Tag Archives: book groups

LICL Book Group

Exciting news! After several years of not having a book group at the Long Island Community Library, a new group is up and running! Started by “the two Lindas,” Linda Greene and Linda McCann, we meet the 2nd Monday of each month at 1 p.m. Our initial meeting last November brought together a group of enthusiastic islanders, full of ideas and suggestions about books to read and how to proceed. We started with The wind in my hair : my fight for freedom in modern Iran, by Masih Alinejad with Kambiz Foroohar (her husband). Following that we read Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships, by Nina Totenburg of NPR, about her friendships, including with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Following two books by journalists, we are turning to fiction, with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Our next choice for March is by a Maine author: The Midcoast, by Adam White.

This is a great way to get to know your fellow islanders on a deeper level, sharing our love for good books. All are welcome!

LICL Summer Book Group

Tonight we’re starting another summer book group at our island library, thanks to the generosity of Jean Murley, the daughter of Curt and Penny Murley, island residents. Jean is an Associate Professor of English at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. Last year she led a wonderful study of “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption” by Jennifer Thompson Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo.
Jean is back again to lead another book group – this time a novel: Mohsin Hamid’s “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”

We’re meeting the next three Tuesday evenings. I’m looking forward to it!



MHS Book Group: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Another great book group is being offered at the Maine Historical Society, in conjunction with the current MHS exhibit on

Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland

Tuesday, January 27 – Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MHS Book Group: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1880 (MMN #5417)

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1880 (MMN #5417)

Facilitator: Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of Education

Join us this January through May for our sixth annual MHS reading group–a great opportunity to engage in literary discussions about history and connect with members of the MHS community.

“Home Is Where the Heart Is” takes as its stepping off point the 2014-2015 MHS museum exhibition, Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland. Session readings explore themes of home, family, place, immigration, and community in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with a historical resonance. There are even a couple haunted houses in the mix!

Books must be acquired on your own and include Tracy Kidder’s House, Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, Terry Farish’s The Good Braider, and George Howe Colt’s The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home. A number of additional short readings (essays, poetry, and a short story) will be provided as handouts or are available online.

WHEN: Tuesdays 1/27, 2/24, 3/24, 4/28, 5/26 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: MHS Lecture Hall
COST: $20 MHS members / $30 non-members (includes handouts/resources, facilitation, and refreshments)
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 23. Registration is required; space is limited. To sign up, email lvpicard@mainehistory.org for a registration form and copy of the full reading list, drop by the MHS museum store to register on-site, or download the registration form and full reading list.

Books groups/clubs in Portland

Like to talk about books you’ve read with others? Portland has a plethora of book groups to join. I currently belong to two. One is winding up: the Maine Historical Society’s We are what we ate. We’ve read a wonderful variety of non-fiction books including a memoir by a New York City chef, a history of 1950s cooking, immigrant food history, and now a luscious history of chocolate through the eyes of the Hershey and Mars companies, as well as readings assigned to us from various books and magazines. We meet once a month, in the evening, and talk about food for an hour and a half – what can be better? The next subject to be read next winter may be Civil War related literature, so stay tuned for that one.

My other book group is at the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association – we meet once a month at lunchtime, so we can indulge in a lot of tea and goodies, as well as conversation about books, which are a combination of fiction and non-fiction, mostly popular with an occasional classic thrown in.

My friend Sue runs a book club through the Maine Irish Heritage Center: the Irish American Club, which meets every other month from about September to May (with summers off) – they read mostly fiction written by Irish or Irish American authors, with a wide range of literature, mysteries, young adult, and historical fiction. The Greater Portland Women’s Social Meetup Group has a book club that meets once a month at Panera’s in South Portland, reading mostly popular fiction and non-fiction.

An international book group out of Longfellow Books meets once a month, and food is served which is tied into the country of the book being discussed. Speaking of food, there is also a Dispatch Beer & Books Club, which meets at Novare Res Bier Cafe.

England beer

Most book selections are made by either the group or the leader, but I know of one book group where each member chooses a book to read on their own, and then when they get together they each talk about their own book. I think this is a wonderful way to share what you are reading, without the pressure of having to read a book by a deadline.

Any way you look at it, there are many opportunities to be a part of a book group in Portland, and besides enjoying the book itself, to be able to gather with like minded souls and often enjoy food and drink, whether it’s beer or tea.

We are What we Ate: A Maine Historical Society Reading and Discussion Program

Here’s a book group that I couldn’t resist – it combines two of my favorites: food and books!

We are What we Ate: A Maine Historical Society Reading and Discussion Program Facilitator: Larissa Vigue Picard, MHS Community Partnership Coordinator

Join us this January through May for our fourth annual MHS reading group. This year, we explore a topic that resonates across humanity, inspiring great passion and wide-ranging opinion–food! In non-fiction and fiction, we’ll examine how the food that has been envisioned, produced, sold, shared, cooked, and eaten in the past–whether by desire, tradition, deprivation, or other forces beyond one’s control–has influenced numerous aspects of life. In addition to a wide variety of short readings and excerpts which will be provided as handouts to participants, books include Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton; 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman; Something from the Oven by Laura Shapiro; and The Emperors of Chocolate, by Joel Glenn Brenner (Emperors is currently out of print but widely available used–and at your public library!). Discussion dates are January 22, February 26, March 26, April 23, May 28; time is 6:30PM. Registration is required by Friday, January 11. Participation is limited; the group has traditionally filled up quickly. Fee: $20 for MHS members; $25 for non-members. (Books will not be available through the MHS store; participants must supply these on their own.) For a complete reading list and a registration form, please visit http://www.mainehistory.org/programs_events.shtml#January.