“Downeast Maine, where I live, is for me the most beautiful place on earth, even in February, even on a dark day in a sharp wind.” -from Seaweed Chronicles by Susan Hand Shetterly
Every day at Portland Public Library, you can find readers of all ages curled up with books, lost in words and in other lands.
Many of us on the library staff wholeheartedly, unblinkingly believe every earnest thing said about books and stories: they can transport you to other worlds, help you figure out the world around you, expand your horizons, lighten your heart. They really can. Delving into books with our community is probably the best work there is, and we at the Reader’s Advisory desk are always curious about new ways to share the books around us.
The Book of the Week project kicked off last October just before U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith visited Maine: we posted a picture of her new anthology American Journal: Fifty Poems For Our Time. Then 52 weeks flew by (!) with a new book in the spotlight every Monday. It’s October again: the leaves are turning. Writer and musician Joy Harjo of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the new Poet Laureate of the U.S. And we’ll soon have new books to share. But first, here’s a brief look at the last year in reading…
“We would often wake before there was light in the sky and make coffee and let our minds rattle our tongues…It was a forty-year conversation.”-from Our World, with photographs by Molly Malone Cook and text by Mary Oliver
Book-of-the-Week Perks: Joyous Readers and Authors
One of the really sort of lovely and unexpected things that’s come from Book of Week is feedback—from readers who had enjoyed a book we shared, and from authors who were happy their books were being read in Maine (sometimes sharing hearts, sometimes shocked, Munch-scream emojis). British writer Robert Macfarlane, whose book Underland we did call “grimly beautiful,” responded, “Grimly beautiful. I’ll gladly take that. Thanks so much for this post, folks. I love Portland!”
“They were stunned by the sand dunes, the vast life of them…the lighthouse rose before them…Cheese sandwiches and salami for dinner around the campfire. The thrill of lighting the wood, keeping it burning. Laughter spiked their conversation, and when it lulled, the silence had a glow to it, crackled by flames. They were happy. They were not used to being happy. The strange feeling kept them up too late together, giddy with victory and amazement.” -from Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
How Can Readers Explore More Books at PPL?
“Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who / loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no / place else to go. / Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short. / Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way / through the dark.” -from Conflict Resolutions for Holy Beings, by Joy Harjo
Congrats, reader, you made it to October 2019! Can you spot any spots in the library where pictures were taken? Have you read any of the books of the week? Do you have a favorite quotation to share?
We’d be glad to hear from you. Be in touch anytime with bookish questions and requests at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 871-1700 ext. 705.
Thank you for reading.
Find Books of the Week Here: