Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library

The World at Your Fingertips
Posted:  Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 8:30am

I’ve joined a new book club at the Library and it’s fantastic.

The first meeting of the Refreshing the Whodunit: Moving Beyond Christie and Doyle book talk series, sponsored and facilitated by the Maine Humanities Council, happened on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.

A dozen patrons gathered around the tables , tea, and snacks in the Great Room to discuss “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie King. I was there to help set up and clean up, and to see what this book series was all about. I’d only read the first 60 pages of the book, and I’d skipped the author’s note and prologue because I never read those, but I didn’t tell anyone that. I don’t think actually reading the entire book is required to attend a book club meeting.

Facilitator Larissa Vigue Picard, who comes to the Maine Humanities Council by way of the Pejepscot Historical Society, started us off by explaining that humanities councils exist in every state to bring the humanities to people in different ways.

This book talk series, she said, is based around modern and contemporary authors, with plots set in different cultures, in order to both help readers learn about new places and kinds of people, and set the stage for discussions that veer into topics of globalism, race, gender, religion, and more.

As any good book club does, we opened with quick introductions and a discussion about what makes for a good mystery (consensus: one you can’t figure out right away, but also don’t walk away from feeling cheated by, like the ending came out of nowhere).

I confessed immediately that I haven’t read a mystery since I devoured the entire Nancy Drew catalogue between the fourth and fifth grades. This kind-hearted group still welcomed me and promised to revive my inner sleuth.

Discussions of what makes a good mystery led into a dissection of the strengths and flaws of “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” (consensus: it’s bolstered by a great setting and sense of place and hampered by a slow plot, but ultimately redeemed by the fact that everyone loves Sherlock Holmes).

From there, we really dove into the focus of the club, and talked about the ways in which gender themes were explored in the book. Against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, this made for a really invigorating discussion.

What happens in book club stays in book club, so you’ll have to come yourself next month if you want to hear more.

The second meeting happens on Saturday, March 10, at 10:30 a.m. We’ll read (I promise to read at least half this time) Tony Hillerman’s “Dance Hall of the Dead,” which features both Navajo and Zuni cultures.

Also, we here at the Library solemnly vow to never again serve instant coffee.

Upcoming events

Refreshing the Whodunit: “Dance Hall of the Dead” by Tony Hillerman. Join this facilitated book discussion to explore the mystery genre with fellow readers. Saturday, March 10, 10:30 a.m.

February Artist of the Month: Sandy Harper oils on display in the upstairs Community Room.

Minecraft Play Club: Wednesdays, 2-3 p.m. Minecraft Club will not meet during school vacation week.

Friday Story Hour: Hear a story, make a craft, and sing a song with Miss Pam and Miss Harolyn. 10:15 a.m., ages birth to 5.