Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town
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Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Years ago, Chris Bohjalian and his wife traded their Brooklyn co-op for a century-old Victorian house in Lincoln, Vermont (population 975). Bohjalian, a bestselling novelist, began chronicling life in that gloriously quirky little village with a wide variety of magazine essays and his newspaper column, “Idyll Banter.” These pieces, written over the course of twelve years,...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 24th 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2003)
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Kate
"We are a place in which the ladies' auxiliary of the volunteer fire company still holds a bake sale with cream cheese brownies at the polling station each election day, and we vote there with number-two pencils on paper ballots twice the size of diner place mats. We have a preschool that teaches the kids to sing 'I Am a Pizza' in French and brings in a justice of the peace to marry the children's stuffed animals. And every year on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, our elementary school walks en m...more
Bridget
This is not an especially quick read - mostly due to the fact that it's a compilation of articles that Bohjalian has written in a Vermont newspaper over the years. So while there is some story line, it's not as though you can't put the book down because you need to know what will happen to the main character.

I would describe this book as quiet and gentle. It helped to provide insight into an author that I've read quite a bit of over the past year and a half. While he says his books are all fict...more
Anne
This collection of newspaper columns written by Chris Bohjalian is a wonderfully enjoyable read. Bohjalian's only direction from his editor was to "write something that would make Vermonters smile." I'm not from Vermont, but these short essays made me smile and sometimes get a tear. Treat yourself to a few of these one or two page tales before bed or work. The author's descriptions of life in New England and his quirky but loving neighbors will brighten your day or help you have sweeter dreams....more
Dianneb
This book is a series of columns that the author wrote for the Burlington Free Press and The Boston Globe. About his transplanted life from New York City to Lincoln, Vermont. I thoroughly enjoyed it & think anyone from a small town could relate to a lot of these columns. My favorite column is "Why the Green Mountains Turn Red"!
James
Enchanting glimpse into the magic of small-town life:)
Stewart
Chris Bohjalian and his wife moved from New York City to Lincoln, Vermont, population 975, in 1986, and he wrote a weekly column for the Burlington Free Press from 1992 to 2004. This book compiles some of these columns and longer feature pieces he wrote for the Boston Globe.
I have a special interest in small towns in New England because I lived in four small towns in Maine between 1965 and 1974. I visited Vermont several times -- driving through the spectacular White and Green Mountains -- bec...more
Donna LaValley
I read a review somewhere describing this as a charming and funny collection of this writer’s work as a local columnist. The author has written popular novels, including one chosen by Oprah for her book club. Since I really enjoyed similar collections from Carl Hiaasen, Bill Bryson, Mary Roach, and Garrison Keillor, I fell for the hype and made an impulse buy.

But I didn’t fall for it at all – for the “charm” that is. The dozen or more entries I read were very place-specific, and many paragraphs...more
Liz
Throughout reading this book all I kept thinking to myself is, "It must be so peaceful and beautiful to live there, but I would never survive the winter."
This collection of stories compiled from Chris Bohjalian's newspaper column was an interesting look into living in a small mountain town in Vermont and the bonds formed among the townsfolk. It was nice to read about an area that for the most part hasn't been tainted by the overabundance of modern technology. The people living in this town actu...more
Kaethe
Like Bohjalian, I live in a small town. His is smaller than mine. He's a much better writer than I am, too, which means these vignettes are charming and amusing and beautifully crafted and anyone who thinks they might enjoying reading about small towns should read them.

His novels are good, too.
Jaime
I really enjoyed this collection of articles/essays/whatever you want to call them. I’m a fan of "author’s notes", as I think they give an idea of the author’s true voice — what they’re really like. After reading this, I feel like Bohjalian is someone that you could sit down and chat with and completely relate to. Some of it may be that I grew up in a small town like Lincoln, so I can draw some familiar comfort from the stories. I think that reading this will make me read his future books with a...more
Dree
Meh. I suspect these essays/columns read much better in their newspaper, especially if you know the people discussed. Some of the columns are cute, some are sad, most are too sappy for me, and entirely too many push the "small towns are better!!" crap I don't believe in. It's easy to find this sort of community in a city--though not the horses, unless perhaps you have horse property.

I love Bohjalian's fiction. At least this was a fast read.
Heather
May 20, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people looking for happy.
Shelves: favorites
Dear Chris Bohjalian,
I have given this book to a lot of people. I don't know if they appreciate it like I do. .
Love, Heather
I love this book. It is a collection of his newspaper articles from his small town newspaper and from the Boston Globe. He is a people person. I just loved reading and being near this book. Probably the mood I was in. But it's just...warm. Warm hearted. Fairly happy.
David Sullivan
Vermont writing at its best; we live here and the stories ring so true and are so endearing. This man has a huge heart and shares his love for his town and its characters on his sleeve. What a joy to be brought into these intimate relationships.
Cynthia Briggs
I really enjoyed the slow easiness of this book. It is thought-provoking in that it made me think about and ask myself: what's really important in life? It's heartwarming, touching, poignant and real; made me want to buy a farm and settle into country living (almost).

It might not be the book for everyone, but I found it to be a very pleasant read.
SallyHP
I had read Bohjalian's Midwives and LOVED it...I never knew that he had a weekly column. Along the same lines as Dave Berry, his slice of life segments are enough to feel complete on their own, but pieced together tell the tale of life in a small New England town. I may purchase this book to remind me of NE when I'm "home" sick next year.
Laurie
Jul 24, 2008 Laurie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a heartwarming book about real people and real places
I loved this book. It helps that I like reading newspaper columns, and that my parents and sister own homes and land in Lincoln, VT - so I know that the stories are true to life. I even knew a few people in the book. But even if you have never been to Lincoln it is a view of life in a small town - a life we should all aspire to.
Ruth
Aug 26, 2007 Ruth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nadya and anyone else who has an affinity to Vermont
A lovely summer read. It is nice to be reminded that one does not have to move to the Midwest to find midwestern kindness and sensibility. I have enjoyed Bohjalian's fiction (Midwives) in the past and his non-fiction compares well. I am now very envious of Nadya. Small towns can be amazing places. Especially ones found in Vermont.
the Reeds
a collection of magazine essays and newspaper columns about a dislocated New Yorker who now lives in rural Vermont. These are the kind of articles that make you wish you could be there and experience what the author's experienced. I've only ever felt that way one other time; Cicely, Alaska from the Northern Exposure TV series.
Katie
Liked this so much more than the last two novels of his that I read. Reminds me of living in Northern New England, and the people I love and the land I treasure. It's a bunch of short articles, so the book stayed in the car and I read it as I waited around for people. Easy to put down, but just as easy to pick up.
Charles Johnstone
Chris used to write a weekly column in the Sunday Edition of the Burlington Free Press, the state's largest newspaper. It was a great read, and was the main reason why I read the paper each week. This book is a collection of stories of things that have happened to Chris. It's a great read!
Trissa
Feb 10, 2010 Trissa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Gilbert
Recommended to Trissa by: book club!
I just can't give this feel good book a chance. I've seen this premise before - spoiled self indulgent writer writes (in this case compiles) a memoir. I'm tired of memoirs, finding a good one was like finding a real artist in the Milli Vanilli era of music.


Cara Achteberg
Good writing and I do love this author' books, but the columns just didn't hold my interest. I think you had to live in the small town he was writing about. These were obviously for the local paper and they were lucky to have a writer of this caliber for a columnist.
Maggie
A quick read. These are articles (with the exceptions of one fiction short story at the end) Bohjalian wrote about his very small town in Vermont. Very well written, interesting, and frequently amusing. It was nice to learn a little about his private life.
Kim
This compilation of articles written weekly for the Burlington Free Press was a perfect vacation read. I cuaght myself smiling at some and tearing up at others and truly apprecitaed his observations and honesty. I plan to check out his column from now on!
Patty
A great collection of newspaper columns and short stories about life in small town Vermont. I could relate to a number of his observations about New England and how it has changed in the past 20 years or so. Very fun to read!
Chris
Excellent. Hope theres another in the series.
Alison Sullivan
I like these little snippets into VT life, makes me yearn to visit New England.
He has a lovely writing style, almost feels like fiction, the characters and situations are brimming with vitality. I liked it.
Mike
A funny, quirky, quick read. Ultimately this will be a forgettable little book, but I really enjoyed reading it. Bohjalian's stories about his tiny Vermont town clearly come from someone who loves where he lives.
Melissa
I really liked this book. It's essays written by the author that were published in newspapers, magazines, etc. And the whole "slice of life" style of writing and stories he told just made me happy !!
Judy
I'm not a fan of short stories, but thought I would give this book a try as I really enjoy Chris Bohjalian's books. Unfortunately, I read a few of the stories but didn't enjoy them.
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3509
Chris Bohjalian is the author of seventeen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, arriving July 8, 2014 from Doubleday.

His other books include such New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins, The Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before Your Know Kindness, and Midwives.

Chris's awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters...more
More about Chris Bohjalian...
Midwives The Double Bind The Sandcastle Girls Skeletons at the Feast The Light in the Ruins

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