The Bennington Bookshop   March 2016

Vermont's oldest independent bookstore
Forward March!
So many key dates in March. March 14th is
π-Day, celebrated by mathematicians the world over. In Japan, it's also White Day, when all those fortunate males that received Valentine's gifts from admirers are expected to return the favor by a factor of ten! Yes, get one chocolate on Valentine's Day, and present the lucky lady with 10 chocolates on White Day! Then there's St Patrick's Day. The Spring Equinox. And, of course, the only date in the year that is an actual command: March 4th! (Thanks for that one, Charlie.)

Welcome to the March edition of The Bennington Bookshop Newsletter. This edition features reports on our events with Chris Kimball and Anne Hunter. There are book reviews from Phil and Linda, and student reviews from Chloe Moore and Emily Harris. Congratulations Chloe and Emily. Phil ponders the wonder of ATMs. There is also news of our upcoming events - Independent Bookstore Day is just around the corner!

As always, thank you so much for your continued support of The Bennington Bookshop.
         One-Year Anniversary!

Thanks to everyone who wished us well on the anniversary of our purchase of The Bennington Bookshop. We received flowers and cards and gifts galore. Even poems. And a special delivery to our home in North Bennington, courtesy of John on his bike. Thanks, too, to everyone who showed up for our anniversary sale. We really do appreciate your support. Here's to another great reading year!

The winners of our Anniversary Draw are:
     Mary Ellen Geer - See Me by Nicholas Sparks
     David Howard - Auggie and Me by RJ Palacio
     Tim Parrot - Plaque
An Evening with Chris Kimball -
Fundraiser for the Oldcastle Theatre
What a fun night! Chris regaled the audience with tales from his time as host of America's Test Kitchen, showing funny clips and sharing anecdotes, such as when he accidentally set the stove alight! The audience responded warmly, with laughter and applause. Chris surprised nearly everyone with his statement that people don't use enough salt to spice up their cooking. Salt has been such a dietary demon of late, receiving all kinds of negative publicity. However, a little bit of salt at the right time enhances the flavor so much. Chris acknowledged that he is leaving America's Test Kitchen, but did not reveal his next project. We had hoped for a scoop, but eagerly await his announcement. After his presentation, Chris signed copies of his books. The Bookshop donated a portion of the proceeds to the theatre. We wish the Oldcastle Theatre every success in 2016.
Krikkit! Krikkit!
We had a great turnout for our event with local children's author Anne Hunter at the Bennington Free Library on March 5th. There were between 30 and 40 parents, children and others in attendance. Anne read from her just-released book, Cricket Song. The book is beautifully illustrated and tells the story of two children falling asleep on opposite sides of the world, linked by the passage of the sun, and the sounds of the creatures they hear as they drift off at the end of the day.

The library staff created a range of activities linked to the theme of the book. At one activity station children learned to make origami jumping frogs. At another, they crafted animals featured in the book from clay. At a third, they painted images from the book. There was a table of snacks where the parents seemed to congregate, happily watching their busy children! And to end the session, each child received a cricket clicker and the room quickly filled with the sound of happy crickets. Krikkit! Krikkit!

Note: We still have some copies of Cricket Song available for sale.

I have read most of Anne Tyler's novels, and enjoyed them. The stories bubble along from page to page, slowly unfurling, gently carrying you with them until... Suddenly you're somewhere else. Her books are so carefully crafted, the language so lyrical and beguiling, that you are drawn in somehow, transported without being aware and, before you know it, you have arrived somewhere new and different. A Patchwork Planet is a classic example. In the eyes of his father and mother, his ex-wife and his brother, Barnaby is a complete and utter failure. But somehow he creates a life, doing odd jobs and chores for the people of the neighborhood. He meets Sophia, and a relationship slowly develops. There's a scene where Barnaby is replacing a light switch. The way the cover fits over the screws and slides into place reminds him, almost bashfully, of the clasps that fasten Sophia's overalls. And suddenly we realize that Barnaby is going to be OK in his life, that he loves and is loved, that things will work out, and that regardless of what his family thinks, he's a success in his own way with a rich and fulfilling life. There's a moment like this in each of Tyler's books. They catch you unawares, almost blindsiding you with the force of emotion. They are rich and satisfying. For me, then, an ATM isn't A Thousand Miles or an Automated Teller Machine. It's an Anne Tyler Moment.

Note: Anne Tyler's latest novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, will be released in paperback on April 26th.

Shelf Talkers

Keigo Higashino
Reviewed by Phil

Kunihiko Hidaka, a famous novelist, is found murdered in his home just days before he was due to leave for an extended stay in Canada. His wife, Rie, and his best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi, are the initial suspects, but both appear to have firm alibis. Malice is an unusual mystery in that we learn very early on
who committed the murder that lies at the heart of the story. But what really happened, and why? The unraveling of the motive for the murder becomes the mystery that draws us into the psychological battle between Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga and the murderer.

Keigo Higashino is the most widely read novelist in Japan. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Malice was February's selection for the Whodunnit? book club. I enjoyed the book and will look for others by Higashino.

On My Own
Diane Rehm

Reviewed by Linda
I eagerly awaited the publication of Diane Rehm's new memoir, On My Own. I am a longtime listener and fan of her NPR radio program, The Diane Rehm Show. The memoir did not disappoint -- and it surprised me with its honesty and insight into her 54-year marriage to John Rehm. This is a book about marriage, love, loss, grief and Rehm balancing her various roles as wife, mother, daughter, friend and public figure. She describes the often turbulent and difficult relationship with her husband and the healing that came as the end of John's life drew near. He had Parkinson's and she writes about the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of the disease on each of them and their relationship. Her willingness to show us a glimpse of her vulnerability, imperfection and struggles is brave. As Rehm approaches her 80th birthday and retirement from The Diane Rehm Show, I look forward to her next chapter.
Sneak Preview
The Gene: An Intimate History
Siddharta Mukherjee
To be released in May 2016
Reviewed by Phil

Mukherjee begins his treatise on genes with a reflection on the hereditary nature of mental illness, documenting the breakdown of two of his uncles and a cousin. From this platform, he launches into a great sweep of history and the study of inheritance, from the early Greek philosophers, through to Mendel, Darwin and the scientists of the twentieth century who finally revealed the structure of DNA. Along the way, Mukherjee describes the origin of the word gene, and its role at the heart of genetics, eugenics and the human genome. This is a fabulous read; fascinating and insightful. The science is described in approachable language, and the historical perspectives give us pause to reflect on where we now stand as we grapple with the philosophical challenges of what it means to be human.
Student reviews
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 we publish two reviews: One from Chloe Moore and one from Sarah Harris. Both Chloe and Sarah are in Grade 2. Congratulations, Chloe and Sarah!

The Secret Garden
rances Hodgson Burnett
Reviewed by Chloe Moore, Grade 2

The Secret Garden is a great book. An Indian girl that I would say is a little English named Mary Lennox loses her parents and her Ayah - an Ayah is like a Nanny. A very sour girl she is and so careless. She moves in with her uncle Mr.Craven. People say that he is a hunchback. But is he? When she meets Martha her maid, Martha tells Mary about “a secret garden.” Somehow she gets in and meets Martha’s brother Dickon. Dickon is pretty much the most kind and gentle boy you will ever meet - with his animals and bright smile he could change anybody, including Mary Lennox herself. And then she meets Mr.Craven himself. I like The Secret Garden because it is an adventure. Chloe Moore

Raina Telgemeier
Reviewed by Emily Harris, Grade 2

Drama, by Raina Telgemeier, is about a girl, Callie, who is on the stage crew of a school play about a boy and a girl who want to marry each other. When Callie is hanging up posters about the play, she meets two boys, Jesse and Justin. Callie is friends with them but she also has a crush on Jesse. When Callie and her other friend go to look for costumes backstage, they see some students hiding and secretly kissing. It turns out it’s the two leads in the play, and they’re not just practicing their parts. Callie’s job is to decorate the stage, and it’s very frustrating, especially when the two lead actors break up and refuse to kiss in the play. In the end, Callie does a good job, and Jesse saves the play. I recommend this book for ages 6 and up. It is my favorite book. I love Callie because she’s so funny. Emily 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
  • 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...
March 14th, 7pm -
One Prospect Reading Series
Pangaea Restaurant, North Bennington
This month's event features:
     Uzodinma Okehi (Brooklyn, NY)
     Jessica Fisher (Western Mass./Williams College)
     Camille Guthrie (Upstate NY/Bennington College)
The event is free. Light fare, desserts, and a full bar are available, and the readers' books will be on hand for purchase.

March 19th, 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!

April 30th -
Independent Bookstore Day
The Bennington Bookshop
Raffles. Unique merchandise. Come downtown and support your local independent bookstore - The Bennington Bookshop!

May 4th, 3.30pm -
Author Event with Robin Brickman
The Bennington Free Library
Join us for an after-school workshop and book signing with local illustrator Robin Brickman.

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:
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