Geek Things for August 15th

  • Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 9AM–9PM, Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton. Lectures and readings are free and open to the public; see middlebury.edu for schedule. (Writing)
  • Draw Comics! 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Kids)
  • ‘Wicked City’, 8PM, Depot Theatre, Westport. $25. (Theater)
  • Book Discussion Series: China’s Transformation – Before the Deluge. 5:30PM, Burnham Memorial Library, Colchester. Free. (Books)
  • Marjorie Cady Memorial Writers Group, 10AM–12PM, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury. Free. (Writing)
  • East Montpelier Historical Societies Meeting. 6pm, East Calais Community Building, East Calais. (History)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 11:30-5:30pm, Vermont College, Montpelier. (Blood Drive)
  • Open Cardgames!, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • CLiF Presentation, 12:30pm, Greensboro. (Kids)
  • CLiF Presentation, 10am, Jeudvine Library, Hardwick. (Kids)
  • Leaf Cutter Ants, 11am, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Who Sank The Boat, 3pm, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Contemporary Fiction Book Group – Beowulf, 7:00 PM, South Burlington. (Reading)
  • Monday Night Magic, 6pm – 9pm, Village Pizza, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • Mini Painting, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Cartoon Studies New Summer Workshop: Animation for Cartoonists with Scott Dikkers, August 15, 2011 to August 19, 2011, Center for Cartoon Studies, White River Junction. (Cartoons)

 

Geek Things for August 3rd

  • Chittenden County Philatelic Club, 6:15PM, GE Healthcare Building, South Burlington. Free. (Stamps)
  • Community Bike Shop, 5–8PM, Bike Recycle Vermont, Burlington. Donations accepted. (Bikes)
  • Tech Savvy – Digital drawing programs with Stuart Granoff. Bring a laptop or use a library computer. 6PM, Bradford Public Library, Bradford. Free. (Computers)
  • Brian Lindner – “Humorous and Interesting Plane Crashes in Vermont.” 7:30PM, Milton Historical Society, Milton. Free. (History)
  • Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series – “Cohousing: Socioeconomic and Environmental Sustainability at the Village Scale.” 7–9PM, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Waitsfield. Free. (Design)
  • Authors at the Aldrich: James Kochalka. 6pm, Aldrich Library, Milne Community Rm, Barre. (Cartooning)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming at Triple Play, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, 1 Glen Road #3, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • CLiF Presentation – Summer Readers, please make sure to call us at 802-244-0944 to double check the dates and times have not changed. Burlington Recreation and Nutrition Program in Burlington (Reading)
  • Hoopster Gliders and Paper Craft, 11am, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Exloring Balance, 3pm, Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Learn about NOOK Simple Touch! 5:30 PM, South Burlington. (eReaders)
  • Author Appearance: Jim Butcher, 7pm – 8pm, Cambridge, MA (Author Signing)
  • Planetarium presentation 11:00, Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury. $5/person (Astronomy)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5pm, Big Picture Theater, Waitsfield. $5 suggested. (Theater)

CLiF Presentations

The Children’s Literacy Foundation does a lot of good in the community, donating books and supporting childhood reading. Here’s a great article on their work:

The Gay-Kimball Library has been at the heart of village life in Troy for 186 years.
Although the closing of the Troy Blanket Mill in 2001 has meant tough economic times for this southern N.H. town of 2,100 people, librarian Catherine Callegari says, “The library staff strives to create a joyful and welcoming atmosphere.”
To attract young readers, library volunteers offer a monthly story hour and a popular annual ice cream social. Classes from the nearby elementary school visit regularly.
“It’s a challenge to keep our youth book collection up-to-date and inviting,” says Callegari. “The books get a lot of use, and we don’t have much of a budget to buy new items or replace worn-out favorites.”
That’s why Callegari applied to the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) for a Rural Library Sponsorship.
Based in Waterbury Center, Vt., CLiF works to inspire a love of reading and writing among rural and at-risk children throughout Vt. and N.H.
CLiF’s Rural Library Sponsorship program benefits 24 libraries each year, and features a storytelling program for students and a donation of more than $2,000 of brand new books to each library.

Read the entire thing here.

Geek Things for July 13th

  • Book Sale, 9:30AM–5:30PM, Stowe Free Library, Stowe. Free. (Books)
  • Community Bike Shop, 5–8PM, Bike Recycle Vermont, Burlington. Donations accepted. (Bikes)
  • Family Fun Night, 7–9PM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. $6-8; preregister. (Outdoors)
  • Walk Williston – Lisa Dunne leads a 1.3-mile nature hike. 5–7PM, Five Tree Hill, Williston. Free. (Outdoors)
  • Green Mountain College Morning Speaker Series – “Green Science,” 9–10AM, The Station, Poultney. Free. (Talk)
  • Burlington Downtown & Waterfront Plan: Developing innovative and practical solutions to transportation problems. 7–8:30PM, Film House, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, Burlington. Free. (Transportation)
  • Karen Lipinczyk & Brenda Egbert – “Labyrinths: What They Are and How to Build One,” 6:30PM, Bradford Public Library, Bradford. Free. (Labyrinths)
  • Summer Speaker Series, 4PM, President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth. $8. (Talk)
  • Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series – “Future Components: A Primer on the Impact of Digital Technology on Design/Build.” 7–9PM, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Waitsfield. Free. (Design)
  • ‘I’ll Be Back Before Midnight’, 8PM, McCarthy Arts Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. $29.50-38.50. (Theater)
  • Readings at the Athenaeum – Katie Hays and Baron Wormser, 7:30PM, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury. Free. (Reading)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Magnets, 11:00 a.m., Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Who Sank the Boat? 3:00 p.m., Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Learn About NOOK Color!, 6:00 PM, Barnes and Noble, South Burlington. (eReaders)
  • Planetarium presentation, 11am-12pm, Fairbank Museum, St. Johnsbury. $5/person. (Astronomy)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive. 12-5:30pm, Northfield High School, Northfield. (Blood Drive)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming at Triple Play, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • L5R Night at Triple Play, 6:30pm – 10:00pm, Triple Play, Lebanon. (Gaming)

Geek Things for July 6th

  • Chittenden County Philatelic Club, 6:15PM, GE Healthcare Building, South Burlington. Free. (Stamps)
  • Computer Lesson, 9:30AM, Champlain Senior Center, McClure MultiGenerational Center, Burlington. $5 donation. (Computers)
  • College Observatory Public Viewing Night. Call for a status report in case of inclement weather. 9–10:30PM, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury College, Middlebury. Free. (Astronomy)
  • ‘Frankenstein and Friends’, 12–1PM, Battery Park, Burlington. Free. (Kids)
  • Green Mountain College Morning Speaker Series – “Now Showing: A Tiny Theater Dreams Big,”, 9–10AM, The Station, Poultney. Free. (Talk)
  • Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth Summer Lecture Series – “Corruption: Pervasive, Persistent and Virulent”, 9AM–12PM, Spaulding Auditorium, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. $20. (Talk)
  • Kate Kenny – “The War That Wasn’t: Patented Inventions During the Civil War.” 7–10PM, Noyes House Museum, Morrisville. Donations accepted. (History)
  • Summer Speaker Series – Calvin Coolidge, 4PM, President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth. $8. (Talk)
  • Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series – “Organic Architecture Guild: A Common Vision for Sustainable Design.” 7–9PM, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Waitsfield. Free. (Architecture)
  • ‘I’ll Be Back Before Midnight’, 8PM, McCarthy Arts Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. $29.50-38.50. (Theater)
  • Readings at the Athenaeum – Gish Jen, 7:30PM, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury. Free. (Reading)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Straw Rockets, 11:00 a.m., Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Kitchen Chemistry, 3:00 p.m., Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Come ALearn About New NOOK Simple Touch!, 6:00 PM, South Burlington. (eReaders)
  • Advance Screening of “Torchwood: Miracle Day”, http://nescifievents.org/?p=2662, 6pm – 8pm, Cambridge, MA (Screening)
  • Planetarium presentation – Monster Telescopes, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Fairbanks Museum, St. Johnsbury. $5/person. (Science)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming at Triple Play, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)

Don’t Breathe A Word

This morning, VPR hosted an interview with Vermont author Jennifer McMahon, who’s latest novel was inspired by a disturbing dream that she had. Released in March of this year, McMahon’s fifth novel, Don’t Breathe A Word follows a missing 12 year old girl and her brother:

One summer night in Vermont, 12-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother Sam about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam , a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly they are faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hard-headed, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed and could destroy them all.

VPR interviewed Mrs. McHahon this morning, and you can listen to the entire chat here. Their blurb:

When you think of fairy tales, what comes to mind? Most likely you’re thinking of princes and princesses, wicked stepmothers and magic.
Vermont author Jennifer McMahon has written a different kind of fairy tale—one in which fairies are less like Tinkerbell than something Stephen King would dream up.
The novel is called Don’t Breathe A Word and it focuses on a young girl named Lisa, who disappears into the woods in search of the fairies—and Phoebe, who stumbles upon the mystery of her disappearance fifteen years later when she begins dating Lisa’s brother.
Jennifer McMahon speaks with VPR’s Peter Biello.

It looks like an interesting read: it’s not popped up on my radar lately, but it’s very good to see that there are a number of Vermont authors who are in on the current trend of YA speculative fiction.

If you want to leark more about Jennifer McMahon, her website can be found here. Don’t Breathe a Word can be purchased here. (Or from your favorite local bookstore!)

‘Like’ her on Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter.
Become a fan on Goodreads.

New Release, Leviathan Wakes


A while ago, I was reading through a new space opera epic
, Leviathan Wakes, by James A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), and came across a fantastic reference to Vermont. The copy that I had was an advanced reader’s copy, but you can now read it too: it’s out in stores today! Call up your favorite local bookstore and demand good science fiction!

Obviously, don’t buy it just for the Vermont reference: get it because it’s an awesome book, and the start of an awesome series.

My review for the book can be found here and here, and SF Signal has the interview that I conducted with the authors here.

Josie Leavitt on YA Fiction

[yalit]

Josie Leavitt, owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore, has a great response to the recent Wall Street Journal article, Darkness Too Visible, over at Publisher’s Weekly:

This weekend the Internet, specifically Twitter and Facebook, have been seriously abuzz about an article in the Wall Street Journal Saturday written by Meghan Cox Gurdon. In the article “Darkness Too Visible,” the writer has focused on a few admittedly dark novels and classified the whole genre as bleak and fairly unredemptive.

As a bookseller, I was struck immediately by the first two paragraphs:

Amy Freeman, a 46-year-old mother of three, stood recently in the young-adult section of her local Barnes & Noble, in Bethesda, Md., feeling thwarted and disheartened.

She had popped into the bookstore to pick up a welcome-home gift for her 13-year-old, who had been away. Hundreds of lurid and dramatic covers stood on the racks before her, and there was, she felt, “nothing, not a thing, that I could imagine giving my daughter. It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff.” She left the store empty-handed.

Well, if Amy Freeman had shopped at an independent bookstore someone would have asked her if she needed help. The staffer would have offered help and most likely, the indie would have been well stocked in other types of YA, say Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, or David Levithan, to name just a few.  There is never a reason for someone to leave a bookstore empty-handed, especially when they’re on a mission as broad as wanting a book for a 13-year-old.

On one hand, I agree with one point the author is making: there is a glut of gory, dark and somewhat gloomy YA literature out there. But, to some extent it reflects the times we’re in. Teens are committing suicide because of bullying, eating disorders are common, even kids in “nice” neighborhoods have drug problems, and kids sometimes get pregnant. And sadly, some kids grow up in abused households with alcoholic parents. Reading about kids with alcoholic parents can make a kid feel better. Kids reading about cutting will not make them cutters. It might, however, make them recognize when one of their friends is cutting and could use help.

The full article can be found here, and it’s well worth reading through both (as infuriating as the WSJ article is). I found it to be ham handed, and from an author who clearly didn’t understand the publishing field for YA fiction. Josie’s piece was extremely balanced, well thought out and equally worth reading. What do you think?

Geek Things for May’s Friday the 13th

  • ‘Name That Movie!’, 5–6PM, The CineClub, Savoy Theater, Montpelier. $2.50. (Movies)
  • Opening Weekend, 10AM–4PM, Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington. $3-7; free for children under 3. (History)
  • Raptor Encounter, 11AM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (BirdS)
  • Talk to the Trainer, 2PM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (Birds)
  • ‘Draw Comics!’, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Comics)
  • Science & Stories – Seeds, 11AM, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 2 and under. (Kids)
  • Graphic-Novel Readers & Creators, 5:30PM, Phoenix Books in Essex. Free. (Comics)
  • Readings, 6PM, Memphremagog Arts Collaborative, Newport. Free. (Reading)
  • NATO:2.0: Reboot or Delete? – Sarwar Kashmeri, 7 pm, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center. (Talk)
  • Huzzah! Historical Wargaming Convention, May 13 – 15, 2011, Portland, ME (Conventions)
  • Granite State Comic Con, May 15, Manchester NH. (Conventions)
  • Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, 7:30pm – 7:30pm, Boston, MA (Theater)
  • Public Star Gazing at the Ethan Allen Homestead, 7:45, Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington. (Astronomy)
  • FNM – Friday Night Magic – Type 2 / Standard – $8 Entry Fee, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • 2011 Benefit Auction: The Fiddlehead Fling, 6pm, The Montshire Museum, Norwich. To learn more or register, visit http://www.montshire.org/auction. (Auction)
  • Middlebury Arts Walk, 5 – 7pm, 51 Main @ The Bridge, Middlebury. (Art)
  • Friday Night Magic — Constructed, 6pm – 10pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Friday Night Magic, The Book Garden, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • Spring Migration Bird Walk. 7-9:30am, North Branch Nature Center, $5/free for members, Info. 229-6206. (Birds)
  • Movie & Star-Gazing. 7pm, Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Rain date May 20th. Info. 223-3338. (Astronomy) (Movies)

Geek Things for May the 4th

  • Chittenden County Philatelic Club, 6:15PM, GE Healthcare Building, South Burlington. Free. (Stamps)
  • Prototype Systems Presentation, 6:30–10:30PM, Davis Center, UVM, Burlington. Free. (Inventions)
  • Raptor Encounter, 11AM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (Birds)
  • Talk to the Trainer, 2PM, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Quechee. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 3 and under. (Birds)
  • ‘Tech Savvy’, 6–8PM, Bradford Public Library, Bradford. Free. (Technology)
  • Middle School Book Group, 4–5PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • High School Book Group, 5–6PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • Irene Kacandes – “Daddy’s War.” 7PM, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury. Free. (Talk)
  • Tony Magistrale – “Why Stephen King Still Matters,” 7PM, Goodrich Memorial Library, Newport. Free. (Speculative Fiction)
  • ‘Transportation and Our Local Communities’, 7:30–9PM, O’Brien Community Center, Winooski. Free. (Transportation)
  • Jay Parini – The life of Herman Melville, 7PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Literature)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 10am-3pm, Montpelier High School, Montpelier. (Blood Drive)
  • Lifting the Yoke: Local Solutions to America’s Farm & Food Crisis. 6:30pm, Warren Public Library, Warren. (Talk)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • CliF Presentation, Authors and Illustrators, Newbury Elementary School, Newbury. (Reading)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • L5R Night at Triple Play, 6:30pm – 10:00pm, Triple Play, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • “The Mind and the Machine,” Matthew Dickerson, 5:15 – 7:15pm, 51 Main at the Bridge, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • NOOK Classic (3G & Wi-Fi) at Night! 6:00 PM, Barnes and Noble, South Burlington. (eReaders)