own attempt to make a life out of chaos. She spoke with VPR's Peter Biello about her book.

Maple sugaring methods have changed greatly in Vermont. It can be traced back to the Abenaki people boiling sap in clay pots. The settlers held sugaring parties in the sugarbush. And today, we’re using vacuum tubing systems

Betty Ann Lockhart, author of Maple Sugarin’ in Vermont, and Burr Morse, owner of the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, discuss the incredible changes that maple sugaring has gone through over the past few centuries.

Herald Press

Amish life is more than plain dress, a Germanic dialect and an aversion to modern technology. It is also an insular faith which demands that adherents live, worship and marry within the community.

Courtesy Dana Dunnan

Dana Dunnan knows the world of education inside and out. He grew up in a family of educators. He's taught chemistry and journalism to high school students. He's worked on teacher training program at Harvard, and worked on educational reform initiatives in Massachusetts.

Dunnan has now retired, but has written several books containing advice for those entering the profession.  His latest is called Notes To A New Teacher.

Dunnan says it’s important to join a teacher’s union, for the protections that it can offer.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Temple Grandin: How The Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism And Changed The World by Sy Montgomery tells the story of how Dr. Temple Grandin grew from a toddler who couldn’t communicate to a college professor and one of the world’s leading animal welfare experts.

Courtesy, Macmillan Publishers

Thomas Christopher Greene is the president of Vermont College of Fine Arts, which he helped to found six years ago. He’s also a well-regarded novelist.

His latest book is out this week, The Headmaster’s Wife, and it’s generating quite a bit of buzz.  Greene spoke with Jane Lindholm about the story in which things are not as they appear a fictional Vermont boarding school.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

It’s not every day you get a check in the mail, no strings attached, just because someone likes what you do. But that’s exactly what happened to Phoenix Books owners Michael DeSanto and Renee Reiner.

The check came from best-selling author James Patterson. Patterson gave away more than a quarter-million dollars to 55 bookstores across the country this week. Recipients include Phoenix Books, in Essex, and The Norwich Bookstore. And this is just the first grant round. Patterson has pledged to give $1 million to independent bookstores this year.

The differences between introverts and extroverts can be pronounced, especially since the two personality types tend to be attracted to one another.

There’s good news for people on "team introvert", according to Burlington psychologist Dr. Arnie Kozak, the author of  The Everything Guide to the Introvert Edge, who says introverts can use their traits to their advantage.  

Dr. Kozak spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb.

Credit Michael Lionstar

If someone you loved died, how much would you give to have a chance to see them again? Sara Harrison Shea discovered a way to bring back the dead—with terrible consequences. That’s the premise of the new novel by Jennifer McMahon called The Winter People.

Broadcast on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 4:49 p.m.

Upcoming appearances:

Lahey: The Coat

Jan 24, 2014

New Hampshire is known for many things, but high fashion is generally not one of them. When I head out to the post office or to pick my son up at school, my priorities regarding coat selection center on its appropriateness to the outside temperature and whether there are eggs in the pockets left over from chicken chores the day before. If I’m feeling fancy, I might figure the coat’s color into my calculations, but I’m not usually feeling very fancy.

Krupp: 1491

Jan 17, 2014

The best book I read last year was `1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.' It's a book by Charles Mann, published in 2005, that dispels many myths about pre-Columbian America.


Phoebe Stone's The Boy on Cinnamon Street has been called a modern-day love story. The protagonist, Louise, has a secret admirer who leaves her anonymous notes and messages.

When Brattleboro Area Middle School Librarian Marry Linney got together with the seventh and eighth graders in her BAMS Book Bunch, she wanted to know if that rang true for these students of the digital age.

Photo by Sam McFarland

Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 7:49 a.m. In the midst of the Civil War, a young man named Summerfield Hayes leaves his dear sister Sarah in Brooklyn to join the Union effort. He does so not because of patriotism, but to cure himself of the sexual feelings he has for his sister.

It’s not long before he finds himself injured and abandoned by his brigade, stuck in a hospital, suspected of desertion, for which the punishment is death. That’s the premise of Nostalgia, the new novel by Vermont author Dennis McFarland.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Seventh graders at Camel’s Hump Middle School in Richmond are reading Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.  The non-fiction book by Steve Sheinkin is one of 30 nominated for this year's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.

april-mo / Flickr

The trees are bare, the temperature is dropping… it’s perfect weather to curl up with a  good book. We’ll get a few must-read recommendations from this fall's publishing season.

Also, what's on your holiday book gift list?  Claire Benedict, co-owner of Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, and Linda Ramsdell, owner of The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, will help us to navigate the literary profusion.

Post your own reading suggestions below, or send your questions to