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Book Notes: Author Talks to Cover Witches, Van Gogh

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2019 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 1/24/2019 10:00:16 PM

While fewer authors stream through the Upper Valley in mid-winter than in high summer to read from their works, the writers who are scheduled to appear in public over the next few weeks will cover a wide range of topics.

Take Alex Mar’s visit next week to Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library, as part of the English Department’s Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Reading Series. On Thursday afternoon at 4:30, the New York City-born journalist and documentarian talks about Witches in America, her memoir about her five-year odyssey exploring modern paganism. The expedition led her to a gathering of more than 1,000 witches in the backwoods of Illinois and to her stint of training in a coven. While admission to the reading is free, you’ll want to arrive early because of limited seating at Sanborn. The Norwich Bookstore will sell copies of the book for Mar to sign.

■On Feb. 6 at the Norwich Congregational Church, southwest Vermont-based art historian Carol Berry, author of Vincent van Gogh: His Spiritual Vision in Life and Art, will share insights about the star-crossed painter during the Vermont Humanities Council’s monthly First Wednesday lecture in Norwich.

Van Gogh is undergoing yet another spurt of re-examination. The last two years brought the cinematic release of 2017’s Loving Vincent, a film that explores his final days through animated extrapolations of his paintings, and of 2018’s At Eternity’s Gate, the biopic that earned Willem Dafoe an Academy Award nomination. Admission to the lecture is free.

■And on Feb. 11 at the Norwich Inn, the Norwich Women’s Club will host Vermont-based fiction writer Robin MacArthur at its annual author luncheon. Admission to the gathering, which starts at 11 a.m., is $30 for club members and $35 for others. The Norwich Bookstore will sell copies of MacArthur’s novel Heart Spring Mountain, about a woman exploring changes in the physical and emotional landscape of her Vermont hometown after Tropical Storm Irene, and of Half Wild, her PEN/New England Award-winning collection of short stories. Monday is the deadline to reserve tickets to the lunch; for reservations and more information, email

Talk Amongst Yourselves

Nick Clemens hosts the Quechee Library’s monthly science-fiction discussion on Monday night at 6, with an examination of John Crowley’s Little Big. Copies of the book are available at the library.

■The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe are the subject, this coming Tuesday night, of the Vermont Humanities Council’s monthly book discussion group at Randolph’s Kimball Public Library. Strafford resident and poet Jim Schley will lead the gathering, which runs from 7 to 8:30. Admission is free.

■The Quechee Library’s Mystery Monday discussion group reconvenes on Feb. 4 at 4 p.m., to tackle tackles the work of Canadian author Howard Norman. The examination will include My Darling Detective and Norman’s trilogy of novels that begins with The Bird Artist.

■ The Newbury, Vt., Woman’s Club hosts a discussion of Maria Semple’s novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Tenney Memorial Library in Newbury village.

David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304.

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