The Last Chapter

A Novel Idea Booksellers on State Street in Bristol

from A Novel Idea Booksellers’ Sue Woodman,

“My fellow book lovers…   I’m sure you’ve all read a book that is so enjoyable that you never want it to come to an end but it does.   As with these great books coming to an end,  A Novel  Idea Booksellers will be closing its storefront on Friday, December 30th.

I’d like to thank all of the wonderful people who worked at the store over the years.  Megan, Richard, Mel, Molly, and Tara.  A special mention must be made to Liza who consistently gave our valued customers the best customer service and always with a smile. I could always rely on you and you have become an amazing bookseller! A particular expression of appreciation goes to Jane who was one of my first customers  and has become a dear friend. You were always there to listen to my “ideas du jour”, random thoughts, ramblings and to share a laugh with.  Thanks for all your help with our author events and of course your amazing gift-wrapping talents!  I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as I did.

And I must thank my faithful canine companions, Maxi and Charlie Dickens who were great company at the store on those long days but not really great workers.  And how could I ever thank enough the best feline  “greeter” any bookstore ever had.  TJ was such a customer favorite that she had her own “fan club” that came in just to see her!  To all her fan club members, TJ is doing great enjoying her retirement and her new hobby of birdwatching.

I’d also like to thank my parents for their loving support and for encouraging reading when I was a child. Those Nancy Drew mysteries were the best!  I’m proud to have you as my parents and I hope I’ve made you proud also.   When I first became an independent bookseller in 2005, one of my goals was to “make a difference” and change people’s lives through the “power” of books and reading. I have been so fortunate to have been involved in numerous author events, school reading programs, and worked with local non-profits  to raise funds for their worthwhile causes.   I have seen children born in our community who received their first board book from A Novel Idea and are now avid readers reading on their own.  I have also seen children who were once reluctant readers who finally find the right book and now can’t wait to get the next book in their favorite series.

So as I head off for my next adventure I wish all of you a new year filled with peace, love and happiness.  I would like to think that somehow I did make a difference.  I do know one thing for sure though.   The life that changed the most was mine.  YOU have all made a difference in my life and I will treasure these memories forever.”


The Arts Room is sad to see our local bookstore close, but grateful to Sue Woodman for sharing her love of books and reading with us through A Novel Idea over these past several years!  We have no doubt that the bookstore made a difference in our local community; personally, in the last week before Christmas, I discovered a marvelous new book for my children – The Man in the Moon by William Joyce – that I might never have known about had I not stopped into the shop for some last minute holiday shopping.  It’s a particular joy to notice a beautiful book on a shelf, pick it up and begin to read through it, and somewhere along the way fall in love with the story.  I offer my heartfelt thanks to Ms. Woodman and wish her well on her next adventure.

This week there are some REALLY great deals to clear out the store’s entire inventory. EVERYTHING in the store is 50% off this week!  Other items (tables, linens, decorations, office equipment, etc.) are also for sale.  Stop in early for the best selection!  The store will be open from 3pm ’til 6pm on Tuesday, December 27th through Friday, December 30th.

“My Voice Is Power!”

About twenty boys and girls stood in an rough semi-circle, facing their audience.  One by one in quick succession they called out, “My voice is power!” until the room was ringing with positive energy.  This was the ‘opening number’ of the first Young Actors’ Workshop showcase, when friends and family got a glimpse of what our children have been doing on Saturday mornings for the past two months.  In a new program sponsored by Bristol Parks & Recreation, these young theatre kids have been learning real-life acting techniques from respected working actor Elise Arsenault.  But even in this short workshop they’ve begun to learn much more.  Theatre skills build confidence, poise, and self-control; theatre work emphasizes collaboration, empathy, and creative self-expression; and young theatre groups like this provide a sense of belonging and excitement for kids who are willing and even (secretly) happy to wake up early on a Saturday morning and spend time with their peers in an aged and drafty auditorium that practically sings with memories.

After a few more warm-up exercises (they killed it with ‘Machine’) Saturday’s informal presentation moved on to performances of original skits, written and acted by smaller groups of the Young Actors.  “Five, four, three, two, one-and-SCENE!” shouted the kids, cueing each performance.  The skits were original, a little bit fresh, sarcastic, and possibly even twisted – in short, they were a look at life (and humor) from the perspective of our young tweens and teens, and clearly the kids were proud to present their original work.  Good theatre workshops like this one present an opportunity for kids to shine, to think, to stretch themselves and to appreciate their peers.  In this brief showcase of talent and hard work I felt an abundance of creativity, confidence, and an underlying respect for the young person’s voice – and the rest of the audience did too, judging by the hearty applause and wide smiles on every face.  My thanks to Elise Arsenault for sharing her passion and experience with our children, for holding them to high expectations, and for cultivating in them a respect for their own voices and for that of their peers.

And now, an exciting announcement: Bristol Parks & Recreation is proud to continue the Young Actors’ Workshop and offer new and exciting acting classes with Elise Arsenault this winter!  Details below; to register call Bristol Parks & Recreation at 253-1611.  For class-related questions, email Ms. Arsenault directly at

Musical Theatre Camp (during school vacation) $60 per student                             Monday, December 26th through Friday, December 30th, 10am ’til 1:30pm                       open to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders                                                                                Daily classes in movement, singing and acting, culminating in final presentation on Friday the 30th at 1pm for friends & family.  There will be a brief lunch break every day; students must bring their own lunches.

Young Actors’ Workshops – Winter (January 17th through March 30th, 2012)

Acting/Scene Study for students in grades 6-8                                                                  Saturdays 10:45am-12:30pm; limited to 16 students; $100 per student                      Acting Workout for students in grades 3-5                                                                       Saturdays 8:30am-10:15am; limited to 16 students; $100 per student                              Creative Dramatics for students in grades K-2                                                                 Tuesdays 4:30pm-5:30pm; limited to 12 students; $75 per student

The final class in each session will culminate in an informal showcase for friends & family.  The Arts Room thanks Bristol Parks & Recreation and Elise Arsenault for offering our local children this marvelous program!

update – (even more) Holiday Music Notes

The Mt. Hope High School Guitar Ensemble and Vocal Ensemble will perform a (free) holiday recital on Sunday, December 18th at 3pm in the Linden Place ballroom on Hope Street in Bristol.

Then on Tuesday, December 20th at 7pm, Mt. Hope High School presents its Winter Holiday Concert in the high school’s Performing Arts Center on Chestnut Street in Bristol.  The concert will feature more than 200 student musicians performing a varied repertoire, including holiday music.  Doors open at 6:30pm; admission is $5 for adults (students and senior citizens get in for free).

Read about more musical events this week in our previous post, ‘Yuletide Carols’.