Local Book and CD Gift Ideas
New Hampshire Magazine Editor Rick Broussard shares his picks for local music and book gifts
Books and records have been my go-to gifts for as long as I can remember, but in the age of the Kindle and Spotify, they have begun to seem a little retrograde. Still, when you’re looking for something by a local artist or writer that’s imbued with local character, isn’t it weird to have to download it from a cloud?
The books and CDS featured here were all picked by me based on suggestions from people I know and trust. Some are from artists with national renown, others (most of them, in fact) are treasures awaiting discovery. I’d be proud to wrap each one up and add a personal note to someone on my gift list. And, frankly, I wouldn’t mind receiving any of these objects of desire in my own Christmas stocking this year.
By Margaret Porter
Margaret Porter lives in the Concord area, but her heart dwells in the romance of bygone times and that’s where most of her award-winning novels take root. It was a major shift for her to examine the life of screen actress Hedy Lamarr in her latest work, but you too will be captivated once you experience the scandals and intrigues that swirl around Lamarr as she navigates marriage, motherhood and Hollywood glamour; and then, motivated by the atrocities of WWII, secretly invents a technology that changes the world. 14.99 from Amazon (but check your local bookstore first).
“The Way of the Dog: The Memoirs of Eros, the Metaphysical Dog”
By Eva A. MacDonnell
“The Way of the Dog: The Memoirs of Eros, the Metaphysical Dog” is a playful allegory about life, the universe, and everything from the perspective of an inquisitive and smart puppy.
Self-published (via iUniverse), author Eva A. MacDonnell of Goffstown has nonetheless garnered a virtual mantel full of five-star reviews and general acclaim. “You cannot be happy if you are not joyful about something,” she writes. Available from iUniverse.com for $14.99, paperback, and $26.99, hardcover.
Seacoast author Jeremy Robinson takes cultural effluvia and mines it for fantastic themes, mixing in action, humor and a hip dose of self-awareness. If the title of his latest book, “Space Force,” seems like a political reference, assume it is, but you don’t know where he will take you on this literary trip. Ask for it at your local bookshop or buy it online for $29.95, hardcover or for $12, paperback.
Learn more about Robinson’s novels or purchase them at bewareofmonsters.com.
“How To Be A Good Creature”
By Sy Montgomery
If you haven’t joined Hancock’s Sy Montgomery on one of her zoological magical mystery tours (about 20 books so far), this is a great place to get on board and find out how the creatures around us can make us into better, wiser and kinder people. Buy it locally (Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, Toadstool Bookshops in Peterborough, Keene and Milford, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner or your fave) for $20 or, if you must, buy it quick online from any reputable source.
“Songs From Home”
Andriana calls our White Mountains home, but she brings out the beauty of her Ukrainian heritage in this impeccably produced collection of 16 Ukrainian folk songs. Her expressive vocals embrace all listeners. Upbeat tunes feature fiddle, mandolin and Spanish guitar, while ballads draw you in with rich strings and vocal harmonies.
Visit andriana.org or CDbaby.com to listen or purchase. Portions of CD sales will be donated to hopeforukraine.net.
“Every Change of Seasons”
By Rocking Horse Music Club
The debut record from the New Hampshire “super group” features Patrik Gochez from the Hats, plus Justin Cohn, Brian Coombes, Eric Wagley and Myron Kibbee from Rocking Horse Studio. It includes the single “Everywhere is Home,” which enjoyed airplay on the BBC in the UK. The CD version includes a bonus track, the progressive rock suite called “Splitting Atoms.”
Available on Spotlight, Apple Music, iTunes and direct at rockinghorsemusicclub.com.
By Epic Season
Epic Season is a North Country (Gorham) band who played at last year’s Best of NH Party, but they are shooting for the stars with their new album, recorded in Nashville. The sound remains uniquely their own, while referencing artists as disparate as Arcade Fire, The Killers and Jars of Clay.
Download it on iTunes, Spotify or Apple Music for about $6.50, if you’re into that kind of thing, or go to one of their concerts and pick it up on the merch table.
“Gonna Sing Gonna Shout”
By Rick Lang
Rick Lang runs Highland Hardware in Brentwood, but his true love is what you can do with wood when it’s fashioned into guitars, fiddles and other musical instruments. He’s a prolific songwriter who has a Rolodex full of some of the most talented performers in the region. All that really shows on this latest album of his tunes, set in the soul-stirring language of Bluegrass Gospel. Visit ricklangmusic.com to purchase the CD or to download its first single, “Thinkin’ Outside the Box.”
“At Long Last”
By Liz and Dan Faiella
I heard this “NH-based sibling folk team” (their description) at an outdoor craft fair and was so beguiled by their music that I bought a copy of their CD just to remind me. Since then, it’s been the perfect music for the car, with a chill Irish vibe and a “going-places” groove. Traditional Celtic and New England music is the genre, but the heart and artistry on display transcend labels. Buy a hardcopy (or digital download) for $15 at lizanddanmusic.com.