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Ponderings - Bear Pond Books Newsletter January 31, 2013

posted at 12:11 pm Fri Feb 1st, 2013 by (WherezIt_Staff)

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Celebrating Imbolc? Ground Hog's Day? Valentine's? Whatever your holiday, we're pretty sure you should celebrate with a new book. A tell-all on Scientology (Going Clear) or perhaps the story Red Sox manager Terry Francona (Francona) could be just what you need.

As always, we have new and interesting books arriving daily and a great selection of gifts and Valentine's Day cards.

If you've been in the store this week, you may have seen us muttering at the computer screen a bit. Bear with us - we have a new inventory system and we're still learning but our customer service is as great as ever!





Tom:Voodoo Heart by Scott Snyder

Scott Snyder's collection of short stories, Voodoo Heart, is comprised of character-driven pieces that explore the dark and strange corners of their americana settings. While that's a pretty creative concept, I was skeptical as to how drawn to it I would be. A few pages in I realized I was wrong to be.

Snyder is an author who is capable of creating really compelling plot lines to bring readers in and leading them along with interesting themes and concepts that carry over story to story, without them feeling the same. His settings are something that he clearly takes pride in. They feel hyper-defined and are highly memorable.

Together, his capabilities allow him to create vivid, memorable stories that you definitely haven't read before.

Claire:The Dinner by Herman Koch

Peter and Claire are setting out for the evening to meet Peter's famous brother Serge and his wife Babette for dinner at a local 4-star restaurant. Peter is clearly not looking forward to this familial meal - the tension is palpable when he even talks about his brother - but the reader does not yet have an inkling why. From a calculated appetizer choice to the fraught main course and on to a highly charged order for espresso, the tension between the four people at the table builds deliciously throughout the meal.

Brought together to discuss a family matter, the Lohman's and their secrets immediately draw the reader into their glittering yet dark world. The author masterfully layers the plot and raises the stakes through every course and every turn in the conversation. This was a very engrossing read that delves into family drama and dynamics in a clever way.

To say too much more about this book would be an injustice to the reading experience. It's best for the reader to go in with little pre-conceptions and let the drama unfold as it does for the book's characters. This book was originally written in Dutch and takes place presumably in the Hague, but these facts have little to do with the story. This is not a dinner you'd want to attend, but it's a fascinating one to observe!

Jen:The Barefoot Bandit: The True Tale of Colton Harris-Moore, New American Outlaw by Bob Friel

In need of a page-turner during the mid-winter rain, I hit the "Adventure Writing" section at the store and found this remarkable story about that kid you probably remember running circles around the police, FBI, and Homeland Security in the northwest a few years ago. The Barefoot Bandit is Colton Harris-Moore, and he began stealing from his neighbors on Camano Island, Washington before he was ten years old. At first, he mainly stole to feed himself, since his alcoholic mother couldn't manage to keep their run-down trailer stocked with food. As he discovered his talent for breaking and entering (sometimes slipping in, using a computer and having a snack, then sneaking back out while the owners and their dog slept in the next room), Colton graduated to taking electronics, money, and identities. He opportunistically used boats, bikes and cars to move around the island, staying at various hidden campsites in order to stay out of reach of both the law and his mother and her parade of boyfriends when their drinking turned violent. Hiding in the lush forests with his beagle, Melanie, Colton killed time playing flight simulator games that led, amazingly, to his successful theft of several small airplanes.

The author is a magazine and travel writer who happened to be living on Orcas Island when Colton burglarized most of that community, so the storytelling has the personal touches of someone who knows the setting intimately.

Though The Barefoot Bandit does have all the necessary elements of good adventure writing - a sympathetic daredevil, a difficult situation, and page-turning action - this story lacks the wilderness setting that imperils most adventurers. It's more of a good-kid-turned-bad-by-his-lousy-circumstances kind of story, but it's a wild ride that easily distracts from the miserable weather for awhile.

Justin: Black Orchid Deluxe Edition, story by Neil Gaiman, art by Dave McKean

Neil Gaiman's take on the Black Orchid is a must read for any super hero fan. In it, Gaiman exploits the qualities of this unique hero to challenge the themes most common in modern super hero stories: namely men using violence to either create problems, or solve them. Instead, Black Orchid is a female human/plant hybrid, part of DC's pantheon of plant characters (which also includes Woodrue, Poison Ivy and Swampthing, who make guest appearances in the story). Plants have a different way of doing things. As Black Orchid searches for answers to her origin and purpose, she never raises her hand in anger or violence. In doing so, Neil Gaiman tells a new kind of story in super hero genre, a story where fists and guns can't solve everything.

There is plenty of action though, as the tumultuous world swirls about in a challenge to Orchid's serenity. Heavy hitters like Lex Luthor, and The Dark Knight also make appearances. Dave McKean's art is as otherworldly and beautiful as ever, brought to brilliant new life with the Deluxe Edition's remastered colors. The Deluxe Edition is a hardcover and also includes bonus content that reveals a bit of the creative process that went into the making of this beautiful book.





A Country of Marriage: Poems by Wendell Berry

First published in 1971, The Country of Marriage is Wendell Berry's fifth volume of poetry. Berry has here perfected a work that is immediately accessible but that becomes, as we read it again, always more satisfying, reverberant with manifold meanings.

Visitants by Dave Eggers
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Visitants collects fifteen years of Dave Eggers's travel writing-from magazine journalism to character sketches-much of it never previously published.

Along the way, certain questions present themselves: Why are we from here, rather than there? And when we go "there," what are our obligations to the people we meet? Throughout, Eggers ponders both the great gulf that divides industrialized nations from the developing world, as well as the essential humanity that unites us.

Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

This book is a brilliant and provocative reexamination of America's thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership. Shlaes traces Coolidge's improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to President of the country.

Amity Shlaes is the director of the George W. Bush Institute's economic growth project and the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Forgotten Man.

See Now Then by Jamica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid's first book in ten years is an evocative new novel where a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters-a mother, a father, and their two children, living in a small village in New England-as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future.

We are hoping to have Jamaica Kincaid for an event at the store in March--keep tuned!


Buy on-line




Tuesday, February 5 at 7pm
Sarah Gillen
From Hurt to Joy

Through helping thousands of people, from babies to adults, therapist Sarah Gillen developed a protocol for releasing the effects of painful and disruptive physical and emotional events through the energy systems of the body. Her work has two phases:
1) the Energy Work she does in person or at-a-distance to release stubborn pain and induce healing, and
2) Energy Dynamics - the skills she teaches people so they can help themselves. These skills help people overcome trauma. They also help business leaders and professionals be more successful by transforming limiting beliefs and patterns, become more empowered, centered, and joyful.

In From Hurt to Joy, Sarah makes these same techniques available to you.


Tuesday, February 12 at 7pm
Sara J. Henry

The author of the award-winning Learning to Swim introduces her second book, a character driven thriller set in the Adirondacks in mid-winter. A Cold and Lonely Place is the sequel to Learning to Swim and follows Troy Chance as she digs deeper into a mysterious death at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. It is very clear that someone doesn't want the investigation to continue and Troy doesn't know who to trust. What she finds out may shatter the serenity of the Adirondack mountain villages.






Congratulations to the 2013 American Library Association winners of children's literature! The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is the John Newbery award winner for literature, and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen won the Randolph Caldecott medal for most distinguished picture book. There are many other wonderful books that received recognition from the ALA and you can find them here.

The second presentation in our "Third Saturday of the Month" series will happen on Saturday, February 16th at 11am in the Children's Room.

Authors REBECCA RUPP and TANYA LEE STONE will be taking the audience on an adventure through NONFICTION; the whys and hows of critical thinking and resource gathering for students and teachers. For more information about these events visit our website blog here.

We are now hosting STORYTIME in the Children's Room EVERY SATURDAY at 10am!! Carrie Fitz, who is a Waldorf trained teacher and most recently was the children's buyer here at the store will be bringing her lovely demeanor in stories and song for ages 2-5. Join us!






The Not Just Fiction Book Club's next meeting is on Wednesday, February 13 at 7pm at the store.

Book: The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker

George's Mystery Club will be meeting on Monday, February 25 at 6:30 .

Books are in the store on George's Mystery Club Shelf: The Beekeepers Apprentice and The Daughters of Juarez.


Information on our book clubs from our website










Bear Pond Books

phone: 802-229-0774





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77 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602 (Set as Local)

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