Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Independent Book Stores Flourish in Vermont

In a state many highly educated readers have chosen in search of a more fulfilling life, these bookstores have turned into community centers for kindred spirits. Owned and run by lovers of the written word, protectors of an art in trouble, those who work there appear like members of an extended family. Should you be a reader, or a writer, or a child ready to start exploring the magic of the written word, you will feel at once at home. I live in a tiny village, yet there are two of these inspiring stores nearby. The bigger one, Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt. (a must see should you come visit this wonderful area), consists of three expansive levels of books, displayed with thought and enthusiasm, of toys and children’s book to inspire the young, and a generous coffee shop where you can meet, mingle and chat. 

The second one, Mystic Valley Books in Chester, Vt., is more of the same on a smaller scale, but worth the visit. Both feature calendars packed with readings by authors and other literary events.

These stores are reminiscent of a time when literature in the U.S. was flourishing. To my mind, having fought the struggle of marketing my own novel for close to a year, they are essential to the survival of literature as an art in our country. Like Public Radio, they deserve our support. We need them as much as they need us. Go browse, and choose them as their place to buy. With both the visit and the buy you demonstrate your support.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It took me time to grasp the leadership qualities of Hillary Clinton. I was used to more flamboyant female leaders. Women partisans I knew during WW2. Hemingway captured the type perfectly in Pilar (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”), women who openly confront men. Grandmotherly types like Golda Meir, who didn’t budge from threat and gained the respect of negotiators in male dominated societies. In fact my novel “Dosha, flight of the Russian Gypsies” depicts women of all types, from the needy to the radical to the wise leadership of an elder. I myself grew up liberated, not by choice, but by lack of the normal protections of childhood and young adulthood. So when I found myself surrounded by raging American feminists in the Sixties, I felt the movement was misguided, mainly because many believed in bashing men to elevate women, whereas I felt that a healthy society is one of shared power, equal but different, male and female complementing each other.

Since then I have met women who have risen to the top of leadership in corporations and government positions. I have witnessed many of them mistaking toughness and lack of compassion for leadership. Hillary is of a different ilk, a woman of compassion and a leader with vision. When her husband strayed, instead of breaking up her family, marking her daughter with relationship insecurities for life, and leaving herself remaining wealthy but alone like so many other divorcees for the rest of her days, Hillary opted to work it out. I have watched her carefully stand her ground, getting her points and messages across in male dominated societies. She has been bravely and tenaciously fighting for women’s rights across the world. I even came across notices of Hillary trying to stand by Europe’s most vulnerable and once again viciously persecuted minority, the ancient, once nomadic Roma/Gypsies population.

We have every reason to be proud of our Hillary, hard working, smart, a true woman and effective world leader in her role as US Secretary of State.