Books As Greenery

If you’re a reader, fond of acquiring books, and have ever moved, you know there’s a day of reckoning when the sheer mass of paper harkens back to its original arboreal form. There’s also the curious phenomena where the sight of the cover, or even the pages themselves, trigger a corresponding site in the brain, bringing back some of the content and memories of reading, circumstances and experience. Books are not just objects, they can become part of our identity. But these are considerations for another time.

The bulk and burden of books may or may not be a vanishing element in our lives, as digital media proliferates, and reading actual volumes wanes as an entertainment or information source. It seems to me fitting that the packed box or carton of books has so much heft. Books ARE heavy in more ways than one. There’s no way around it. Having recently moved sparked an intensive bout of assessment. Are all books keepers indefinitely? Are they really toss-able? Or, heaven forbid, burnable, as an act of lightening and transformation rather than censorship and intimidation? It’s beneficial to recall; All is transitory in this world.

Evie Kiehle on “Here We Are”

“Where Are the Women?” is a new book just published by EVIE KIEHLE, a BUHS senior. She looks at the lack of women in American Politics and has written a guide to the ways we can change this. Evie also talks about growing up in Brattleboro, and the people and activities that influence her.

The Lost Island – A Literary Cocktail Hour

On Friday, November 10 at 5:00 pm, the Brattleboro Literary Festival invites you to join us for an online conversation with New York Times bestselling author Adam Goodheart interviewed by Tom Clynes, discussing Goodheart’s new book, The Last Island. Register at . Free.

In November 2018, a young American missionary kayaked onto a remote beach in the Indian Ocean and was killed by indigenous islanders wielding bows and arrows. News of that fatal encounter on North Sentinel Island—a small patch of land in the Andaman archipelago—fascinated people around the world. Most were unaware such a place existed in our time: an island whose hunter-gatherer inhabitants still live in near-total isolation.

Crime USA – Book by Jay Janson

Book is about the arming of madman Hitler’s Nazi Germany that made a war that killed off 3% of the world’s population at that time (which included the mega horrific Holocaust).  – each chapter presents something astounding Larger scope of the book is corp. war investor control of the world as their criminal media holds our attention on subterfuge.

Exposes the myth that the US played a benevolent role in world affairs

New Book by Richard Davis Now Available on Amazon

The Village is a fictional account of life in a small Vermont town as told by a narrator who is a member of a family that purchased a country store that became the center of their new life after leaving New York City.

The narration paints a picture of Vermont that has all but faded into oblivion. The lives of three local characters and an encounter with tourists shopping at the store give the reader glimpses into the values and ethos of Vermont at a time when most of the inhabitants of the state were born there and stayed close to where they were born, while making a life for themselves and their families.

Author Kat Vellos to Discuss Friendship in Adulthood at Next Stage Arts

Join Next Stage Arts on Tuesday, August 29 at 7:00pm for an interactive fireside with author Kat Vellos all about friendship in adulthood. What are the biggest challenges of adult friendship and how can we overcome them? How do we “make new friends and keep the old”? What is social wellness and how does it factor into our overall health and wellbeing? And how can we create more meaningful connections with coworkers, who are often the primary source of new friends in adulthood? We’ll dig into all this and more. The fireside chat will be followed by a Q&A so come with your questions too. The discussion will take place at Next Stage Arts, 15 Kimball Hill, in Putney.

“Cultivating meaningful relationships can be a challenge, and as we look to the future of creating a region that is welcoming and inviting to all people, expanding our toolbox can only be a positive thing,” says Keith Marks, Executive Director of Next Stage Arts. “Kat Vellos’ work focuses on creating meaningful platonic relationships and fostering a stronger community dynamic. This evening with Vellos is something we could all use to live in a more civil, connected community.”

Green Mountain Stories – Live at the Library

On May 30 at 7:00 pm, the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Brooks Memorial Library and the Words Trail will celebrate live the newly released collection of short stories by Brattleboro author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman with her initially intended title Green Mountain Stories.  

Published originally in 1887 as A Humble Romance and Other Stories, this new edition features an introduction and critical commentary by Freeman scholar Brent Kendrick, who will talk about Mary and the book. Mary was inspired to become a writer in high school…she would go to her father’s dry goods shop in downtown Brattleboro every day after school, which was fortuitously located next door to a bookstore. She graduated from high school in Brattleboro and later moved away after her father died, but she maintained her connection to Vermont.

The Chinese Groove

Celebrate Asian American Heritage Month with us! On Friday, May 12, the Brattleboro Literary Festival’s A Literary Cocktail Hour will present award-winning author Kathryn Ma and her book The Chinese Groove. This event is online and free…you can register at

One of their 12 Books to Read Right Now, the New York Times says of The Chinese Groove: “A comedic take on the trials of immigration, Ma’s latest novel follows a Chinese man who is woefully unprepared for his move to America…” Eighteen-year-old Shelley, born into a much-despised branch of the Zheng family in Yunnan Province and living in the shadow of his widowed father’s grief, dreams of bigger things. Buoyed by an exuberant heart and his cousin Deng’s tall tales about the United States, Shelley heads to San Francisco to claim his destiny, confident that any hurdles will be easily overcome by the awesome powers of the “Chinese groove,” a belief in the unspoken bonds between countrymen that transcend time and borders.

Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe

On Friday, April 14 at 5:00 pm, join us for the fun when A Literary Cocktail Hour presents Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Maraniss and his new book Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe. Jim Thorpe rose to world fame as a mythic talent who excelled at every sport.He won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, was an All-American football player at the Carlisle Indian School, the star of the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and played major league baseball for John McGraw’s New York Giants.

Superman and Marilyn Monroe – A Literary Cocktail Hour

On Friday, March 10, at 5:00 pm, A Literary Cocktail Hour presents The American Way, a virtual event with co-authors Helene Stapinski and Bonnie Siegler. In this exuberant real-life adventure, the publisher of DC Comics comes to the rescue of a family trying to flee Nazi Berlin, their lives linking up with a dazzling cast of 20th-century icons, all eagerly pursuing the American dream. To register for this free event, click here

Family lore had it that Bonnie Siegler’s grandfather crossed paths in Midtown Manhattan late one night in 1954 with Marilyn Monroe, her white dress flying up around her as she filmed a scene for The Seven Year Itch. Jules Schulback had his home movie camera with him, capturing what would become the only surviving footage of that legendary night. Bonnie wasn’t sure she quite believed her grandfather’s story…until, cleaning out his apartment, she found the film reel. The discovery would prompt her to investigate all of her grandfather’s seemingly tall tales—and lead her in pursuit of a remarkable piece of forgotten history bridging old Hollywood, the birth of the comic book, and the Holocaust.

A Trillion Trees with Fred Pearce

On Friday, February 10, at 5:00 pm, the Brattleboro Literary Festival will feature A Literary Cocktail Hour with UK author and environmentalist Fred Pearce to discuss his book, A Trillion Trees.The online event is free and open to the public. Register here:

The term ”trillion trees” has recently entered the public use — shorthand for the policy proposal to literally plant one trillion trees across the planet to solve the climate change problem. While the idea has some serious support, Pearce is not entirely sold. It is not that he is anti-tree; quite the contrary. But some of the large top-down reforestation projects are failing because governments aren’t taking their cue from nature. 

Book Recommendation: Homeless Anything Helps

In case you have not already come across it yet, a book on the subject of homelessness to consider obtaining and reading is:

“Homeless Anything Helps” by Vermont author Matthew Vernon Whalan; An Oral History (2021; Hard Times Review Press; paperback):

Candide Revisited

While I was reading Candide, the controversial 18th century fable by master satirist and troublemaker Voltaire, I mentioned to some fellow readers that I thought it was very funny.  I was met with a chorus of boos and hisses:  “Awful book.  Miserable book.  Thoroughly depressing.”  This made me wonder if we were talking about the same book, until I realized that they had both read it while still in their teens, when the bitterness of Voltaire’s satire must have proved overwhelming to their youthful optimism.  

It should be noted that the full title of the book is Candide, or Optimism, although admittedly there is very little in the story of our hero Candide and his teacher Dr. Pangloss to inspire one to an optimistic view of the human race.  Technically, it’s a satire on the views of the German thinker Liebniz, whose philosophy on the existence of evil is summed up in the famous saying that we live in “the best of all possible worlds.”  Voltaire disagrees.  But you don’t need to know the works of Liebniz to get Voltaire’s indictment of society which in Candide is corrupt from top to bottom.

Brattleboro Literary Festival at Twenty….A Virtual Celebration!

From October 14-17, the 20th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival will host more than sixty authors featured in 40 events and discussions—all online and free! Books presented at the 2021 festival will cover a range of topics: rebellious women and feminist cowboys, homelessness, former presidents, immigration, New York, New Orleans, political upheaval, Banksy, aging, writers and lovers, fake accounts, hurricanes, and pandemics. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Menand will present The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War, a follow-up to The Metaphysical Club. He will be in conversation with National Book Critics Circle award-winner Michael Gorra.

The Rich Get Richer

“The Rich Get Richer: How Our Quest to Accumulate Wealth has Divided America” will be the topic of a conversation between author/journalist Michael Mechanic and local author and campaigner Chuck Collins, at 7:00pm on Tuesday, August 3, at 118 Elliot (118 Elliot Street, Brattleboro). Since Mechanic and Collins share overlapping interests, their dialogue about the surprising advantages and pitfalls of wealth hoarding promises to be as lively as it is informative. The Rich Get Richer event is live, indoors, and limited to 50 people.

Michael Mechanic is a veteran senior editor at Mother Jones whose writing and editing have resulted in dozens of journalism awards. He is author of the new book, Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live –and How Their Wealth Harms Us All. His work at Mother Jones has often focused on social and criminal justice, racial disparities, mass incarceration, economic inequality, and corporate shenanigans. Since writing Jackpot, he’s been looking more at the ways the wealthiest Americans manipulate the system to their advantage. He lives in Oakland, California, but grew up messing around in the Windham woods and brooks with his local cousins. His late mother, Maggie Newton, grew up on a farm near Hamilton Falls where her parents, David and Margaret Newton, established the Newton School for boys; she later moved to Brattleboro and played in the local orchestra.

The Oz Books of L. Frank Baum

I just completed reading all of the L. Frank Baum Oz books. I’ve had this collection for quite a while. They were inherited from my father’s Aunt Arlene, a teacher in Buffalo. When the books first arrived, I was a bit old for them. I had reached the mature age of about 12 or 13, and the covers looked rather ancient to me. They sat in boxes with my mother for quite a while. I got them back a few years ago.

Seeing a series of unread books on the shelf can nag at you, and these were yelling at me. “C’mon, man, read us!” So I dove in.

L. Frank Baum wrote 14 Oz books total:

Reading Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year (So You Don’t Have To)

Great Plague London 1665

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve been reading “plague literature,” which is really only interesting if you happen to be going through something comparable as we are now. Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of a Plague Year is just what you’d expect — an account of one year in the life of a Londoner as he navigates the complexities of surviving the Great Plague of 1665.

Book on Local Printing and Publishing to be Printed Locally: Partnership Announced

The Brattleboro Words Project is proud to formally announce two new partnerships in the publishing and printing of the much anticipated book, “Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words.”

In a culmination of three-years’ of dedicated work, the book, due out this fall, will be published by the Vermont Historical Society, Inc. and printed by Howard Printing in Brattleboro.

On Reading All of The Decameron

There are a number of conundrums about Boccaccio’s Decameron – a collection of bawdy tales set in the Plague year of 1348 – that can’t be solved by reading it. How was it written? Why was it written? For whom was it written? And what has made it so enduring?

For starters, we know that it was written between 1349 and 1353 – nearly 100 years before the invention of the printing press, meaning that all 600 printed pages were originally hand-written with a quill pen. Furthermore, it contains precisely 100 “tales,” plus another dozen or so interstitial chapters that tell the overarching story of 10 young noble persons, seven women and three men, each telling a tale a night for 10 nights. It is a very long book, designed to while away the hours during oh, I don’t know, voluntary isolation as a result of a major epidemic of a potentially fatal disease…

Library Books Are Quarantined at Brooks Memorial Library!

Dear Library Community,

If anyone has been wondering why items are still showing up on their account after returning them to the Big Blue Book Drop, here is why

Don’t worry, we no longer charge any fines. they may accrue, but we delete them as soon as the item comes back to us!

Step 1: items are returned in the Big Blue Book Drop in the Municipal Parking Lot.