What a year it’s been! Since last summer, we’ve hosted 7 book talks, 3 book-club discussions, and 1 pop-up bookshop—all free and open to the public. We’ve met hundreds of new neighbors. We’ve stayed up late eating pizza and drinking beer with our visiting writers, many of whom had never been on the Shore, and all of whom told me how impressed they were with our incredible community.
I have spent this anniversary month feeling grateful to YOU: everyone who has come out to an event, donated funds to support our free programming, and partnered with us in one way or another to bring world-class writers to the Shore.
This anniversary video, created by Caroline J. Phillips with additional photography by Cecile Storm, summarizes what has been an exhilarating first year and, I think, captures why it’s so important to have access to literary programming right here in our community. I hope you enjoy it, and that we’ll see you at a book talk this fall. Here’s to year two!
What I’m Reading:
Sunburn by Laura Lippman. Lippman has written more than twenty crime novels over the past twenty years, nearly all of them set in Baltimore. (Her latest, Prom Mom, is one of the biggest books of summer.) Sunburn is a 2018 throwback set here on the Eastern Shore. Over the course of a sweltering summer, Polly, running from a bad marriage, and Adam, hired to find her, carry out a steamy affair that has all the ingredients of a perfectly indulgent beach read: betrayal, secrets, murder, etc. In Lippman’s hands, what should be fluff is smart, sexy, and always precise about place and culture.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. It almost doesn’t matter what Tom Lake is about; along with most of the rest of America, I’d read anything Ann Patchett writes. But for formality’s sake: her new novel tells the story of a summer theater troupe in 1980s rural Michigan and a contemporary family locked in place during the pandemic, both of which are perfect platforms for what she arguably does best—exploring the complicated dynamics of unconventional families.
The Country of the Blind by Andrew Leland. Back in his twenties, Andrew Leland was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that he was told would leave him blind by middle age. Now in his forties, he’s re-learning to navigate the world without sight, negotiating his changing relationship with his wife and son, and preparing for inevitable blindness. Andrew was my boss at The Believer magazine a million years ago and remains one of the people I most respect in the industry. His native warmth and intelligence translate onto the page as humor and curiosity, as he describes his efforts to embrace this new way of being. Check out an excerpt in The New Yorker.
What Else I’m Looking Forward to on the Shore this Month:
Art: Fall Exhibitions Opening Reception @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
5:30 Thursday, August 3
AAM opens a trio of fall exhibitions this month: Amy Boone-McCreesh: Visual Currency, a mixed media commentary on luxury and access; Spatial Reckoning: Morandi, Picasso and Villon, which charts the ways the three artists use space and perspective as gateways to modern abstraction; and Laura Letinsky: No More Than It Should Be, still lifes by the Guggenheim-winning photographer. Letinsky, AAM’s 2023 Artist in Residence, will be on site to lead a gallery talk at 5:30.
Theater: Torch Song @ Dorchester Center for the Arts, Cambridge
In an essential response to the public dehumanization of “drag queens,” Groove Theatre Co. presents Harvey Fierstein’s Tony Award-winning play following a gay drag performer’s quest for the most human desires—love and family.
Film: With Peter Bradley @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
5:30 Thursday, August 17
A preview event for the 2023 Chesapeake Film Festival, this documentary examines the life of abstract artist Peter Bradley. Following the film, Director Alex Rappoport will Zoom in for a Q&A.
Support Shore Lit’s Programs:
One of our core values is building inclusive community. For that reason, Shore Lit events are always free. To keep them that way, we are grateful to newsletter subscribers like you who help fund our programs. If you have the means and you value our mission of bringing literary authors to the Eastern Shore, please consider a $25 gift to support our programs. If you have more or less to offer, we are grateful for your generosity; no gift is too big or too small. If you aren’t in a position to offer monetary support, you remain a crucial part of this community, and we thank all of you for your consideration.
Kerry Folan is the founder and director of Shore Lit