The Bennington Bookshop      August 2016

Vermont's oldest independent bookstore
August rain

August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.
- Sylvia Plath   

Welcome to the August edition of The Bennington Bookshop Newsletter! In this edition we highlight Ruth Franklin's new biography of Shirley Jackson, due out in September. We will be hosting a special event with Ruth to celebrate the release of the book. We report on our event with local author Judith Schwarz. We also have news of a mysterious elf who delights in rearranging the books in the store. There are a couple of book reviews, as well as a student review from Luisa Novelli. Congratulations, Luisa. We have extended our hours for the summer, and have introduced special activities for Friday nights. Check out the Coming up... section for details. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop - your local independent bookstore.
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Ruth Franklin
2016 is the centennial of the birth of local author Shirley Jackson's birth, and to mark the occasion, W.W. Norton is publishing a new biography of Jackson by literary critic Ruth Franklin. The biography will be released on September 27th.

Ruth has visited Bennington many times while researching her book. On one of her recent trips, she took a walk across a field that reminded her of a scene from The Haunting of Hill House. In one of her blogs, Ruth describes the scene:

As I stood on that hill in the blazing afternoon sunlight, the grass waving slowly around my legs, I too felt a chill... Before me the path led into the woods. I turned and headed back across the field, as quickly as I could manage in the high grass. - Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson Files #11.

Ruth's book is partly based on a range of previously undiscovered letters, including some she found in a wooden filing cabinet in an old barn. Ruth says it's difficult to describe the elation she felt when she discovered the letters, still in their original envelopes. "There were definitely tears," Ruth says in her blog.

Note: The Bookshop will be holding an event with Ruth Franklin at the Carriage Barn at Park-McCullough House in North Bennington, on October 30th, starting at 6.30pm. Ruth will read from her book, answer questions and sign copies. There will be live music, refreshments and a cash bar.
Water in Plain Sight
August 1st

We had a fun night at Pangaea celebrating the release of local author Judith Schwartz's new book Water in Plain Sight. Judith read from the introduction to the book, explaining that managing water resources will be increasingly important in the future. "It's not so much how much rain falls in a particular place, " Judith said. "More important is what happens to the rain once it falls." Judith said that a major problem is that soils  have been so depleted that water just runs off, instead of penetrating and soaking into the ground. 

Judith introduced Alejandro Carillo, a rancher from Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Alejandro talked about carefully managing his cattle to ensure they do not overgraze, but also that they move across the land, disturbing the surface so that, when it rains, the rain can penetrate the soil.

"Look," he said. "We live in one of the most arid regions of the world. Yet, across our ranch, there are oases of green. Wildlife is coming back. The degree of biodiversity is increasing. The land is coming back to life."

Judith and her book have been receiving a lot of attention, with an excerpt published in Scientific American, and an interview published in News Deeply. Judith's book has also been reviewed in Nature.

Note: Signed copies of Water In Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World are available at The Bennington Bookshop.
Bookshop Blues
Hidden in plain sight

It's a mystery to me (now there's a great opening line for a song!) how some of our books end up where they do. We've checked the computer system to see if we have a particular book and where it might be shelved - A History of the Car, for example, shelved in Hobbies. A quick scan of the relevant shelf, followed by a more careful spine-by-spine search, suggests the book is missing. Did we sell it? Has it been "borrowed"? Three days later, it turns up in children's board books, next to Things That Go, a not entirely inappropriate resting place, I suppose. It's as if a mischievous book elf with a wicked sense of humor is playing games with us, hiding books in plain sight. Other elfish placings are just as cryptic. I recently found a book on menopause hidden away in True Crime. Krista Trippett's Becoming Wise, lost for a week, resurfaced in Humor. This Book is Gay, a book for young adults focusing on LGBT issues, turned up in Political Science. And we once found Harry Potter in the Children's Activities section under magic. But I think my favorite of all was discovering The Road to Little Dribbling in amongst the road atlases and maps at the front of the store. Somebody really did want to find their way there!

Shelf Talkers

The Defense
Steve Cavanagh
Reviewed by Phil

Looking for a fast-paced thriller for that lazy time by the lake? Look no further - this is a real page-turner.

Former con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn gave up the law a year ago after a disastrous case, and he vowed never to step foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn't have a choice. The head of the Russian mob in New York City, on trial for murder, has kidnapped Eddie's ten-year-old daughter: Eddie has to take this case whether he likes it or not.

Using his razor-sharp wit and every con, bluff, grift, and trick in the book, Eddie has only forty-eight hours to defend an impossible murder trial. And if he loses this case, he loses everything. Buy this book

Circling the Sun
Paula McLain
Reviewed by Linda

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl Markham is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding. Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain's powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit. For those who enjoyed Out of Africa by Karen Blixen, this is an opportunity to revisit the characters and see them from a different perspective. A great read. Buy this book

You can find more reviews here: Reviews and Recommendations
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 Luisa Novelli. Congratulations, Luisa!

The Ring of Rocamadour
Michael D. Beil
Reviewed by Luisa Novelli, Grade 4

The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil is part of a series about four girls who go to school at Saint Veronica's in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. When they find a hidden staircase and meet a woman who asks them to solve a mystery no one knows what to do… but they know they have to help bring a family back together and solve a mystery to find The Ring of Rocamadour. I love this book because it’s a mystery and realistic fiction. Another reason I love The Ring of Rocamadour is because there is a lot about math and history, the stuff where you think “I’m never going to use this again” - well, you use it to figure out the solution. I think it’s really fun to be able to solve the mystery, or just think about it! Luisa Novelli

Buy this book

Note: You can find all of our student reviews here.

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

Coming up...

Friday Nights through the summer, 6.00pm~7.30pm -
The Bennington Bookshop

Come in and color!
Pages and coloring pencils provided. Just settle in, relax and have fun coloring!
August 26; September 9, 23.

DIY Origami
Follow simple instructions to fold beautiful objects. Need help? Phil will be on hand to help with difficult folds. August 19; September 2, 16.

August 20th, 10am~3pm -

Sun and Fun Festival
115 Hillside St. Second Congregational Church
Sponsored by Solar Pro and 2nd Congregational Church

The second annual Sun and Fun Festival will be held on Saturday, August 20th at the Second Congregational Church. There will be live music by the Hale Mt. Pickers and a range of children's activities, including face painting, giant bubbles and a scavenger hunt, amongst others. There will be bee-keeping and composting demonstrations, and the opportunity to join in painting a giant mural. The Bennington Bookshop will be there with a range of books on outdoor activities and the environment. Admission is free and there will be drawings for prizes throughout the day. For more information:

October 6th, 7pm -
An Evening with Archer Mayor
Bennington Free Library

Join us as Archer reads from his latest novel in the Joe Gunther series. There will be time for questions and book-signing at the end of Archer's talk.

October 30th, 6.30pm -
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Carriage Barn, Park-McCullough House, North Bennington

Ruth Franklin reads from her new biography of Shirley Jackson, to be published by W.W. Norton in September. Sam Clement and friends will provide a musical introduction to the evening. There will be light refreshments and a cash bar.

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.
  • Book Clubs: We offer a 20% discount to book clubs and are happy to ship for a small cost. Check out what the other clubs in the area are reading here.
  • Summer hours: Several of the downtown businesses are staying open late on Friday evenings through the summer. The Bookshop has extended its Friday hours until 8.00pm and now opens on Sundays at 10.00am.
    Monday~Thursday, Saturday: 9.00am~6.00pm

    Friday: 9.00am~8.00pm
    Sunday: 10.00am~4.oopm
  • Coming soon: We are in the process of expanding our local and regional author section. Be sure to check it out next time you're in the shop!
  • Dorothy's List: Vermont Public Radio compiles a list of books and reviews suitable for children. You can find the list here. We are happy to order books from the list for you if we don't have them in stock. There is no extra charge for special orders.
  • Best Sellers: We update the bestseller list each week. You can find the latest list here: Best Sellers
  • Looking for a book to read? Check out the Reviews and Recommendations page on our website.
  • 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
Store Hours
Monday~Thursday, Saturday: 9.00am~6.00pm
Friday: 9.00am~8.00pm
Sunday: 10am~4.00pm
For all the latest Bookshop news, don't forget to like The Bennington Bookshop page on Facebook!
To order online, check out our website:
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