For those who love discovering new books and learning about new ideas, Cheshire’s ReRead Books & More has become a must-shop spot in town.
Located in the Watch Factory Shoppes since 2020, the book store is operated and funded by the Connecticut Community Empowerment Foundation, and the books in the store come as donations from the community. While a person can find the latest bestsellers at significant discounts, promoting reading isn’t the only thing driving the organization.
As Chair of the Fundraising Committee and a member of the ReRead Board of Directors, Kimberly Gentile puts it, “the mission of ReRead Books is to provide job training and skill development for young adults with special needs and to provide the Cheshire community and beyond with a used bookstore that serves as an outlet for the community.”
“The ‘and more’ refers to giving back to the community,” says Gentile.
To help accomplish that goal, along with raising awareness of its mission, ReRead is hosting its first-ever Author’s Festival this week, starting today, Sept. 15, through Saturday, Sept. 17. It will take place in the cozy confines of its 104 Elm Street location and under a tent outside.
The idea for an event that showcases authors came from ReRead’s director, Hope Reinhard, a former English teacher who wanted to emphasize ways that the bookstore could better serve the community.
Events kick off Thursday night with a team trivia contest from 7 to 9 p.m., with cash prizes for the winning squad. Friday’s activities will include live music starting at 6 p.m., with an acoustic duo and band to appear. Accompanying the music will be a wine tasting, sponsored by Mt. Carmel Wine & Spirits.
Saturday will be the main day for the festival, and almost two dozen Connecticut authors will be on hand for a full day’s worth of discussions, readings and signings.
“Along with something for the community, we wanted to provide an opportunity for local authors to connect with their public,” says Gentile.
Events start at 11:15 a.m., with broadcaster and Prospect resident Larry Rifkin. His recently-published memoir, “No Dead Air,” tells the story of his storied career as a programming director for Connecticut Public Television, including his involvement with introducing the singing purple dinosaur Barney to the world, as well as his work in radio.
Meteorologist Ashley Baylor of WTNH, New Haven’s ABC affiliate, will be on hand to discuss her New England-themed children’s book, “Storms and Snow, Skis and Sox,” published by Guilford-based Globe Pequot. The illustrated book introduces young readers to the wonders of northeastern weather.
Also scheduled to appear is author and historian Tony Renzoni, whose newest book, “Historic Connecticut Music Venues,” gets deep into Connecticut’s musical legacy. From the New Haven Arena to Willimantic’s Shaboo Inn, the book describes the buildings and captures the stars and near-stars who filled their stages. Renzoni has also published works about notable women of the region, such as softball star Joan Joyce and infamous bootlegger Nellie Green.
For local interest, there will be speakers such as Cheshire Nursery’s Sylvia Nichols, speaking on the topic of tulips; Ron Gagliardi, author of the “Images of America” that focuses on Cheshire; and Alan Bisbort, a blogger and historian who has written books on several subjects, will discuss the history of the beatniks.
Others scheduled to appear include young adult author and editor Loan Le, whose book “A Pho Love Story” has garnered critical acclaim, and romance novelist Kristan Higgins, a New York Times-bestselling author.
The festival wraps up Sunday with a book sale, featuring discounts on ReRead’s inventory.
All attendees will be encouraged to make a $10 donation to ReRead, which will go towards helping fund the store’s initiatives.