The Norwegian Library Book Discussion Series will start on July 28


The Norway Memorial Library has announced its series titled An Ocean of Possibilities for Book Discussion: Stories at Sea. The Book Discussion Series features novels on the themes of survival and the psychological struggles of the individual in the harsh environment of the sea.

All discussions take place from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. Participants can attend in person or via Zoom. Visit for each month’s zoom link to attend remotely, according to a press release from the library.

The following books will be covered:

July 28: “Sea Wife” by Amity Gaige

Juliette struggles to juggle motherhood and her stalled thesis on confessional poetry when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to quit his job and buy a sailboat. With their two children, Sybil, 7, and George, 2, Juliette and Michael leave for Panama, where their 44-foot sailboat awaits them.

The initial result is transformative; the wedding receives a burst of energy, Juliette comes out of her depression, and the children quickly embrace the joys of being wild children at sea. Despite the stress of being novice sailors, the family learns to crew the boat together on the ever-changing sea. The vast horizons and isolated islands offer respite to Juliette and Michael, until they are tested by the unexpected.

August 25: “What Strange Paradise” by Omar El Akkad

Other bodies washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overloaded, ill-equipped and dilapidated ship sank under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians. All are desperate to escape untenable lives in their home countries. But miraculously, someone survived the passage: Amir, 9, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna. Vänna is a teenager who, despite being originally from the island, experiences her sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to despise. And although Vänna and Amir are strangers, despite not speaking a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.

In alternate chapters, we learn about Amir’s life and how he got to the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way to safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children who find their way through a hostile world. But it’s also a story of empathy and indifference, hope and despair – and how each of these things can blind us to reality.

September 22: “The Lifeboat” by Charlotte Rogan

Grace Winter, 22, is both a bride and a widow on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant liner that carried her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffered a mysterious explosion. Putting aside his safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is overcapacity. For someone to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements and each other, Grace recalls the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the privileged new life she thought she had found. Will she pay a price to keep him?

October 27: “The Ghost of Mary Celeste” by Valérie Martin

1872: The American merchant ship Mary Celeste is discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo is intact and there are no signs of a struggle, but her crew is missing, untraceable.

As news of the derelict ghost ship spreads, the Mary Celeste captures the imagination of the entire world – from a spirit medium from Philadelphia named Violet Petra to an unknown young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle. In a time haunted and obsessed with death, the Mary Celeste is by turns a provocative mystery, an inspiration for creativity and the tragic story of a family doomed by the sea. Based on real events, spanning the seas and continents, life and death, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a haunting exploration of love, nature and fictions that pass for truth.

Those wishing to request copies of the books can do so through the library’s Minerva online catalog at, or by stopping by the library’s information desk at 258 Main St.

For more information send an e-mail [email protected] or call 207-743-5309, ext. 1.

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