Meetinghouse Readings 2020

Virtual Readings are here!

We will be posting short videos, graciously provided by our authors to tide us over until next season.

These videos will be housed at YouTube for all to watch. Watch them at your convenience, or get your family together to watch at 7:30 pm each Thursday night. To satisfy that need for a cookie break, we’ll also be sharing links to some of our favorites so you can recreate the complete experience at home. Don’t forget the lemonade!

July 9: Andrew Delbanco & Rebecca Makkai

Watch Andrew’s video

This week’s recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Espresso and Cinnamon

July 16: Cleopatra Mathis & Gish Jen

Cleopatra hopes to have a video for us next week — this week, we’ll be jumping ahead to Ivy Pochoda!

Watch Ivy’s video

This week’s recipe: Ginger Creams — from the collection of Jan Kulig.

July 23: Benjamin Garcia & Tom Barbash

Watch Cleopatra’s video

This week’s recipe: Chai Shortbread Cookies

July 30: Jeff Sharlet & Ivy Pochoda

A few words and links from Week 3 author, Benjamin Garcia:

In the video I mention the book is on preorder, which it is, but folks who order for this reading series will have them mailed out as if the book were already printed. No delay in shipment. So they would actually get it earlier than most. Also, promo code THROAT provides free shipping.

Book reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. These are a few:
And here is an interview:

Watch Benjamin’s video

Watch a second video from Benjamin!

This week’s recipe: Swedish Brownies

Meetinghouse Readings Announcement

We share Phil’s disappointment over cancelling this summer’s series, but are buoyed by the support from the readers and from our audience. Read Phil’s words below:

Dear Friends of the Meetinghouse Readings,

We waited as long as we could to try to find July light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, but the short term remains as dark, or even darker, than before. Since the Meetinghouse provides little opportunity for best social distancing practices; since the national infection numbers and deaths continue to increase at alarming rates; since we cannot test all members of our loyal audience — including visitors from other states — for the viral infection, and after consulting with local Covid-19 authorities, we feel it both necessary and prudent to cancel the 2020 summer Canaan Meetinghouse Readings.

I announce this with a heavy heart since I know how much the Readings mean to the audience, to the authors, and to the moderator, not least this summer when we could all use a large dose of community and culture, and when the list of authors and books is as good as any we’ve ever presented. The good news, however, is two-fold:

1. all the authors (see list below) will be invited back next summer (2021) and most have already indicated that they will be available;

2. the authors have been invited to submit a short video of a reading from their current books (or others), and several have already agreed. ( will distribute online access to any such videos, probably on the day that each author was scheduled to read in July).

3. Books will be available to purchase at the Norwich Bookstore (and can be signed by the authors next summer). They are also available to borrow at the Canaan Town Library and the Converse Free Library in Lyme.

Thank you so much for your patience, fortitude, and continued support in the face of this horrible pandemic. As always, you, the audience, are the foundation of Meetinghouse community.

Phil Pochoda

Canaan Meetinghouse Reading Series Summer 2020
Moderator: Phil Pochoda

July 9:
Andrew Delbanco The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War. A New York Times Notable Book Selection; Winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Delbanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2012. In 2001, he was named “America’s Best Social Critic” by Time Magazine.

Rebecca Makkai The Great Believers (fiction): Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (2018); Finalist for the National Book Award; New York Times 10 Best Books of 2018; Winner of ALA Stonewall Award; Winner of the Chicago Review of Books Award,  and many other Awards. Makkai has written two other novels and a book of short stories.

July 16:
Cleopatra Mathis After the Body: Poems New and Selected. Mathis directed the Creative Writing Department at Dartmouth for 27 years. Her new book consists of poems selected from her seven previous books of poetry as well as new poems, primarily about her Parkinson’s disease. The many prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts Awards; the Robert Frost Award, and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Gish Jen The Resisters (fiction). “A 1984 for our times.” (Washington Post.) Jen is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Mildred and Harold Strauss Living; she has also delivered the William E. Massey, Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University. The Resisters is Jen’s eighth book. “Gish Jen is the Great American Novelist we’re always hearing about.” (Junot Diaz)

July 23:
Benjamin Garcia Thrown in the Throat: Garcia’s first poetry collection; selected by Kazim Ali as part of the 2019 National Poetry Series. He was the 2017 Latinix Scholar at the Frost Place, and a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow.

Tom Barbash The Dakota Winters: A Novel. Barbash’s fourth novel “works like a act of necromancy, communicating directly with New York City’s outsized celebrities, fables, histories, and locations.” (Interview magazine). He is the author of the California Book Award-winning novel, The Last Good Chance, and the NYT bestselling nonfiction book, On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11.

July 30:
Jeff Sharlet This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers. Dartmouth Associate Professor of Literary Nonfiction chronicles the lives of people living on the social margins. Renowned for his writings on outliers in American religions, he exposed the role of a powerful secret Washington right wing religious/political organization in two books that were made into a five-part docudrama, The Family, last year.

Ivy Pochoda These Women: Ivy’s fourth novel. Her previous novel, Wonder Valley, was chosen as one of the best books of 2017 by NPR and the LA Times, and book of the month by Oprah and Vanity Fair. It won the Strand Magazine Critics Award for Best Novel and was a finalist for the Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine in France. Visitation Street, her second novel, received the Page America Prize in France and was an Amazon Best Book of 2013.