Norway Memorial Library announces a series called “An Ocean of Possibilities for Book Discussion: Stories at Sea”. The book discussion series features novels with the themes of survival and the psychological struggles of the individual in the hostile environment of the sea.
All discussions are on the fourth Thursday of the month, 3:00-4:30 pm. Participants may attend in-person or via Zoom https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/84513705354
July 28: Sea Wife by Amity Gaige
Juliet is failing to juggle motherhood and her stalled-out dissertation on confessional poetry when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to leave his job and buy a sailboat. With their two kids—Sybil, age seven, and George, age two—Juliet and Michael set off for Panama, where their forty-four-foot sailboat awaits them.
The initial result is transformative; the marriage is given a gust of energy, Juliet emerges from her depression, and the children quickly embrace the joys of being feral children at sea. Despite the stresses of being novice sailors, the family learns to crew the boat together on the ever-changing sea. The vast horizons and isolated islands offer Juliet and Michael reprieve – until they are tested by the unforeseen.
August 25: What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, and Palestinians. All of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna. Vänna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.
In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir’s life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair—and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.
September 22: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.
As the castaways battle the elements and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?
October 27: The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
1872: the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste is discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo is intact and there is no sign of struggle, but her crew has disappeared, never to be found.
As news of the derelict ghost ship spreads, the Mary Celeste captures imaginations around the world—from a Philadelphia spiritualist medium named Violet Petra to an unknown young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, the Mary Celeste is by turn a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and the tragic story of a family doomed by the sea. Based on actual events, spanning seas and continents, life and death, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a spellbinding exploration of love, nature, and the fictions that pass as truth.
If you would like to request copies of the books you may do so through the library’s Minerva online catalog at https://norwaymemoriallibrary.org, or by stopping by the library’s information desk. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 743