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October 26, 2007

Book ‘Em
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:08 PM * 27 comments

Where Doyle and I will be tomorrow: Lebanon, New Hampshire, for the second annual “Book ‘Em” event held in the Northeast. This is a literacy program sponsored by (originally) the Waynesboro, Virginia, police department, and taken up by the Lebanon, New Hampshire, police department. Their webpage neglects to tell you the hours: It’s 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

What this is all about: the police in Waynesboro, Virginia, noticed that there’s a high correlation between illiteracy and crime, so they decided to fund literacy programs. To raise the money, they set up a book fair, relying in the generosity of local authors. That’s been going on for some years now. And it’s spread to our area.

We went to the first one last year. It was a mixture of small convention and book fair, with the usual bumps that you’d expect in a first-time effort. James Patrick Kelly, Doyle, and I had a panel on Writing Science Fiction, with an entire two people in the audience. (This was partly due, I think, to the lack of a printed or posted panel schedule). I’m pretty sure there were other panels, but darned if I know what they were.

There wasn’t assigned seating, but the book fair portion split out naturally. The publishers grabbed the tables along one wall, the regularly-published authors migrated to another wall, and the self-published authors took the third wall in the high school gym.

The school gym, in addition to having authors and books and a local radio station broadcasting live from the scene, had a bunch of firefighters, EMTs, and cops, many of whom I knew from other venues. Lebanon is the site of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the parent hospital for our little local hospital. It’s where we take the folks we can’t fix up locally.

Doyle and I took a couple of boxes of freebie Authors Copies with us. The way the deal went: people who want books come up to your table, get one, get it autographed (if they want), then go buy it from the nice lady with a cash register over near the door.

Last year it rained like a dog, all day, but there was a decent turnout. This year, rain forecast again.

Long-time Making Light readers will recall when Lebanon, NH, showed up before: it was in Diners in New England. One of my favorite truck stops is pretty-much across the street from the high school. (The Fort@18, 151 Heater Rd.) The high school is on Evans Road. Come out of Evans Road, hang a left on Rt 120, then an immediate right on Heater Road. The Fort is on the right, behind a gas station. I’m definitely getting breakfast there, and perhaps supper as well. (The nice organizers provide lunch sandwiches for the author/guests.)

When you come to Lebanon, if you’re making a day of it, you might consider making a detour over to Warren, New Hampshire. Other towns have Civil War cannons on their courthouse lawns. Warren has a Jupiter C rocket.

Closer in (a ten minute drive from Lebanon), there’s a camera obscura in the Montshire Museum of Science (so called because it’s on the border of Vermont and New Hampshire), The Montshire Museum is a perennial field-trip favorite for Colebrook schoolkids.

Nearby (in White River Junction, Vermont, a no-kidding five-minute drive up I-89 from Lebanon) is the Main Street Museum. Where else can you see a mink-in-a-bottle and Elvis Presley’s gallstones?

This is also the last weekend for the Rails Vermont fall foliage trips leaving from White River Junction.

White River Junction is otherwise famous as the place where Lillian Gish got frostbite while filming Way Down East for D. W. Griffith. But I digress.

If you wanted autographs for your Doyle and Macdonald books (I know y’all have bought the Whole Set), this is your opportunity. Come to the Book ‘Em event.

Comments on Book 'Em:
#1 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:05 PM:

The publishers grabbed the tables along one wall, the regularly-published authors migrated to another wall, and the self-published authors took the third wall in the high school gym.

And the playwrights took the Fourth Wall.


#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:06 PM:

Seriously, it sounds like a very cool and worthwhile event. I wish I could go. Actually I wish I could be on the same wall with you and Doyle, but that's neither here nor there.

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Why does Warren have a Jupiter-C on their courthouse lawn?
(I'm thinking of the Saturn-5 engine in Canoga Park - a first stage engine. You can even see it, a bit, in Google: 6633 Canoga Ave, back from the street in front of the building.)

#4 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:23 PM:

I-65 southbound in Alabama has a full Saturn 1b at a rest srea. I doubt it's a coincidnece that this is the closest rest area to the Huntsville exit.

#5 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Why does Warren have a Jupiter-C?


There was a fellow from Warren who made a career of the US Military. His last assignment was at the Redstone missile base in Huntsville, Alabama. When he got out, the Air Force was decommissioning its Jupiter-C stock. He asked if he could have one. The answer was, if you can take it with you, sure. He brought a truck.

Also, Alan Shepard (a New Hampshireman!) rode a Jupiter-C into space.

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:30 PM:

Jim 5: Also, Alan Shepard (a New Hampshireman!) rode a Jupiter-C into space.

I thought they were called New Hamsters.

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 05:32 PM:

I thought I remembered that Shepard was from that neck of the woods.

#8 ::: Eric Kidd ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:04 PM:

I've had my share of late-night dinners at the Fort. They added a lot of excellent menu items when they were owned by Lou's.

But if you ever feel a craving for some excellent bacon, you should definitely drop by The Farmer's Diner over in Queechee. Their breakfast meats are uniformly amazing, and the chocolate milk is the best I've ever had. (And if bacon isn't your thing, go for their maple sausage.) Much of the menu comes from local Vermont farms.

They claim that they're 9 minutes west of the I-89/I-91 intersection, which sounds about right.

And thanks for the head's-up about "Book 'Em." It's sounds like an excellent event.

#9 ::: Mister Oregon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:08 PM:

I remember the only time I visited Warren (I was 16 I think) and I saw "the rocket" in front of the courthouse. My first thought was basically "Atlanta may be ready for the yankees to come back, but this place is ready for the flying saucers!"

Which, truth be told, probably should have been a short story a long time ago.

#10 ::: Eric Kidd ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:16 PM:

[Oops. Looks like I made the same recommendation in last October's Diners in New England thread. My apologies for the duplication, and please feel free to delete #8.]

#11 ::: deCadmus ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Be sure to note the hours of The Farmer's Diner in Quechee... they close at 3pm, daily.

(This I learned a couple weeks ago after hiking down the gorge and back, and arriving at the diner's door at 3:30 p.m.)

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 07:22 PM:

Photos of Roadside Rockets, including the Warren, New Hampshire example.

#13 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Hrm....I'm debating going...I'd certainly like to go--it's only two hours away. Hrm.

#14 ::: p mac ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 07:49 PM:

Oh yeah, the Warren missile is a funny thing. Right there in the middle of town, this small ICBM waiting for the button. I always figured it was in honor of Mildrim Thomson's boast that he'd like to fortify the Maine border with Minuteman missiles. Or something. Anyway, it's worth the trip. And it's only a few miles further to Mt Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, which is likely still open for meals on the weekends, and has a whole bunch of great day hikes from its front yard.

#15 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Huh. WE have a double-barreled cannon in front of our City Hall. (The linked page could use a good editor, but it's still worth reading.)

#16 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2007, 10:11 PM:

Xopher@1: "I was just standing here saying shame, shame, ... shame ...."

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 05:21 AM:

It's 49 and a light rain rain falling in Lebanon.

Heigh ho and away we go....

#18 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Woomera in the South Australian desert, the centre of the British space effort and continuing test flights for various parties, has a public playground made up entirely of old rockets; a seriously fucked up sight when you wake up looking at it on a bus at 0400.

Further out in the wilds, some of the roadhouses have bits of spacejunk outside that got launched from there and went astray.

#19 ::: Ryan Freebern ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 01:25 PM:

This is the second year in a row that I've been out of town for the Book 'Em weekend. Bother! My wife (a school librarian) and I live ten minutes south of Lebanon, in Plainfield, NH.

Maybe we can catch you next year!

#20 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 10:09 PM:

We're back, having spent a pleasant afternoon tootling around Vermont and New Hampshire, ending up at Hart's Turkey Farm for dinner (a place where essentially everything on the menu is turkey (except for the things that aren't), where they make their own ice cream, and where the Rum Raisin trifle will not be sold to patrons under 21 years of age.

Oh -- a note on the Main Street Museum: Doyle says that it most closely resembles a live-action, full scale, 3D, Edward Gorey illustration.

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2007, 10:42 PM:

Oh, yeah -- if you're an author or a publisher and you want to participate in next year's Book 'Em in New Hampshire, write to Cliff Desrosiers (cliffd5632 @ Tell him I sent you.

#22 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 07:28 AM:

Missed this post yesterday -- if you are still in Lebanon you ought to swing by Poverty Lane Orchards and buy a few bottles of their hard cider -- it is the bee's knees.

#23 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 07:30 AM:

Oh -- reading your last comment, I guess you are not in Lebanon any longer. Oh well, next time.

#24 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Sorry I wasn't able to make it up there after all. My boyfriend had to pull a working weekend and needed the car. :( I hope there was a decent turnout otherwise.

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 11:36 AM:

The turnout was small but steady, despite a cold, hard rain all day.

Seriously, though, local (and this means all-through-New-England) authors should consider doing this. Good cause and all. Anyone know if NESFA Press would like to do a table?

#26 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2007, 11:37 AM:

#23 I wind up in Lebanon often enough....

#27 ::: Mark Kearney ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 02:36 PM:

Well, I was surfing and found this site. I'm Mark Kearney, the guy behind the original Book 'Em event as well as quite a few literacy programs.

I'm slowly working on spreading the Book 'Em event globally. Charleston, South Carolina has come on board and they will host their first BE on Saturday, May 24, 2008.

I attended the Lebanon BE in 2006. Traveling from the birthplace of Book 'Em in Waynesboro, VA made for a long trip last year. Of course, the guy behind the Lebanon Book 'Em, Cliff, came to my local event in 2005 to see what it was all about.

Hope to hear back from some of you.


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