I’m back from #booktopiaVT – that’s the twitter hashtag for the 3-day ‘readers retreat’ for listeners of the Books on the Nightstand podcast. We spent Friday thru Sunday in gorgeous Manchester, Vermont; three inns and the rambling Northshire Bookstore were the venues for intimate sessions that brought authors and readers together.
There is SO MUCH to share about the weekend – so much! Fun people, books, interesting conversations, books, beat-the-clock outlet shopping, books …
In the interest of brevity – and in hoping to unpack and hide the evidence in various bookshelves, nightstands, and other horizontal surfaces around the house – I’m going to write a few short posts about #booktopia over the next several days … first up is the haul of books I purchased:
- Learning to Swim by Sarah J. Henry – a literary thriller set in upstate New York. Sarah was a #booktopiaVT author
- Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen … because my neighborhood book group will discuss this on Wednesday, and I’m down to the wire!
- Banishing Verona by Margot Livesey … because I love her writing, and I’ve yet to read this novel (and needed to rescue the hardcover from the remainder table!)
- Living in Booktopia – a compilation of the ‘booktopia’ vision as imagined by Booktopia participants from the three retreats in Manchester, Oxford, and Santa Cruz. This was printed on the Espresso Book Machine at Northshire Bookstore, and is available on their website.
- Defending Jacob by William Landay – I loved this novel, a mystery/thriller set in metro Boston; I was on the edge of my seat as I read the final few chapters. I picked this up as a gift. Bill was a #booktopiaVT author.
- Don’t Know Much about Literature by Kenneth C. Davis. We have a number of the ‘Don’t Know Much About … ” books, and I thought this was the perfect title to add to our collection. Ken was a #booktopiaVT author.
- The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits – a short fiction collection from Emma Donoghue, the author of Room (and another remainder rescue!)
- We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver – because my #booktopiaVT roommate looked at me in disbelief when I confessed I hadn’t read anything by Lionel Shriver
- The End of Your life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – a fun surprise in our #booktopiaVT welcome packets! This is an advance copy of a memoir that’s coming out in October. Ann says ‘if you liked Tuesdays with Morrie or The Last Lecture, this is for you!’
- An Iliad by Alessandro Baricco – reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles has made me not fear the Greeks! One day I’ll revisit Homer’s Iliad and recover from the trauma I endured in high school.
- Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry – oh, this wasn’t a purchase at Northshire Bookstore; this was my win in the Yankee Swap we played on Friday afternoon. What a fun way to get to know the other #booktopiaVT participants – we each brought a wrapped book and played a literary version of Russian Roulette (or musical chairs; choose your metaphor). I haven’t read Wendell Berry, but know him as a poet … this book of prose was “stolen” four times during our Yankee Swap, so I feel like I got a winner!
- History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason. No, you’re not seeing double; I bought one for myself and one for a gift. Richard was a #booktopiaVT author.
- Don’t Know Much about Space and Don’t Know Much about American History by Kenneth C. Davis … because I had to bring home something for the kids!
There were four other #booktopiaVT authors whose books I had prior to the weekend: Madeline Miller and The Song of Achilles, Leslie Maitland and Crossing the Borders of Time, Howard Frank Mosher and The Great Northern Express, and Susan Cain and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.