The Bennington Bookshop   May 2016

Vermont's oldest independent bookstore
“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.”
- Fennel Hudson

Welcome to the May edition of The Bennington Bookshop Newsletter, and apologies that it is being delivered a little later than usual - we've been in England! This is a picture of West Bay on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset where the TV show Broadchurch is filmed.

In this edition we report on some of the happenings of the past few weeks, including Independent Bookstore Day, and events with Bob Sugarman and Robin Brickman. There are several book reviews from Phil and Linda, as well a review from Olivia Johnson. Congratulations, Olivia. We have a lot of events planned, so be sure to check out the Coming up... section. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop - your local independent bookstore.
Independent Bookstore Day
April 30th

Thanks to everybody who came into The Bookshop to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with us! We had a lot of fun - especially with the literary tattoos. Litographs chopped up Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass into more than 5000 temporary tattoos. Customers at independent bookstores throughout the country posted photos of their tattoos, and Litographs assembled these in order to reconstruct the text of the two books. Recognize this arm, anybody? Our customers feature in Chapters 10 and 11 of Alice in Wonderland. Here's a link:…/…/10

Independent Bookstore Day also saw the launch of the Vermont Independent Bookstore Passport. Twenty of Vermont's independent bookstores joined to create the passport. Visit:
  • 5 or more stores to win a Vermont Bookstores pin
  • 10 or more stores to win a Vermont Bookstores bumper sticker
  • 15 or more stores to win a Vermont Bookstores magnet
  • all stores to win a Vermont Bookstores reusable shopping bag
Congratulations to our raffle winners:
     Old MacDonald Had a Truck - Kerry Krawczyk
     Superman - Bob Sugarman
     Plenty - Michelle Quigley

We still have some of the unique Independent Bookstore Day merchandise available for sale as well as some freebies - don't be shy! And thanks again for all your support!
Antibes 1950
April 21st
We had a good turnout for our event with local author Bob Sugarman, pictured here with another local author, Leah Newman. It's great to see our local authors turning out to support one another.

In his presentation, Bob told how, as a student shortly after World War 2, he was able to save money by living at home with his parents. Once he graduated, he used his savings to travel to Europe and was "blown away" by 1950s Antibes. Bob said his novel, Antibes 1950, celebrates this time. Bob has also written a play with the same name, but noted that the author's voice does not come out in plays the way it does in novels. Bob then read a chapter from the book. The sharp dialogue of the characters, their quick repartee, was a testament to Bob's play-writing skills.

Set in 1950, Antibes 1950 recalls the time in post World War II France w
hen the country was rebuilding and becoming a hub for the arts and attracting expatriate Americans. The novel also visits the 1970s protests against the Vietnam War. The cover is a French railroad poster from the 1950s era.

Bob is the author of Circus for Everyone: Circus Learning Around the World and Performing Shakespeare: A Way to Learn. Bob also wrote Deadman's Float, a mystery introducing the character Henrietta Brown. He is currently working on his second Henrietta Brown mystery.

The event was co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.
3-D Painting with Robin Brickman
May 4th

Local illustrator Robin Brickman demonstrated her unique 3-D painting techniques at the Bennington Free Library on Wednesday, May 4th. Robin took a piece of paper and, with a couple of snips of a pair of scissors, a fold here and a twist there, the application of a bit of color, she created this remarkable leaf which she then added to a painting. The added leaf cast shadows on the existing painting, lending an extraordinary lifelike appearance to the artwork. Everyone then got to try for themselves, with Robin lending a guiding hand here and there as needed. Great fun was had by all - Thanks, Robin!

The event was co-sponsored by the Bennington Free Library and The Bennington Bookshop.

Shelf Talkers

Be Frank With Me
Julia Claiborne Johnson
Reviewed by Linda

This book grabs you from the very first pages with its humor, heart and compassion. Frank is an extremely intelligent 11-year-old boy who loves 1930s clothes and movies. He lives with his mother, Mimi, a recluse and renowned author who is struggling to finish her next novel. Alice is sent by the publishing house to assist Mimi and monitor her progress on the novel. Alice quickly becomes Frank’s full-time nanny and confidante. The story explores universal themes of family, love and loss, and belonging. The characters are charming and will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Reviewed by Linda

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a letter to his son and offers a poignant new framework for understanding our nation’s racial history and current crisis. Coates explores the idea of “race” and suggests that the idea is a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men. This is a powerful and challenging read – a book that should be read more than once and shared with all who seek a new understanding.

All Is Not Forgotten
Wendy Walker
Reviewed by Phil

Small town politics, illicit affairs, reputations at risk - All Is Not Forgotten has it all. The book begins with a brutal rape, although this is not graphically portrayed, simply reported as fact. The victim, Jenny, is treated with a radical new medication that wipes out her memory of the event, but leaves her anxious and despairing. After attempting suicide, Jenny receives therapy from a local counselor and slowly begins to recover her memory of the event. The story is told from the therapist's perspective. He is also treating Jenny's father who becomes obsessed with finding the rapist, and her mother, who is coming to terms with an affair she had as a young girl. The structure of the book is a little unusual but, once you get the hang of it, this is a thrilling read. I could not put it down and read it in one sitting.

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
Dominic Smith
Reviewed by Phil

Wow. What a satisfying read. This novel spans three time periods and three locations. First, 17th-century Amsterdam, when Sara de Vos becomes the first woman to be admitted to the artist's guild. Then, 1950s New York, when an expatriate Australian student Ellie Shipley is corrupted by a shady art dealer and charmed by a wealthy lawyer, Marty de Groot, a descendent of the original owner of what is thought to be de Vos's last painting. Finally, Sydney in 2000, when the guilt of the past comes back to haunt. This is a fabulous book, beautifully written, with rich characters and a level of suspense that captivates.

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 Olivia Johnson. Congratulations, Olivia!

Say What You Will
Cammie McGovern
Reviewed by Olivia Johnson, Grade 6

I recently read the book
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern. I found the story to be cleverly written, moving and heartbreaking. McGovern has created a love story, sweet and romance-filled, yet still realistic. I think Matthew's point of view was written extremely well. His struggle with OCD was portrayed in such a way that I became very emotionally tied to his well being. I was never as invested in Amy's character, however, even though she played a crucial part of the plot. The storytelling was beautiful. The way characters, even minor ones, were developed was realistic and believable. All of Amy’s peers seemed like real people with real struggles. Nicole, Amy’s mother, was enjoyable to read about despite the fact that I could not stand her. Nicole’s struggle with her daughter growing up caused me to sympathize with her and begin to enjoy the character. Say What You Will is incredibly well written and I would recommend it to anyone. Olivia Johnson

Note: You can find all our student reviews

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...
May 19th, 7pm -
An Evening with Brian Adams

The Bennington Bookshop

Regional author and environmentalist Brian Adams reads from his latest book, Kaboom! Brian is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts. He says he is totally freaking out about climate change and other assorted environmental catastrophes, and asks how we can promote environmental activism and make it as fun as possible. Kaboom! is a romantic comedy for young adults. 

May 28th, 10am~5pm -
Downtown Bennington

Downtown Bennington transforms into a festival of arts, crafts, activities, food, and entertainment. In 2016, there will be over 125 crafters and artisans from throughout New England featuring handmade crafts of wood, pottery, glass, metal, fabric, jewelry, and more. As always, School Street will be lined with ethnic treats including Indian, German, Thai, and American. You’ll also find favorites such as fried dough, gourmet seafood, wood fired pizza, BBQ, blooming onions, ice cream, and more!

June 11th, 7pm -
Stories, Songs and Poetry with Juliet Wright and Stan Searl
The Bennington Bookshop

Join us on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 7:00pm when local author Juliet Wright reads selections from her books, sings songs and answers questions about her work. Her special guest, Stanford Searl, will read from his latest collection of poems, Homage to the Lady with the Dirty Feet and other Vermont Poems.

August 1st, 7pm -

An Evening with Judy Schwartz

Local author Judy Schwartz celebrates the release of her new book, Water in Plain Sight, with a reading and book-signing at Pangaea in North Bennington.

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


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.
  • 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.
  • 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
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:
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