Book of the Week (6/19/2017)

Farm, Food, Life: Photographs + Recipes Inspired by Local Farms by Kimberly Sanders Peck (New Hampshire: s.n., 2013).

Interested in locally grown food and where to find it in the Granite State? Local photographer Kimberly Peck features beautiful images of New Hampshire farmers, their farms, products, and recipes in her book "Farm, Food, Life".
"Growing up in Vermont, I was surrounded by the amazing farms along the Connecticut River Valley. Now, as I make my home in the beautiful Monadnock Region of southern New Hampshire, I am once again surrounded by fertile hills and valleys that have long sustained family-run farms and local agriculture. Over the past few years, with the increasing interest in homegrown food, the Monadnock Region has attracted a new generation of farmers to work its fertile soil.

In 2011, drawing inspiration from my childhood in Vermont and my home in the Monadnock Region, I began photographing local farms to support the growing local food movement and to feed my passion for documentary photography. The goal of my farm series is to use the visual narrative of photography to connect farmers and their communities. I want people to see who is growing their food and to understand the hard work that goes into farming. The resulting photographs compel us to think about the food on our plates, where it came from and who grew it. Every farm has a unique story to tell, and through the photographs, each farm has the opportunity to share theirs. My farm photography continues to evolve into an inspiring and creative exploration of local agriculture. During the past three years, I have documented over thirty farms, with more visits planned this year.

Farm, Food, Life features photographs, farmer profiles, and recipes showcasing local ingredients produced by the featured farms. Along with professional cook & farmer Sarah Heffron of Mayfair Farm, in Harrisville, NH, we have created approachable recipes geared toward all levels of cooks and bakers...how yummy is that?" --Author's blurb


NH's Route 1 Read 2017

Route One Reads is a virtual reading trip along Route One. The Center for the Book in each state along Route One was asked to select a biography for adult readers.
We wanted a biography that told the story of a native life in the Granite State. We had lots of books to  choose from, check out past book-of-the-week biographies for a sample, and ultimately decided to feature Kookooland, Gloria Norris's story of her gritty urban upbringing in Northern New England's largest city. If this story rings a bell for you it may be because you read the Calvin Trillin article about Norris's extended family and their problems in the New Yorker in 1978.

It's the 1960s in Manchester, New Hampshire and Gloria Norris is growing up in the projects with her family. A photo might show a happy, young family, but things aren't as they appear. Jimmy's a wiseguy who relies on charm, wit and an unyielding belief that he's above the law; and his youngest daughter, Gloria, is just like him. Or at least, she knows that she needs to stay on his good side. When an unspeakable act of violence shakes her to her core, Gloria's fiery determination takes shape and she sets herself on a path away from the cycle of violence whirling around her. That path will eventually take her to NYC where she will work as an assistant to film directors Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen and then to Los Angeles where she is now a screenwriter and independent producer.


Book of the Week (6/12/2017)

Red Rubber Boot Day by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Lauren Stringer (Boston: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2000).

It's been rainy here in New Hampshire these past couple of weeks, and my toddler-age son is eager for more sunny summer days ahead. In the meantime, he insists I read Red Rubber Boot Day by NH author Mary Lyn Ray to him on those rainy days. It's become one of his favorite books and inspired us to pull on our rubber boots and stomp around in some puddles too!
"I press my nose against the screen / and smell the smell of screen and rain." Ray brings to life the highlights of a small boy's rainy day told from the child's point of view. Indoors with his cat, the boy crayons, builds with blocks, plays with dishes and cars, reads, and pretends that the closet is a cave. Finally venturing out into his yard, he splashes around in the puddles with his red rubber boots. Although the ending is less satisfying than the wonderfully evocative first line quoted above, the book as a whole does a fine job of conjuring up a familiar childhood experience. The short text and appealing subject make this picture book accessible to young children. Stringer's acrylic paintings are as vivid as the text. The pictures bring a child's world up close as they evoke the sights and sensations of the day. The illustrations work smoothly with the text to make this a very effective picture book for reading aloud. -- Carolyn Phelan, Booklist


2018 Dublin Award Nominees

 The NH Dublin Committee has selected its nominees for the 2018 Dublin Literary Award. These are fictional works of high literary merit published in English during 2016. After reading and discussing many excellent books, the committee selected these titles for nomination:

A Gentleman in Moscow is set within the volatile context of Soviet Russia in the 1920's and 30's. Amor Towles has written a charming novel, both comic and thoughtful. Centered on Count Alexander Rostov, sentenced to a life of house arrest in Moscow's most elegant hotel, the novel is imaginative, cleverly crafted, and peopled with an engaging cast of unforgettable characters.  

The Underground Railroad follows the grueling and tumultuous life of Cora; a young slave in the Antebellum South, and her unwavering quest for freedom.  Author Colson Whitehead’s literal imagery of a steam railway hidden underground, transporting slaves North brings an unorthodox and captivating view of one of the most wretched times in U.S. history.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a multi-generational saga following the lives of two half-sisters – one married into privilege, one sold into slavery–and their descendants, spanning three hundred years in Ghana and America. It is a book that brings history to life in a way that, as one character puts it, “you feel it inside you.” 


Book of the Week (6/5/2017)

Stone Building: How to Make New England Style Walls and Other Structures the Old Way by Kevin Gardner (Woodstock, VT : Countryman Press, 2017).

Hopkinton, NH native, master stonemason, and author of "The Granite Kiss", Kevin Gardner imparts his years of experience and wisdom with his latest book, "Stone Building".
Nothing matches the look and feel of stone structures in and around your home. Yet most people are intimidated by the very thought of masonry, despite the obvious rewards. In Stone Building, Kevin Gardner distills his decades of experience building and maintaining iconic New England–style stone walls into this concise, informative guide. Gardner offers step-by-step instructions for building everything from flagstone walkways to classic patios and ornate fire pits. He also offers time-tested tips to help care for your stone, as well as repair and restoration advice for existing structures. --Amazon.com
Make sure to join Kevin for a lecture and book signing at the Milford, NH Toadstool Bookshop on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm!