Category Archives: Author Talk

VT Book Shop: Bill McKibben, author of “The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon”

“I’m curious about what went so suddenly sour with American patriotism, American faith, and American prosperity.”

Like so many of us, McKibben grew up believing—knowing—that the United States was the greatest country on earth. As a teenager, he cheerfully led American Revolution tours in Lexington, Massachusetts. He sang “Kumbaya” at church. And with the remarkable rise of suburbia, he assumed that all Americans would share in the wealth.

But fifty years later, he finds himself in an increasingly doubtful nation strained by bleak racial and economic inequality, on a planet whose future is in peril.

And he is curious: What the hell happened?

In this revelatory cri de coeur, McKibben digs deep into our history (and his own well-meaning but not all-seeing past) and into the latest scholarship on race and inequality in America, on the rise of the religious right, and on our environmental crisis to explain how we got to this point. He finds that he is not without hope. And he wonders if any of that trinity of his youth—the flag, the cross, the station wagon—could, or should, be reclaimed in the fight for a fairer future.

 Recorded 6/20/22 at CVUUS.

Producer: VT Book Shop

At The Ilsley: The Legacy of Apollo 11

Middlebury resident and former Nasa senior science writer Louis Varricchio offers a 50-year look back at the historic and scientific legacy of the United States’ first mission to land astronauts on the Moon in July 1969. Varricchio was also a producer of science-related documentaries for Prairie Public Television and Public Radio International. Today, he is an adjunct science instructor at Community College of Vermont as well as the managing editor of the Vermont Eagle weekly newspaper. He is the author of the science-history book, titled Inconstant Moon: Discovery and Controversy on the Way to the Moon, which was first published in 2006 (and remains in print). Recorded 7/15/19 by MCTV.
Producer: Ilsley Public Library

Author Talk: Glacier National Park – Reflections from an Artist (and Angler) by Matt Dickerson

Through image, video, and story Matthew Dickerson shares some of his experiences as June 2017 artist-in-residence at the stunningly beautiful Glacier National Park in Montana.  He spent a month exploring the Park and learning from USGS and NPS biologists, rangers, and other park workers, as well as taking lots of photographs and videos.  The presentation focuses on river and lake ecology and the native fishes of the west slope, most notably bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout, and the impact and future threats from invasive species as well as climate change. Professor Dickerson has just published a book set in Glacier National Park, The Voices of Rivers. Recorded 4/24/19.

Producer: Ilsley Public Library

Author Talk: Judy Chaves “Secrets of Mount Philo”

The landscape history of Mt. Philo, Vermont’s first state park, is the landscape history of Vermont, in miniature. “Sheep fever,” the devastating deforestation of the mid-1800s, Vermont’s early tourism industry, the early conservation and park movements, reforestation… it’s all there on the mountain, if you know where to look. North Ferrisburgh resident (and long-time Mt. Philo hiker), Judy Chaves, has spent 8 years researching the mountain’s history and has recently written a guidebook to the park’s historic sites. Join her on a “virtual” tour of the mountain and discover, through then-and-now photos, old maps, and even a bit of poetry, what historic gems lie hidden — within plain sight — in the park. Filmed Oct. 19, 2018 at the Ilsley Public Library by Middlebury Community Television.

Producer: Ilsley Public Library

The Great Believers author Rebecca Makkai in conversation with Stephen Kiernan

Rebecca Makkai discusses her third novel, The Great Believers with author Stephen Kiernan, at Middlebury Marquis Theatre in an event co-sponsored by The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury Marquis Theatre, and the Pride Center of Vermont.

The Great Believers is a dazzling new tale of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss during and after the AIDS crisis in 1980’s Chicago. In the New York Times Book Review, to be published in paper on Sunday, June 30, Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, said The Great Believers is “an absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis. And who among us believes that, at any point in the near future, we’ll cease living in times of crisis, whatever form they may take?” And Becky Dayton, of The Vermont Book Shop, wrote, “it’s a vast fictional landscape of both time and location, but Makkai works magic with themes of art, illicit love, and family bonds to braid it all together into a rich, cohesive, and deeply affecting narrative.”

Rebecca Makkai, a graduate of Bread Loaf School of English, has taught at Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Northwestern University. She is the author of The Borrower, The Hundred-Year House, which won the Novel of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, and Music for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Harper’s, and Tin House, among others. She lives outside Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Stephen P. Kiernan is the critically acclaimed author of The Hummingbird, The Curiosity, and The Baker’s Secret. He has also written two nonfiction books, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism. When not in his home of Charlotte, Vermont, he travels the country speaking and consulting on how to expand use of hospice, palliative care and advance directives.

 Producer: MCTV