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Booksellers' Blotter

The Sweet Side of a Bookstore Event

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!

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!

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!

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!

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


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


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)"

We are thankful...

We live in a beautiful region, surrounded by talented writers and artists who share their love of books by visiting often. 

We are grateful to you for supporting local businesses like ours. You dig out the tartan the day after Thanksgiving to mark Plaid Friday, a local alternative to Black Friday. You celebrate Small Business Saturday by coming by with family and friends. You stop by on Slow-Reading Sunday, the first of our special holiday hour openings. And you raise a glass with us on Cider Monday to show your understanding of and commitment to sustainable communities.

We are humbled by the generous support for the Book Angels who deliver books to local children through several non-profit support agencies.

Most of all we have fun! We truly enjoy finding the perfect book for you to enjoy or to give as a gift to the pickiest or most discerning on your list. And we love meeting your extended families when they visit for the holidays.

We are very thankful!

~ Liza, Penny, Kathryn, Beth, Susan, Carin, Sara, Jennifer & Brenna

Two States, One Community

busy storeI have been pondering why Dan Mackie’s column in the Valley News on October 20th, “A Bookstore is Essential to The Valley” - and much else that has been recently published - neglected to acknowledge that the Norwich Bookstore has been quietly yet enthusiastically serving the region for 24 years. 

In spite of the sad decision by B&N to not renew the Dartmouth Bookstore’s lease, bookselling is alive and well in the Upper Valley! Hanover and Norwich are towns in different states but we share a school district and folks from the entire Upper Valley take advantage of the many retail and cultural offerings on both sides of the river. 

Perhaps we have not tooted our horn loudly enough?

If you get our newsletter, you know about the thoughtfully chosen books and other treasures we offer in the store and about the hundreds of events we host or sponsor every year. If you wish to receive it, you can sign up from this website.

The village of Norwich has rich and varied retail offerings: Dan and Whits and the shops in the Norwich Square: gifts, wine, yarn, a cafe - and parking is free. Please stop by and bring a friend from across the river! ~ Liza

The Norwich Bookstore is here for you & your book needs!

We are greatly saddened to learn that Barnes & Noble is closing the Dartmouth Bookstore! It has long been a Hanover landmark and we never want to hear news of any bookstore closing.

STAFF SPRING 18Rest assured, the Norwich Bookstore is going strong. While the business is on the market because Penny and I are approaching the time to pass the baton to younger booksellers, we are going nowhere in the immediate future.

We strongly believe that a physical location to discover books, meet authors, and gather with other readers is critical to our culture. Our current events calendar is full and we are stocking up for the busy season ahead.

Please help us spread the word that we have two floors of books and other treasures for everyone in the family - from both sides of the river!  We are less than two miles from the Dartmouth Green and parking is free... ~ Liza

PS The photo, taken at our latest staff supper this spring, represents more than 120 years of bookselling experience! ~ Liza


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The Norwich Bookstore is locally owned, community focused, and proudly independent!