We are pleased to announce that the Long Island Community Library’s 2016 fundraiser, Art & Soul, was a great success, thanks to all our generous library users and fans, who bought books, raffle tickets for baskets, artwork, and food. Special thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen, from schlepping books upstairs, to making baskets, to contributing art, to baking desserts. All was so appreciated! We made over $10,000, which will go so far in supporting the library. Thank you!
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.
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.
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.