The Bennington Bookshop   September 2015

 Vermont's oldest independent bookstore

It's September already!

Welcome to our September Newsletter! It's September already: We have been at the bookshop for six months! In our latest newsletter, we are pleased to include an interview with local author Andrea Chesman. Andrea will be talking about her latest cookbook, The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field to Table Cooking Skills, at the Bennington Free Library on September 24th. We have a very busy month in October, including a writing workshop with best-selling author Megan Mayhew Bergman, a book release party for Bennington author, Marie White Small, and an evening with one of our perennial favorites, Archer Mayor. Check out the "Coming up..." section for details. This newsletter also features a sneak preview of John Sandford and Ctein's new novel, Saturn Run, and a mini-review of The Yellow Car, by Toni Powell. We also report on our August event with Ed Rubin. And, we're happy to report that, as this newsletter goes out, we will be reunited as a family, with Linda, Phil, Blue, Ruby and Casey all settled in our new home in North Bennington. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop. It is greatly appreciated.
In her own words: Local author Andrea Chesman
Andrea Chesman’s latest cookbook is The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field to Table Cooking Skills. Her other cookbooks include The Pickled Pantry, Recipes from the Root Cellar, Serving Up the Harvest, and Mom’s Best Crowd Pleasers. She has also written a number of books on grilling, including the James Beard Award nominee The Vegetarian Grill. Andrea has contributed to many publications including the New York Times, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times, Fine Cooking, and many regional and local newspapers. She teaches and leads cooking demonstrations and classes at fairs, festivals, book events, and garden shows across the United States. She lives in Ripton, Vermont.

On her first garden: I was still in college when I had my first garden. It was just a few square feet within a larger community garden. I remember a hot June morning, a 3-mile walk, a quart of orange juice in my backpack and my first harvest ever: snow peas. What a feast! Orange juice and snow peas. I was hooked on growing my own food from that point on.

On seasonal highlights in the garden: Each year, after a long Vermont winter, as the snow begins to melt away from the garden, I see shoots of the garlic I planted the previous fall poking out of the bare ground in neat, orderly rows. And I think, ah ha! Look at that! My garden is already growing, and I am, for the brief window in time, ahead of all the chores that lie in front of me. 

I never buy asparagus from the supermarket. I am content to wait for my own asparagus bed to start producing. And produce it does! For the full month of June, we enjoy asparagus almost every night. Roasted, steamed, dipped in hollandaise or aioli, chopped up and slipped into a quiche or a chicken pot pie. I could, of course, pickle or freeze the excess, but I don’t. We just enjoy feasting on asparagus until we’ve had enough—and then we let the asparagus mature and prepare for production for another year.

On starting down the self-sufficient road: Self-sufficiency is a goal that many aspire to, but it isn’t an all or nothing deal. A few tomato plants and some herbs on a deck or patio is a start. To start, it’s a good idea to look at the assets and time that you already have and see what you can accomplish within that framework. Self-sufficiency can include buying raw materials (wood, cloth) or ingredients (fruit, vegetables, meat), and transforming them into the products you want to rely on. Making your own bread or granola does not mean you have to grow your own wheat or oats.

On trying new preservation techniques: It’s very rare that a home cook ever develops something new. We are all too busy raising our food (and our families!) to do much experimenting in the kitchen. Safety is always an issue for food preservation, so experimenting is risky – and maybe we don’t have resilience in our guts that people used to. On the other hand, there are tons of old ways that people are exploring. Fermenting foods is a way to preserve foods, and while there may not be many Koreans in Vermont, there certainly are plenty of people like myself making kimchi and finding new ways to enjoy it. Curtido is another pickle I make; it is the fermented cabbage of Central America, flavored with onion and oregano. What’s new these days is what’s old.

On some old favorites: I have a sourdough culture that has a pedigree dating back to the Yukon Gold Rush of 1896. I got it from a friend who got it from a member of his study group when he was in law school at Ann Arbor in the 1960s. This fellow got it from the guy across the hall, who got it from his father, a fish and wildlife ranger in Alaska, who got it from his secretary, who got it from her grandfather, who was a gold miner. I make my no-knead bread with this starter a few times a week.

My favorite homegrown food is probably raspberries—the season is short, the competition with the birds is fierce, and the flavor is perfect. We stand by the bushes and eat them as fast as we pick them.

On the best use of sauerkraut: Nothing improves a hot dog, a grilled cheese sandwich, or sausage like sauerkraut. That said, what I really like to do is incorporate kimchi into stir-fries, fish stews, and soups. 

Note: Andrea will be talking about her new cookbook and demonstrating the fine art of making the perfect sauerkraut at the Bennington Free Library on September 24th, starting at 7.00pm. There will be a question and answer session, and Andrea will sign copies of her book. Refreshments will be provided, and there will be an opportunity to try Andrea's kimchiThe event is co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.
Writing Workshop with Megan Mayhew Bergman
We're excited to announce that local best-selling author Megan Mayhew Bergman will be conducting a writing workshop: Writing your first short story - How to find inspiration and material, write, and edit your first short story. The event will be held at the Bennington Free Library, from 2.00~3.30pm on Saturday, October 17th. And for all those dedicated students who like to come prepared for lessons, Megan has given us a list of short story collections from which she herself has drawn inspiration:
  1. Flannery O'Connor's Collected Stories
  2. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
  3. Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
  4. I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro
  5. Amy Hempel's Collected Stories
  6. Runaway by Alice Munro
  7. Best American Short Stories
     (Any year, but 2011 includes one of Megan's stories and a great introduction by Geraldine Brooks.)
  8. Collected Stories - Lorrie Moore
  9. Collected Stories - Lydia Davis
10. Collected Stories - Eudora Welty 
These books are available at The Bennington Bookshop.
The event is co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.
Sneak Preview
Saturn Run 
John Sandford and Ctein
Release date: October 6, 2015

I am a science fiction traditionalist. Growing up, I read all the classics: Dune; 2001; I, Robot; Ringworld. Then something happened to the genre. As each new author appeared on the scene, there seemed to be less fantastical science and more magical fantasy. Still imaginative, but, for me, not quite so appealing. So it was with great pleasure that I stumbled across John Sandford and Ctein's new book, Saturn Run. It's good old science fiction, with a story set in 2066. There's excitement and adventure, political intrigue, and even alien first contact. The space race takes on new meaning as ships from China and the US rush to be the first to reach the rings of Saturn where an alien presence has been detected. It's a good read, fast-paced, like all Sandford's books, and satisfying in its approach to technology still to be invented. Phil
Shelf Talker
The Yellow Car
Toni Powell
Illustrated by Toni and Phil Powell

"Late one night, in a quiet suburban street, a yellow car drove into my life and changed it. This is the story of what happened..."
Toni and Phil live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Their book is fun and insightful - a real treat for those of us who get stuck in needless worry. The illustrations are gorgeous and are guaranteed to leave you smiling. Toni is an educator and motivational speaker on the subject of gratitude. Linda
August Reports
On August 24th, Hollywood film production designer, Ed Rubin, came to the Bennington Free Library to talk about his book, Vermont: An outsider's inside view. Ed explained how the book grew from just a few photographs of some friends and exploded into a four-year project involving 20,000 photographs. From his stories about the people in his photographs, and how they came to be taken, the audience could tell how Ed deeply appreciates Vermont, its people and its culture. "This is a special place," he told the group more than once. "You are really lucky to live here." Ed told the story of being encouraged by friends to take a picture of the governor, Peter Shumlin. Passing the state house, on the spur of the moment Ed dropped in. "I asked if I could see the governor," Ed said. "They directed me to the fifth floor, and within 15 minutes I was having a one-on-one conversation with him. We arranged for a photoshoot the next day." Ed said he was amazed by the ready access. "I wouldn't have got within 40 feet of the governor in my home state of California," he said. "Even with an appointment!"

August also saw The Bennington Bookshop out and about, joining the festivities at the first annual Sun and Fun Festival, hosted by the Second Congregational Church. The event was well attended, with stalls, musicians, and fun and games for the young ones. Our compliments to the chefs: We had some of the best festival food ever! We are looking forward to participating in next year's event.
  • Ordering online: A number of customers have asked us whether they can order books online. The short answer is yes! 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
  • Book Sale: We have a selection of books on sale - 40% off. Recent releases in hardcover - fiction, biography, art, cookbooks, Young Adult, and more. Come in and check out the sale!
Coming up...
September 24th, 7.00pm - 
The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field to Table Cooking Skills
Andrea Chesman
Bennington Free Library
Local Vermont author Andrea Chesman talks about her book and demonstrates the fine art of making the perfect sauerkraut. 
There will be opportunities to ask questions and for book-signing. Refreshments provided. 
Co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.

October 8th, 7.00pm -
The Company She Kept
Archer Mayor
Bennington Free Library

Archer Mayor reads from his latest novel in the Joe Gunther series, The Company She Kept. There will be opportunities to ask questions and for book-signing. Refreshments provided. 
Co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.

October 13th, 7.00pm -
Stony Kill
Marie White Small
The Bennington Bookshop
The Bennington Bookshop is pleased to hold a book release party for Bennington author Marie White Small's debut novel, Stony Kill. Marie has published short fiction in the anthology, Southshire Pepper-Pot. 
There will be opportunities to ask questions and for book-signing. Refreshments provided. 

October 17th, 2.00pm -
A Short Story Writing Workshop with Megan Mayhew Bergman
Bennington Free Library
To celebrate the release in paperback of her bestselling collection of stories Almost Famous Women, local author Megan Mayhew Bergman is holding a reading and a short story writing workshop: Writing your first short story - How to find inspiration and material, write, and edit your first short story. There will also be opportunities to ask questions and for book-signing.
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~Thursday, Saturday: 9.00am~6.00pm
Friday: 9.00am~8.00pm
Sunday: Noon~4.00pm
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