Readers Retreat

A deep dive into one incredible book

Readers Retreat is an event centered around MHC’s featured book. Every year, a committee of Maine readers and thinkers selects a book ballot, community members cast their vote, and the winning book is featured across our programming and explored together at Readers Retreat.

The Book

We’re thrilled to announce that An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon will be our featured book in 2023.




The Selection Committee

Dr. Lori Banks (she/her) 
is an Assistant Professor of Biology, and a member of the Africana program committee, at Bates College. She holds a B.S. in Biology (Chemistry minor) from Prairie View A&M University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology and Microbiology from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Banks’ scientific research has focused on drug discovery-related protein structure-function studies from a range of bacterial, viral, and cancer targets. Her current grant-funded research is focused on the development of novel antiviral compounds for the treatment of early childhood rotavirus infections. Other projects in her lab include understanding the mechanistic evolution of rotavirus NSP4 viroporin activity and utilizing laboratory techniques to address process improvements in the brewing industry. She also leads efforts within STEM education to increase the representation of historically excluded groups in the curriculum and the inclusion of STEM students with a range of identities. Aside from her faculty duties, she does scientific outreach work with Girl Scouts of Maine and Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc., around Northern New England. 

Ayesha Hall (she/her)  is currently serving as the District Social Emotional Learning and Equity Resource Coordinator for Lewiston Public Schools,Vice President of the Board of YWCA of Central Maine, and acts as a lead contributor to several local initiatives such as L/A Working Communities Challenge core Leader, L/A City Spirit Council’s Leadership Committee, and former chairwoman of the 2020 Mayoral Ad Hoc Committee on equity & diversity.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and achieved a Master of Science in School psychology while assisting and directing youth programs in the nonprofit sector of New York City. She’s spent the past 15 years offering mental health support to students and families through local schools and community agencies across a wide range of demographic settings throughout the North East in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Ayesha lives in Auburn Maine with her husband Coach Malik Hall, her son Malik Jr. and daughters Kayah and Asha. 


Spencer Traylor (he/him) is a co-founder and social studies teacher at the Next STEP Program of Lewiston High School and serves on the board of directors for Maine Youth Led Justice. He was born in Yorba Linda, CA but has been living in Maine since he moved to the town of Brownville in 2005.  Spencer graduated from Colby College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies and has been living and working in Lewiston ever since.  When he’s not nerding out about fantastical Black folks doing magic, he can be found relaxing with his cat Pumpkin.