The Bennington Bookshop   November 2015

 Vermont's oldest independent bookstore

It's almost Thanksgiving!

It's hard to believe it's almost Thanksgiving already! We've been so busy in The Bookshop that time has just flown past. In this newsletter, we report on our October events -  we had author events with Archer Mayor, Marie White Small and Megan Mayhew Bergman. We also resumed our Children's Story Hour, which is held on the third Saturday of each month. We share an interview with Howard Frank Mosher, whose new book, God's Kingdom, was released in early October. Howard will be doing a reading and book signing at the Bennington Free Library on November 2nd. For the home bakers out there: It's time to dust off those favorite cookie recipes in preparation for The Great Bennington Bake Off with Ellen Stimson - details below. We have a couple of brief reviews from Linda, a sneak preview of a thriller, and a student review from Madelyn Harris. We also have news of plans for a Mystery Book Club. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop.

Here's a November poem from Clyde Watson:

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

- Clyde Watson
God's Kingdom - Howard Frank Mosher
Howard Frank Mosher's new book, God's Kingdom, was released on October 6th. Set in northeastern Vermont in the 1950s, God’s Kingdom continues the story of the Kinneson family from Mosher’s bestselling A Stranger in the Kingdom (1989).

Here we reproduce an interview with Howard Frank Mosher:
Does the title of your new novel God’s Kingdom refer to an actual place? Yes. Vermont’s fabled “Northeast Kingdom,” the setting for most of my fiction, is sometimes called “God’s Kingdom,” in reference to its remoteness and unspoiled natural beauty. 

God’s Kingdom chronicles the ongoing story of the Kinneson family of Kingdom County, whom you introduced in your 1989 novel A Stranger in the Kingdom. Were the Kinnesons inspired by a local family? Actually, the Kinnesons are based quite closely on my own family. God’s Kingdom picks up the story of Jim Kinneson, the 14-year-old narrator of A Stranger in the Kingdom, and follows him through his high-school years in the tiny village of Kingdom Common, a few miles south of the Canadian border.

How long have you lived in the Kingdom? My wife, Phillis Mosher, and I have lived here all our adult lives. We grew up in rural, upstate New York and came to the Kingdom right out of college. What I discovered was a gold mine of stories that had never been written by anyone. Our first landlady in the Kingdom manufactured and sold moonshine whiskey in order to keep her family afloat during the Great Depression. Some years later, she married the revenuer who’d declined to arrest her because he knew that if he did, she’d lose her farm. One of my early day jobs was working in the woods with an elderly horse-logger and former whiskey runner named Jake Blodgett. When our son was born, in 1972, Phillis and I named him Jake. In the mid-1970s, our neighbor and mentor in all things pertaining to God’s Kingdom, the hardscrabble farmer Margery Moore, was accused of robbing the local bank. She hinted that yes, perhaps she did know something about the robbery, and the loot might be buried at the bottom of a 30-foot-high manure pile that she’d wanted moved for years. The cops moved her manure – found what you usually find at the bottom, and nothing else. The stolen money, about $30,000, was never recovered.                
Are you optimistic about the future of place-based fiction in the electronic era? Yes, or in any other era. I think that humans can be defined as “the storytelling species.” Since Homer and the Bible, stories have helped to preserve our history and culture and reveal what it means to be human in a particular place at a particular time. In the end, the place I call “God’s Kingdom” is best defined by its stories. No one writer could ever get to all of them in a lifetime.

God’s Kingdom is dedicated to your wife, Phillis: “To Phillis, aka Dr.Francine Lafleur Kinneson.”  Is Jim’s beautiful, outspoken girlfriend, Frannie, based on Phillis? Absolutely. Phillis and I went to high school and college together. We’ve been best friends since tenth grade. Last summer we celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary.

Note: Howard Frank Mosher will read from his new novel, God's Kingdom, and discuss the real-life places, people, and events that inspired the book at the Bennington Free Llibrary on Monday, November 2nd, starting at 7pm. There will be a question and answer session ,and Howard will sign copies of his books. The event is co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.
The Great Bennington Bake Off with Ellen Stimson
We're excited to announce that Ellen Stimson, best-selling author of Mud Season, will be holding a special event at the Bennington Free Library on December 14th to celebrate the release of her latest book,
An Old Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home. Ellen's book includes 98 homey recipes, from warm drinks for the first snowfall to treats for furry friends, from indulgent snacks for carolers to a traditional menu for Christmas day. To launch this special book in real style, Ellen's event will take the form of a conversation about her books, as well as a holiday cookie competition. Yes! That's right! A holiday cookie competition!

How does it work? We ask people attending the event to bring along samples of their best home-baked cookies made from their favorite family recipes. Ellen, along with Matthew Littrell, local chef and baker at Crazy Russian Girls, will judge the entries, with the winner being awarded a signed copy of Ellen's new book. Of course, everyone is welcome to join this free event, with or without cookies. 

Special delivery: While we're on the subject of baking, we had a special delivery at The Bookshop a couple of weeks ago: John cycled all the way in from North Bennington to drop off a freshly-baked loaf of pumpkin bread! Thank you, John!

Shelf Talkers

The Thing about Jellyfish
Ali Benjamin
Reviewed by Linda

I love this book! Suzy is a smart girl – she knows lots of things her classmates don't know – and has endless curiosity. She also is entering the confusing world of middle school and feels out of place. When she loses her best friend, she struggles with grief and making sense of it all. This is a beautiful, funny, insightful work of children's fiction.

A Spool of Blue Thread
Anne Tyler
Reviewed by Linda

Anne Tyler has done it again. As the book jacket so aptly states, Tyler tells the story of the Whitshank family with “all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of [her] work.” Four generations of the Whitshank family struggle with their legacy – family secrets, disappointments, love and loss, failures and successes, and the familial roles that have shaped each of them.

Sneak Preview
What She Knew
Gilly Macmillan
To be released in January 2016
Reviewed by Phil

Gilly Macmillan's debut novel is a gripping psychological thriller set in the city of Bristol in the west of England. Rachel Jenner's eight-year-old son runs ahead on a late afternoon walk through the woods and disappears. Rachel, already reeling from a recent divorce, feels her world fall apart. A disastrous press conference serves only to turn the community against her. As the days mount up, the police investigation turns its focus on ever more suspects, but there's still no sign of Ben. It's left to Rachel to piece together the vital clues that help bring the case to its conclusion.

This is an excellent read. What She Knew would be a great addition to any book club's reading list, especially a Mystery Book Club. Speaking of which...
Mystery Book Club
Several recent visitors to The
Bookshop have asked about forming a Mystery Book Club. Let's do it! If you're interested in joining such a club, please email Phil (phil@bennington Please indicate your availability for meeting, e.g. mornings, afternoons or evenings, and your preferred days.
Student review
Each month, we ask local school students to submit reviews of the books they are reading. We select one of these for publication in the newsletter. The reviewer receives a $10 gift certificate for The Bennington Bookshop. This month's review is from Madelyn Harris. Congratulations, Madelyn!

Lumberjanes Volume One: Beware the Kitten Holy - Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis.
Illustrated by Brooke Allen

Reviewed by Madelyn Harris, Grade 2

I read Lumberjanes Volume One: Beware the Kitten Holy written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, illustrated by Brooke Allen. It’s a graphic novel about five girls staying at an overnight camp. Each girl has a particular interest, like one is strong, one is good at archery, and others have different specialties. The girls discover that there are weird animals in the woods, like three-eyed foxes, yetis, a bear woman, and other critters. When they go to investigate the mysterious woods, the girls meet some boy campers. The boys’ camp is very orderly, but the boy campers somehow get rabies and act all weird. The girls are brave, but their instructor is not very brave. I like the characters and that the kids save the day. My mom likes that it’s a series by women about tough smart girls. Volume 2 of the Lumberjanes series just came out too! Madelyn C. Harris

Submissions: The decision of The Bennington Bookshop in selecting which reviews to publish in the newsletter is final. Other entries may be published on The Bennington Bookshop website. The Bennington Bookshop reserves the right to edit entries as necessary. By submitting a review, reviewers agree to these terms. Please submit reviews to
The World Comes to The Bennington Bookshop
We've had visitors from all over the world in The Bennington Bookshop this month. Canadians of course: They live just a skip away, after all. We've had couples from Belgium, and France, and the Netherlands. An Italian family. A reporter from Norway who interviewed us about the state of the presidential race. A family from Germany - Karlsruhe, where I used to live and work. Students from China. A retired couple from New Zealand on a world tour. Australians, of course. They're everywhere it seems. An Australian woman who described her home as just behind Queensland's Gold Coast. Where? I asked. Mt Tamborine, she said, doubting I knew where that was. I smiled. "That's where I learned to hang glide," I said, with a twinge of, almost, homesickness. Another Australian visitor came from Cooroy, 20 minutes from where Linda and I lived in Australia. He knew our town. We shared a few names and it seemed we had some mutual acquaintances. Again that twinge of homesickness. He was in Vermont for the second time, and raved about the beauty of the place. He wanted to know how we managed to end up here. "It's a long story," I said. He pointed out the window to the ridge clothed in fall colors. "I'd love to live here," he said. "You're so lucky!" And you know, thinking about it, drifting through the splendour of the Bennington fall on my way to the bookshop each morning, I have to say, yes, I guess I am.
October Report
October 3rd

Stephen Kiernan graced us with his presence, reading some very moving passages from his latest novel, The Hummingbird. Stephen spoke passionately about his work with hospice providers, saying that once you worked in this field you just got drawn further and further in. The comment was received with nodding heads in the audience, many of whom worked with hospice patients themselves. Stephen plans to return to Bennington next year when his novel will be released in paperback. If you missed him this time, be sure to catch up with this engaging speaker next time.

October 8th
Archer Mayor thrilled the audience with his take on writing, the characters in the Joe Gunther series, and life in general. Several members of the audience said that they came every year for Archer's event.
We look forward to seeing him again next year! He has already completed Book 27 in the Joe Gunther series, but is negotiating with his wife Margot about the best title for the book. I can't wait to se
e what he decides on.

October 13th
Marie White Small held a reading to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Stony Kill. After Marie read the opening pages of her book, the group, with a couple of authors in the audience, discussed the nature of writing: the ups and downs, whether to plan out or not, the best time of day for inspiration. A pleasant time was had by all. Congratulations, Marie.

October 17th
In the morning, we had our Children's Story Hour with Chris Gingo. Chris read from some of her favorites, including The Little Old Lady Who's Not Afraid of Anything, The Little Red Hen and a book new to her, Hoot Owl. Children's Story Hour is held on the third Saturday of each month, from 10am in The Bookshop.

In the afternoon, Megan Mayhew Bergman held her short story writing workshop. The workshop was well attended, with aspiring writers eager to ask questions of the best-selling author. At one point, Megan spoke of the importance of voice in characterization, slipping into her native southern accent to read a passage from one of Eudora Welty's short stories. Megan urged aspiring writers to take courage and to value, not fear, criticism. She related the story of a piece she wrote and gave to a professor for comment. "I don't get this story," was the response she received. A week later, the story was accepted by a magazine for publication. "Not everyone likes the same things," Megan said. Megan plans to hold more workshops in future.
  • New shop hours:
    Monday~Saturday: 9.00am~6.00pm
    Sunday: Noon~4.oopm
  • Ordering online: To order books online, simply visit our website (, enter the name of the book you wish to order in the "Look for Books" window (in the right-hand column on each page), then enter your address details and credit card information as prompted. There is a small charge for postage or, if you're a local, you can opt to pick up the book in the store. Please note: Books appearing in the on-line search are not necessarily in stock at The Bookshop. We may have to order them in, but can ship most books in 1~5 days. Please call us if you want to confirm immediate availability: 802 442 5059
Coming up...
November 2nd, 7.00pm -
God's Kingdom
Howard Frank Mosher
The Bennington Free Library
In his talk "Where Fiction Comes From," Howard Frank Mosher introduces his new book God's Kingdom. There will also be opportunites for questions and for book signing.
Co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.

November 21st, 10.00am -
Children's Story Hour with Chris Gingo.
The Bennington Bookshop
Chris reads from a selection of her favorite story books. Come along and join in the fun!

December 14th, 7.00pm -
An Old Fashioned Christmas - Conversation and holiday cookie contest
The Bennington Free Library
Ellen Stimson, bestselling author of Mud Season, hosts this fun event.
Co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.

Note: For more information on these authors and events, as well as functions coming up later in the year, check out the Events page on our website.
Store Hours
Monday~Saturday: 9.00am~6.00pm
Sunday: Noon~4.00pm
For all the latest Bookshop news, don't forget to like The Bennington Bookshop page on Facebook!
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