Monthly Archives: November 2015

Best Jack-o-Lantern, Ever

Josie Leavitt - November 10, 2015

Before we moved our store to Shelburne, we got upwards of 400 costumed children trick-or-treating on Halloween. It’s a long-standing tradition that kids from Charlotte descend on the one-street village and trick-or-treat. I used to love seeing all the different outfits the kids would come up with, ranging from the simple Ninja Turtle to the very complicated sarcophagus that practically had its own transport system. But Shelburne has something Charlotte lacked: neighborhoods and sidewalks, so kids tend to seek candy where they live. As a result we don’t get any kids seeking candy on Halloween. This has always made me a little sad. This past weekend I was at my favorite coffee shop in Shelburne when a family approached me.
I hadn’t gotten my coffee yet, so was a little sleepy when Maddy came up to me. Maddy is about seven or eight and newly moved back to town. Her grandfather has been a stalwart supporter of the bookstore since the day we opened. Maddy asked a little nervously, “Do you want to see a picture of my jack-o-lantern?” Of course I did. I was expecting a cute little pumpkin, not an homage to the bookstore. Apparently, young Maddy has fallen in love with the store since her family moved back to Shelburne after a multi-year absence, and this love translated to a sketch of the pumpkin and the carving of the actual pumpkin. To say that these made me happy is an understatement. The lit pumpkin is almost haunting it’s so beautiful. And honestly, it’s not every day a child designs and executes a fire-breathing flying pig!pumpkin

The Year of the Yeti

Elizabeth Bluemle - November 6, 2015

My friend and fellow Vermont College MFA grad Betsy Wernert is a children’s librarian as well as a fabulous writer, avid reader and book reviewer. Years ago, Betsy created a set of cryptid characters who introduced great books to kids. We were also classmates with another terrific writer, Trina St. Jean, who was working on a novel about a sasquatch. Back then, there wasn’t much in the way of stories with cryptid heroes, but wow, has there been an explosion of them this year! Or, to use my favorite term for a group of yeti(s), a flurry.

The Thing About Yetis by Vin Vogel
(Dial, $16.99) ISBN 9780803741706
This is a book we Vermonsters — I mean, Vermonters — can really identify with. Even the most snow-loving creatures on the planet, the furry yetis, can get a little sick of winter. This book is a celebration of the joys offered by seasons both snowy and sunny.
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The Librarian of Years Reveals Her Picks

Kenny Brechner - November 5, 2015

As the Holiday Season draws near there are a crush of responsibilities that clamor for attention at the bookstore. One of them is the production of the Holiday 20: our picks of the top 20 books to give as gifts this Holiday Season. The Holiday 20 serves as both the store’s principal display and handselling center and also provides the materials for two local newspaper Holiday Top Ten lists I make for their Gift Guides. With everything on my plate I am very fortunate that the Year 2015 herself has agreed to help provide the Holiday 20 picks.
Kenny: Thank you for… wait a moment… you’re not the Year 2015!
Librarian of Years: No Kenny, like you the Year 2015 has chosen to delegate some of her responsibilities, so she assigned this task to me. I am the Librarian of Years.
Kenny: I had no idea the Years had a library! How extensive is it?
Librarian of Years: The Library has two sections, the Current Year Reading Room, which is quite extensive by the end of the Year, and the Permanent collection. Only 100 books from each Year are selected for the Permanent collection. The rest of them are given to our woodland creatures to do with what they will. The library was founded in 483 BC. Until 1612 only 50 books were selected, and from then on 100. You can do the math.
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The Bookstore as the Affair

Josie Leavitt - November 3, 2015

We take many, many special orders a week. It’s a multi-step process that involves the customer asking for a particular book, us ordering the book and then calling the customer when the book arrives in the store. However, some customers have asked us to stop calling their homes when the the book comes in. The reason for this is as funny as it is a sad: they don’t want their spouse to know they’ve ordered a book. No, these aren’t books for a special occasion, these are just books they want to read. But clearly this speaks to a rift in the home about how many books are being purchased. It’s almost as if the bookstore has become the affair. Continue reading

Getting a Good Staff Photo

Josie Leavitt - November 2, 2015

My store only has six employees, including the two owners. Our schedules are vastly different, with some folks only working on the weekends and others only available specific days of the week. Honestly, we have been attempting an all-staff photo for more than a year and a half and haven’t been able to pull it off. Trying to coordinate for a staff meeting is challenging enough, but to have a day when someone can take our staff picture is even harder. We had been using an older staff photo that most of us just hated vehemently. Some staffers even asked that we destroy the old photo once we got a new one, that’s how bad it was!  Continue reading