Books

Author Toni Morrison reads at a podium to people gathered
Eric Borg / Special Collections, Middlebury College (courtesy)

Toni Morrison died last week at the age of 88. Author of novels including Beloved and Song of Solomon, as well as winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Morrison leaves a lasting impression on the American literary landscape — but she also left an impression on those who attended Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Ripton, Vermont, during her time as a faculty member in the 1970s.

Author Rick Winston's book "Red Scare In The Green Mountains" looks at the era of McCarthyism in Vermont from 1946 through 1960.
Rootstock Publiching, Courtesy

Vermont Edition presents two encore interviews with Vermont authors who wrote about some rather compelling moments in the state's history: how Vermont weathered instances of Red Scare, and a judiciary scandal that reached all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Headshot of author Miciah Bay Gault
Daryl Burtnett

Goodnight Stranger is a psychological thriller focused on a brother and sister, orphaned after the death of their parents. The tense tale is the debut novel of Miciah Bay Gault, who teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

The words General Store written in red text on a white sign atop the exterior of a building.
LordRunar / iStock

Oddertown is a small, fictional village in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom that actually seems quite real. In Gary Meffe's debut novel, The Wizard of Odd, life in Oddertown orbits around its tiny general store and the colorful characters who eat, drink and hold court there on nearly every topic under the sun.

Loung Ung reads from her first memoir, "First They Killed My Father," to the students at Essex High School.
Anna Ste. Marie / VPR

This program originally aired on May 22, 2018.

She was just five years old when the revolutionaries known as the Khmer Rouge took control of her home country of Cambodia. Nearly a quarter of the population died in the ensuing genocide. But author Loung Ung survived, eventually making her way to Vermont, and going on to write memoirs and make movies of her time in Cambodia.

A pile of ten books stacked on top of each other.
Mitch Wertlieb / VPR

Ten books have been selected as finalists for the 2019 Vermont Book Award, including two different works by the same writer. 

Howard Norman in his home library. The author's latest novel is set in his real-life Calais farmhouse.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

Calais writer Howard Norman says his new novel, The Ghost Clause, will be his last work of fiction. And so he set out to immortalize the things he loves about his Vermont life by incorporating them into the plot.

The Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, is pictured on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.
Michael Sohn / AP

Witold Pilecki was a Polish resistance fighter who intentionally allowed himself to be captured and sent to Auschwitz. His mission was to sabotage and gather information about the camp — well before the full truth of its horrifying purpose was revealed to the world. We're talking to the author of a new book on Pilecki about what he accomplished and why he isn't better known today.

A new book on identifying ferns also makes the case for why these plants could outlast humanity.
Lara xxxxx / flickr

Ferns have been around for hundreds of millions of years, have survived several mass extinctions and may well be thriving after humanity has gone the way of the dodo. A new book describes ferns' remarkable survival skills and teaches fern enthusiasts how to identify species that live in our region.

A student sits at a table in a library holding up a copy of the novel Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Meg Malone / VPR

Each spring, upper elementary students schools in the Mt. Abraham Unified School District travel to the middle and high school library for a Jeopardy!-style trivia competition about the books nominated for Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.

But before the gathered students from the five different elementary schools got to play the game, there was an announcement to be made: the 2019 winner. 

Will Lambek, José Luis Cordova Herrera, and woman who identified herself as Olga, from left, testified in the Legislature in January. They say migrant farmworkers fear that local police will out them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

Research by a UVM anthropologist suggests that a majority of migrant farmworkers in Vermont face serious barriers to accessing nutritious food – in addition to other enormous challenges. We're talking to Teresa Mares about her new book Life On the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont.

Is summer a time to tear into a new novel, dive into a classic memoir or listen along to a new audiobook? "Vermont Edition" wants your summer books recommendations.
Jessica Ruscello / Unsplash

It's June, and so it's time to ask the age-old question: what are you reading this summer? In Vermont Edition's annual summer book show, we're talking with librarians and book buyers around the state about new novels, memorable memoirs, first-rate nonfiction and books for kids and young adults to dive into this summer. 

A display of books nominated for the 2019 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award, with shelves of previous years' nominees on either side, at Mt. Abraham Union High School in Bristol on May 14.
Meg Malone / VPR

For more than half a century, Vermont’s middle-grade students have been reading books on Dorothy’s List, a reading program and book award named for Arlington author Dorothy Canfield Fisher. But the author's connection to the eugenics movement, and criticism of her stereotyped portrayal of Native Americans and French Canadians in her work, are behind the Vermont Department of Libraries' decision to change the award's name.

David Reinert holds a Q sign while waiting in line at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre, PA in August 2018. The "QAnon" conspiracy is an example of what a new book calls the "new conspiracism."
Matt Rourke / AP

Conspiracy theories are about as old as governments themselves. But "the new conspiracism" is something new and different; it's conspiracy without the theory, say the authors of a new book on conspiracy thinking. We're talking about the new conspiracism and how it disorients our conversations and affects democracy, institutions and daily life.

A black-and-white photo of Sinclair Lewis sitting in a lawn chair at Twin Farms
Vermont Historical Society, courtesy

This month on Brave Little State: Exploring the literary luminaries of Vermont, and why so many writers seem to thrive in the Green Mountain State.

A row of books and a DCF sign hanging below it.
Meg Malone / VPR

The Vermont Department of Libraries will be changing the name of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award.

A teacher holds an open book and points at it while students look on.
Meg Malone / VPR

A group of fifth- and sixth-graders are in the library of Orleans Elementary School working on making “'zines.” 'Zines are like personal mini magazines, and they're a favorite hobby of Malú, the main character in The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez.

David McMillan, Fred Morin and Meredith Erickson are authors of 'Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts.'
Jonathan Castellino

The iconic Montreal restaurant Joe Beef is known for excess. Now, the two chef-owners of the restaurant have embraced sobriety, and have written a new cookbook that's about food and the apocalypse. We're talking to them about working in the restaurant biz without drinking, and cooking for the end of the world.

The cover of Elizabeth Powell's book Concerning the Holy Ghost's Interpretation of J. Crew Catalogues.
Leaky Boot Press

Have you ever leafed through a catalogue and wondered about the behind-the-scenes efforts to get consumers to covet those items? A new book by Vermont writer Elizabeth Powell, called Concerning the Holy Ghost's Interpretation of J. Crew Catalogues, explores this concept.

In September 2018, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin joined "Vermont Edition" and a live audience to discuss her new book, "Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties."
Anna Ste Marie / VPR

During VPR's March Membership Drive Vermont Edition is featuring special episodes showcasing some of the best recent shows and collecting interviews with notable Vermonters. Few are more notable than the only woman to ever lead the state, former Gov. Madeleine Kunin.

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