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Book Launch/Curiosity Forum: Second Chance Dog with Jon Katz (11/12/13)

Tuesday, November 12th 7:00 pm Battenkill Books FREE From “New York Times” bestselling author Jon Katz comes a wise, uplifting, and poignant memoir of finding love against all odds, and

Mud Season with author Ellen Stimson (10/18/13)

  Friday, October 18 7 pm Battenkill Books FREE   Join us as author Ellen Stimson reads from her hilarious new book, Mud Season: How One Woman’s Dream of Moving to

Curiosity Forum/Book Talk: Lily with author Marcia Reiss (4/13/14)

Sunday, April 13, 2014
4:00 pm
Freight Depot Theater, Hubbard Hall
FREE (Donations in support of the series gratefully accepted.)

Lily by Marcia Reiss

The lily is a flower of contradictions. It represents both life and death, appearing at weddings and funerals. In their pure white form, lilies are a symbol of innocence, chastity, and purity of heart, but in contrast, the highly fragrant and intensely colored orange lilies symbolize passion.

In Lily, Marcia Reiss explores these paradoxes, tracing the flower’s cultural significance in art, literature, religion, and popular entertainment throughout history. Reiss journeys from the tomb carvings of ancient Egypt to the paintings of Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Salvador Dali, exploring the lily as a subject of fascination and obsession. Unearthing many absorbing facts and fables about the blossom, she examines its use in cuisine and reveals them to have been a source of food and medicine in China for centuries. While Reiss focuses her attention on true lilies and the ornamental hybrids breeders have derived from them, she also provides extensive information about a wide variety of popular lilies, including daylilies, lilies of the valley, water lilies, and calla lilies. Filled with striking illustrations of these gorgeous plants, “Lily” is a book for gardeners and lily admirers alike.

“…there are fascinating accounts of the plant in Native American myth, culture and cookery and of the annual Giglio festival, imported from Italy to New York, in which enormously tall towers decorated with lilies are paraded through the streets. Reiss is also good on the various uses of the word ‘lily’, most notoriously in the racist Lily-White Movement, which held sway in the Republican Party from the end of the American Civil War until 1933.

In addition, the illustrations in this volume are particularly fine: an Easter card depicting a fluffy chick harnessed to a tiny wagon bearing a spray of lilies of the valley; an early-17th-century drawing of a Turkish porter guarding a seraglio, flanked by towering red Turk’s cap lilies; Bette Davies in a  spectacular dress decorated with huge calla lilies; and a positively indecent sculpture of Saint-Pierre’s Paul and Virginie afloat in a pool of water lilies.” — The Spectator

Lily and Pine are beautifully produced, with an old-fashioned and wonderfully solid feel to them; they are well illustrated with material from a very wide range of sources, and bound at a higher quality than the general run of hardback books, especially given the modest price. I can see them becoming collectors’ items.” – Gardens Illustrated

Curiosity Forum events are a partnership of Battenkill Books, Hubbard Hall, and Leslie Parke Studio. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

Curiosity Forum: The Real Magic of Mushrooms with Sue Van Hook (2/16/14)

Sunday, February 16

Freight Depot Theater, Hubbard Hall
FREE (Donations in support of the series gratefully accepted.)



Sue Van Hook, Chief Mycologist at Ecovative will speak about the power of the fungi in healing the planet.  She’ll share the work of Ecovative, a 6 year old start up company in Green Island, NY that grows mushroom materials as biodegradable replacements for plastic foams.  The company has licensed its protective packaging line to Sealed Air Corporation and is moving forward with 100 natural composites for the building, automotive and flotation industries.


Sue Van Hook is a mycologist, naturalist, teacher and healer.  She has been studying the taxonomy and ecology of fungi for the past 38 years, having begun her coursework in the Pacific Northwest where the mushroom season lasts 9 months of the year.  She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in botany and mycology at Humboldt State University under the tutelage of Dr. David L. Largent, an authority on pink-spored mushrooms and author of the How to Identify Mushrooms series of books.


Sue worked for 10 years in land conservation for The Nature Conservancy managing a Northern California coastal dunes preserve where she also conducted her graduate fieldwork.  She moved to Belgrade, Maine in the mid-eighties and worked as Director of Land Conservation and Stewardship for Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  For 18 years she taught biology and environmental science labs at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and currently works as the Chief Mycologist for a new green tech company, Ecovative Design in Troy, NY.   She joins us to speak about the importance of maintaining connections with nature for new bioadaptive technologies.


Curiosity Forum events are a partnership of Battenkill Books, Hubbard Hall, and Leslie Parke Studio. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.

Book Talk/Curiosity Forum: Julia Spencer-Fleming with new book Through the Evil Days (11/21/13

Thursday, November 21through the evil days
7:00 pm
Battenkill Books

Please join us as Julia Spencer-Fleming returns to Cambridge to discuss her long-awaited next book, Through the Evil Days – a Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery — the mystery series set in Washington County!

On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs. Currently he’s struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban’s Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare’s “unpriestly” pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties.

Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away. As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they’ve never encountered. In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents readers have come to love and cherish change forever.

julia spencer flemingJULIA SPENCER-FLEMING is the “New York Times” bestselling author of “One Was A Soldier,” and an Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, Barry, Macavity, and Gumshoe Award winner. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College and received her JD at the University of Maine School of Law. Her books have been shortlisted for the Edgar, Nero Wolfe, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Julia lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse in southern Maine with her husband and three children.