Category Archives: Content

The Great American Read

Have you heard of The Great American Read?


THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.

The television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.

The series is the centerpiece of an ambitious multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign, designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.

How many of the books have you read?

Here are some of the videos developed by PBS featuring stars like Venus Williams, James Patterson, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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PBS Digital has also started posting animated essays by Lindsay Ellis on different types of literature and why we love them so much.

And there’s a massive online book group for any who want to read through the whole list.

Curious how to help vote for your favorite book? The details are here.

There are lots of resources available for teachers and parents who want to read with their families too!


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Author Feature: Erik Larson

Erik Larson writes Narrative Non-fiction, which is to say he writes non-fiction that sounds like fiction, not like a textbook. His books are meticulously researched and incredibly fascinating, telling all the details possible in a fluid, readable manner.

His research has taken him to far-flung locales, and down innumerable strange alleys. For his 2006 bestseller, Thunderstruck, Erik traveled to London, Munich, Rome, Nova Scotia, and Cape Cod, as he sought to chronicle the strange intersection in the careers of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless, and Hawley Harvey Crippen, England’s second most-famous murderer (after Jack the Ripper). To broaden his understanding of Marconi and his roots, Erik studied Italian; he achieved an elementary grasp of the language while developing an advanced appreciation for Italian red wines.

Here are some of his books that we have here at the library:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America


Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. Daniel Hudson Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Henry H. Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths.

Available in hard copy at our library, and online as an ebook and audiobook.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin


The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Available in hard copy at our library, and online as an ebook and audiobook.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania


On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small – hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more–all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

Available in hard copy at our library, and online as an ebook and audiobook.


Larson also has some more titles over at GMLC Overdrive. Not sure what the heck Overdrive is? Read more here.

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Page to Screen

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong.

ebook    and in hardcopy at our library

Movie was released in 1997. More info here.


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Bookish Podcasts 2

We recently published a post about bookish podcasts. But there are far more than just those four. Here are some other book-based podcasts for your listening pleasure.

candid conversations with authors

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Candid conversations with authors you love, like C.J. Box, Tana French, Anita Shreve, Clive Cussler, and Amor Towles.

a podcast about the books you’ve been meaning to read

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Two guys discuss a bunch of books that tend to either be well-regarded classics, like Animal Farm and The Handmaid’s Tale, or much talked about/controversial fiction, like Twilight and Outlander.


a bi-weekly podcast that answers your questions about life, love, and literature

This Dear Abby-style podcast answers readers’ questions from How do I get back into a new novel? and What is “real” reading? to How do I keep my books safe when traveling? and How do I diversify my reading choices?

a show about how we create them, and why we suspend our disbelief

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While not all of these are specifically about books, a lot of them are. Eric Molinsky does a wonderful job interviewing authors and talking with them about various themes from various alliases like The First Three Lives of Catherine Webb, explorations of lesser-known authors like The Mysterious James Tiptree Jr., and discussions of controversial topics like Fanfiction (Don’t Judge).


we talk about romance novels – and cause all sorts of trouble

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Fan of romance? Not sure what people find in this genre? Try this clever podcast by romance lovers, about romance. Highlights include: The Books that Made us Romance Readers, Alpha Women, Heroine Friendships, and Supernatural Romance, and Romance, Dating, and Very Real Expectations.


How to listen to Podcasts.

Previous podcast recommendations.

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RML Resources: Free Online Newspapers and Ancestry Records

Did you know that all Vermonters now have access to hundreds of newspapers and ancestry records online for free?

Getting signed up is a bit of a pain, but this post is here to explain how to get yourself started.

First you have to sign up for a account. Head over to this page and under Create a Account click the Create Account >> button.

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Librarians Recommend: Kate Morton’s Novels

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton


Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace—the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century—Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

This deliciously haunting- historical fiction was written by a native Aussie, and it’s a bestseller in the UK. It features lovely imagery, sort of gothic in tone, and if you like the idea of people living in decaying castles and solving mysteries this read is for you. Secrets, suspicions, and an ending that wraps everything up perfectly–this would be a great read for any mystery fan, or reader who enjoys family intrigue or gothic literature.

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Gateway to YA

Interested in branching out to YA? Not sure where to start? Here are a couple of recommendations from our collection.

Do you like Historic Fiction?
Try The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack


The story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, through WWII.




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