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Missed calls??

Submitted by lizabernard on Fri, 05/17/2019 - 7:26am

penny on phones
Lately, the bookstore has been receiving many calls with no one at the other end of the line. Have you tried to reach us and not gotten through? 

At first we chalked it up to the notoriously bad local cell service. We figured that someone dialed and then lost signal - we’ve all had that happen…

Then we thought it might be robocalls which have increased exponentially. If you don’t pick up by the third ring they disconnect. If we do answer, a voice commands, “Don't hang up, this is an important call,” yada yada yada…

But it might be our phone system. We do not have caller ID so we can’t see who is calling. (I do have caller ID at home and got a call from “ILLEGAL SCAM” last week - at least they were honest!) 

Please let us know if you've had trouble reaching the bookstore by phone. We don't want you to think we're ignoring you! - Liza

PS While I am writing about phones, I have a request: If you give us your cell phone to call about a special order and you see a notification from the store on your caller ID, please check your message. Some folks just hit "call back." There are nine of us on staff and chances of reaching the specific bookseller who called you are slim. 

Books & Bags...

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 04/20/2019 - 6:52am

bunny in bag
We applaud the efforts of Marion Cross students to rid the waste stream of plastic and paper bags! The new town ordinance goes into effect September 1st.

Few people ask for bags at the bookstore now, so it will not be a big change for us but the regulations will require some adjustments.

Beginning this week, a “Take a Bag, Leave a Bag” basket will be available with reusable tote bags. If you forget to bring a tote or perhaps get caught in a surprise rain shower you can take one from the bucket. 

We will also set up a “10¢ Conscience Jar” for those who do request a bag. Starting in September, we will be required to charge a dime for a paper bag, so this is a way to get us all prepared. The bookstore will donate the funds collected in the Conscience Jar to a local literacy program.

Other communities around the globe have cut back on or eliminated single-use packaging and we are happy to join them. - Liza

Delays and Patience

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 04/13/2019 - 8:14am

keep calm & expect delays
We are usually really good at predicting when a book will be back in stock or a special order will arrive, but the best laid plans….

Last week, I was the disappointed customer! I had ordered a Lonely Planet Guide to Thailand for my daughter’s 25th birthday present. (Yes, the “bookstore baby” is 25 and yes, she is planning a trip to Thailand!) Rachel was visiting for the weekend and the book was supposed to arrive on Friday. I would wrap it up and she could bring it home with her on Sunday.

But, alas, two cartons from one of the warehouses were not delivered. So I - and a few dozen others - had to wait for our books. 

We have become so used to instant gratification. Where did my long-range planning go? When did taking a day - a whole 24 hours - to respond to a message become something to apologize for? Note to self: slow down and be patient!

The good news is that Rachel’s trip isn’t until the fall so there’s plenty of time to mail her book. I have decided to view this as an opportunity to include a chocolate treat in the package when I send it... - Liza

The Sweet Side of a Bookstore Event

Submitted by lizabernard on Fri, 04/05/2019 - 7:20am

cookiesA good mix of authors and their books are important ingredients for events at the Norwich Bookstore. So are the homemade cookies!

We are fortunate to have several booksellers who are also great bakers who decided a while back that store-bought did not make the grade. So they take turns making cookies to serve at our readings.

Last week, after thoroughly enjoying Emily Bernard's presentation on her new book, Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine, everyone was raving about the batch Carin baked and many asked for the recipe so here it is - with her notes:

Dorie Greenspan's 3-Ingredient Almond Crackle Cookies
1 large egg
6T sugar
1.5 C sliced almonds
(sometimes I add a little vanilla and a pinch of salt, making them technically 5-ingredient cookies)
Whisk sugar and egg together thoroughly. Add almonds. Mix. Drop by soup spoonful on parchment covered cookie sheet. (Dough tends to separate as it waits...just mix it back up.) Tap down with fork to flatten somewhat.
Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn sheet halfway through. Cool on racks.  

Come for the writers and the words, enjoy the treats while you're here! - Liza

Welcome Spring!

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 03/30/2019 - 10:00am

events calendarSpring means events! We don’t schedule many for January and February. We've learned the hard way about having to cancel for snow, ice, and flu... So we spent the first part of the year planning and plotting what is turning out to be an amazing lineup of authors here in the store and around the Upper Valley. 

We get calls and emails from publicists and authors, we reach out to others, and aim for a balance of fiction and non-fiction; serious and humorous; and everything in between! We have a full schedule for April, May and June. In July we partner with the Meetinghouse Readings in Canaan and in August we bring books to the Strafford Town House Forums. Perennial favorites Archer Mayor and Tomie dePaola are already booked for the fall!  

Sign up above to get our news in your email box! Usually we send a newsletter once or twice a month but the posts were getting too big, so we're experimenting with more frequent concise mailings. Please tell us what you think. 

Hope you can join us for these author appearances. ~ Liza

Discovering authors and books!

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 03/09/2019 - 7:30pm

The days are getting noticeably longer and the coming of spring marks the beginning of a busy event season! Having learned the hard way that scheduling author visits during the winter is risky, we spent these quiet indoor months planning and learning about forthcoming books.  

stack of arcsAs a bookseller, I discover new writers and titles by reviewing catalogs, reading advance copies, and meeting with book publisher representatives. I am excited by many new books in the works! There is an amazing book by Robert MacFarlane about the world below our feet coming in June. Poet Ocean Vuong's luscious debut novel will also be available then. Louise Penny’s next Gamache mystery will be here at the end of August. I could go on… We have created a new feature on our website to spotlight a few titles for preorder - although any book can be requested so you are sure to get an early copy.

Since not everyone has access to the publishers' plans months in advance, I am curious about how you find your next great read. To that end, I invite you to browse our staff picks - on the wall when you enter the store or on our website. There are a number of local blogs including the wonderful Book Jam written by Norwich readers Lisa Christie and Lisa Cadow. We recently learned about the thoughtful reviews on Bookmarks posted by Michael Epstein, a retired physician who lives in Brownsville, VT. Our local libraries are great sources of material to mine for reading pleasure! The IndieNext list (also displayed in the store) gathers new book recommendations from booksellers across the country. Of course you may get your reading “assignments” from book clubs or Osher classes.

How and where do YOU discover books? ~ Liza

(Yes, that really is my current stack of advance reader copies!)

Welcome Allie Levy & Still North Books!

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 02/09/2019 - 5:46pm

allie levyThe Valley News broke the story so we can now share our excitement about Allie Levy’s plans to open Still North Books in part of the former Dartmouth Bookstore space!

Penny and I met Allie, a Dartmouth graduate, last fall and were immediately impressed with her energy and vision. Still North will be a hybrid bookstore/bar/cafe and complement Left Bank Books in Hanover and what we have here in Norwich. 

Independent bookselling can be a collaborative business and we are pleased that there will once again be a store in downtown Hanover. The Norwich Bookstore will continue to serve the Upper Valley with events in the store and around the region. 

Anytime a bookstore opens it's cause for celebration! - Liza

(Valley News photo)

Working together!

Submitted by lizabernard on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 7:17am

The current events calendar reflectscollaborate the creative ways we work with authors and organizations. We are participating in the blood - and book - drive at DHMC and celebrating MLK with a nationally-known speaker in Spaulding. In the planning are events in WRJ, at Dartmouth, at Howe, and other locations throughout the region.

We enjoy working behind the scenes to promote authors and books! There are so many logistics to stage a successful event: Where should we host the author of a beautiful gem of a book on Forest Bathing? What time is best for the launch of a graphic novel? Which books might kids be most interested in when an author/illustrator visits a school? What should your reading group tackle next? (Answers: at Dartmouth so Hannah Fries can show slides; James Sturm will speak at 4:30 pm following a "sweet for Valentine's Day" reception; it depends on the age group, we will offer options; your book club can set up a time for a private meeting at the store!)

We love these collaborations and are happy to explore other ideas you might have. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered... ~ Liza


Submitted by lizabernard on Fri, 01/04/2019 - 8:08am

setting up display

I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays! Making sure we have the right books and toys for everyone; meeting customers' extended family; wrapping the Book Angel donations... 

And it is a relief to be back to our regular schedule and routines. One morning, I came in early to change out displays and enjoy the quiet (front wall pictured in process). 

We now have time to read - and listen to - newly released and forthcoming titles. Stop by and see the great books arriving daily!

May 2019 be a peaceful and bookish year. - Liza

(And yes, we have Becoming by Michelle Obama and Koren. In the Wild by Ed Koren back in stock!)

Notes from a Book Angel

Submitted by lizabernard on Sat, 12/08/2018 - 7:19am


book angels"Hanging about the bookstore today, I overheard some questions and thought I would take this opportunity to explain how we came to be here and what happens after we depart with hundreds of books in mid-December.

"Early each year, staff and dedicated volunteers evaluate the success of the Book Angels' prior season's collection.Thankfully for us, we have been invited back for more than twenty years.

"We spend the year getting into shape to carry the holiday book wishes of children from around the region. This year we are working with Vermont Child and Family Services, The Haven, The Family Place, and Children’s Literature Foundation (CLiF). 

"The bookstore supplies the wreath, our home away from home. I must say, the one this year from Cube Mountain is particularly grand!

"And we so appreciate the volunteers who use colorful markers to make the wishes visible. That way you know that one of us is seeking a board book about dinosaurs for a very special toddler, and another would like to leave with a fantasy novel for our particular teen. 

"When you pick one of us off the wreath, we hold our breath as you select a book for our child. Of course, you can leave it to the staff to make the choices. It is always fun listening to the booksellers making suggestions! Decisions made, you purchase the book and we go along for the ride - though being taped to the book can be a tad awkward…  

"Soon we are saying farewell to our Angel friends who are off to different destinations. Then we wait, hoping that the books we bear will be loved. We imagine children clutching the gift books with huge grins on their faces. Another season finished. 

"From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for helping us spread the love of reading. ~ A Book Angel (with the purple ribbon)"


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