The Bennington Bookshop   Febrary 2016

 Vermont's oldest independent bookstore
Afternoon in February

The day is ending
The night is descending;

The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.
Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The weather is a mysterious thing: Before we moved to Bennington, our friends in North Carolina harangued us repeatedly with dire warnings about the Vermont weather. You'll be house-bound for days, they said, or stuck at the side of the road with your car in a ditch. But it seems their warnings were misplaced. This winter, we could almost ask: Snow? What's that? Meanwhile, our friends in NC have been buried twice already this season!

Welcome to the February edition of The Bennington Bookshop Newsletter. This edition features a review of our event with Ali Benjamin. We also highlight some of the author events we have in the next few weeks. We have a couple of book reviews, as well as a student review from Sabrina LaCross. We also have news about the Whodunnit? Book Club.

As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop.
It's our Anniversary!
March 2nd, 2016 is the first anniversary of our purchase of The Benningtion Bookshop from Rick and Ellen Havlak. To thank the people in our new community who have provided such wonderful support to us in our first year, we are celebrating our anniversary with a 20% store-wide sale on the weekend of February 27th and 28th.
Thank you!
The Thing About Jellyfish - Author Event with Ali Benjamin
February 3rd

What a fun event this was: Local author Ali Benjamin at the Bennington Free Library to talk about her book, The Thing About Jellyfish! (See Linda's November review below.) There were about 30 people in the audience, mostly excited students clutching copies of the book, eager to have Ali sign it for them. But first there were activities -making jellyfish bookmarks and collages - and snacks!

Ali told us that she had never really thought much about sea creatures until she went on a trip to the New England Aquarium. The aquarium was crowded and noisy so, to escape the bustle, Ali retreated to the jellyfish room. There, she got curious. Jellyfish are one of the oldest living species, she told us. Older even than dinosaurs! Overtime, Ali became obsessed with these beautiful creatures, and looked for a book to learn more about them, but couldn't find one. So she wrote one!

Ali encouraged us to follow our curiosity. She told the group that we need to trust what we are curious about and follow our instincts.

The Bennington Bookshop was thrilled to be able to co-sponsor this event with th
e Bennington Free Library.

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.

Note: We have some signed copies of The Thing About Jellyfish available for sale.
An Evening with Chris Kimball
February 19th, 7.30pm
Oldcastle Theatre

Chris Kimball is coming to town on the night of February 19th for a fundraising event for the Oldcastle Theatre Company. Chris is well known for his roles in America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country. The Bookshop will be selling copies of Chris's books The Cook's Bible and The Dessert Bible at the event. We will donate a portion of sales to the Oldcastle Theatre. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 802-447-0564 and online through Brown Paper Tickets.
An Evening with Chris Bohjalian
March 3rd, 7pm
Oldcastle Theatre

Join us for a fundraising event for the Bennington Free Library with Chris Bohjalian. Chris's recently released novel The Guest Room is a  New York Times best seller. The Guest Room is a story of human trafficking, a marriage in crisis, and two remarkable women. Tickets for the event are $25 and are available at the Bennington Free Library. All proceeds benefit the Bennington Free Library. The Bookshop will have copies of Bohjalian's book available for sale at the event and will donate a portion of sales to the Library.

Cricket Song - Author Event with Anne Hunter
March 5th, 11am
Bennington Free Library

Local children's author Anne Hunter is celebrating the release of her book Cricket Song with a reading at the Bennington Free Library on Saturday, March 5th, starting at 11am. There will be activities and snacks, as well as an opportunity for questions and for book signing.

The Right Book at the Right Time
In early December, a young man came into The Bookshop shortly before closing. He roamed the aisles for a while, then pulled up in front of the philosophy section. He took a book from the shelf, scanned the blurb, then replaced the book. He did this a few more times, then just stood there as if deep in thought.

"Can I help you find something?" I asked.
"Yeah. I'm looking for a book that talks about life, what it's all about, and who we are and where we fit in. You know?"

I knew. I remembered looking for just such a book when I was his age. But was he ready for my old favorite? I took a chance, pulled it off the shelf and handed it to him.

"Try this."

He took the book and turned it over, quickly reading the back cover. He looked up at me, questioning, as if to say "Are you sure?" I nodded. He shrugged, fished out his wallet, paid for the book and left.

Two days later he was back. His excitement was obvious: He couldn't stop talking, waving his arms around enthusiastically, just managing to squeeze in a huge grin between words.

"That was the best book ever!" he exclaimed. "It's awesome! Thank you! Thank you! I have already shared it with some friends. We're going to start a reading group to study the book. Wow. Just what I needed."

I nodded, remembering the impact the book had on me all those years ago. Oh, the power of books! And to find just the right book at the right time.

The book? Illusions by Richard Bach.

Book Club News
The Whodunnit? Book Club held its inaugural meeting in January. There were so many suggestions for books to read that we decided to take on two novels this month: A Beautiful Blue Murder by Charles Finch, and Pop Goes the Weasel, by M.J. Arlidge. Whodunnit? meets the second Wednesday of each month. If you'd like to join us, please contact Lucy Carson.

If you want to find out what some of the book clubs in the area are reading, check out our Book Clubs page. 

Note: The Bennington Bookshop offers a 20% discount to Book Clubs on their selected readings. We are happy to ship books to our distant friends.

Shelf Talker

My Name Is Lucy Barton
Elizabeth Strout
Reviewed by Linda

This book is amazing. I loved Olive Kitteridge and did not think Elizabeth Strout could write another novel that was so brilliant. I was wrong – this book is just as good or better. Her writing is delicate, insightful, heartbreaking, warm, shocking and compassionate. It is so simple in form yet so engaging and complex. I imagine Strout sitting at her desk, looking out at the landscape around her . . . finding the perfect words over and over again. She is a truly gifted artist. Clear your afternoon, make a cup of tea, grab a blanket and curl up in your favorite reading spot – this book is meant to be savored.

Sneak Preview
Redemption Road
John Hart
To be released in May 2016
Reviewed by Phil

This is John Hart's first novel in five years. Redemption Road has everything: crime and corruption, murder, obsession and revenge. After 13 years in prison, a police officer walks free, only to be confronted at gunpoint by the son of the woman he was convicted of killing. Across town, a women's body is discovered draped on the altar of an abandoned church. And a troubled detective risks all to save the ones she loves. Redemption Road is a great read, with mystery, suspense and thrills galore. Hart's previous novels have all been best sellers, and this latest seems destined to join that group. Welcome back, John!
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 Sabrina LaCross. Congratulations, Sabrina!

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
Reviewed by Sabrina LaCross, Grade 10

I shed a few tears while reading The Hunger Games trilogy, but would recommend it to anyone. I picked this trilogy because it teaches young readers to be careful of what they say or do. The trilogy also shows that you can’t save everyone that you love. Katniss, the heroine, always did her best to protect the people that she loved, but she couldn’t protect them all. I think my favorite book out of the trilogy was the first book. The book I cried the most over was Mocking Jay, but I would still recommend it to anyone. I always like to read books before watching the movies. I have watched all the movies from The Hunger Games to Mocking Jay Part 1. Personally, the books are way better than the movies by a long run. Sabrina LaCross

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
  • Book Pick's: WAMC's Joe Donahue interviewed Phil for his radio segment Book Picks in January. You can listen to the show here. The books Phil discussed also appear on the home page of our website: Phil will join Joe's show again in May and September. Thanks to all those people who commented on the show!
  • Independent Bookstore Day: The second annual Independent Bookstore Day will be held on Saturday, April 30th. We will have unique merchandise created specifically for Independent Bookstore Day, as well as lots of raffles and giveaways. Come along and celebrate your local independent bookstore: The Bennington Bookshop!
  • 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.
  • 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...
February 19th, 7.30pm -
An Evening with Chris Kimball
The Oldcastle Theatre
Fundraiser for Oldcastle Theatre.

February 20th, 10am -
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!

February 27th and 28th -
Bookshop Anniversary Sale

March 3rd, 7pm -
An Evening with Chris Bohjalian
The Oldcastle Theatre
Fundraiser for the Bennington Free Library.

March 5th, 11am -
Author Event with Anne Hunter
The Bennington Free Library
Anne reads from her book Cricket Song.

April 30th -
Independent Bookstore Day
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!
To order online, check out our website:
Copyright © 2016 The Bennington Bookshop, All rights reserved.

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