Books for Veterans Program


Veterans Program

Book groups and related programs for Veterans.


Lizz Sinclair
Program Director
(207) 773-5051


Veterans Book Group

“Homer’s Odyssey offers a map for Soldiers coming home. A reading group provides the opportunity for Veterans to read the map.” -- Program participant

Books for Veterans Program

We are offering several book groups to all Maine Veterans / Former Service Members over the course of 2016. Groups may focus on one longer text, like the Odyssey, or instead read selected short stories, novels, memoirs, historical texts, essays, or poems related to the experience of military service.

Augusta: “War and the Human Experience”

A free reading and discussion group for all in the Veterans Block of the Kennebec County Correctional Facility. The group is led by Greg Fahy, Ph.D., University of Maine at Augusta, and Norman “Ziggy” Lawrence, U.S. Army.

Readings include selections from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, the short stories The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich and Cathedral by Raymond Carver, and the poem The End and the Beginning by Wislawa Szymborska.

Meets March 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12

Offered in partnership with  Kennebec County Correctional Facility


Brunswick: From Her Point of View: A Book Group for Women Veterans/Former Service Members

A free reading and discussion group in Brunswick led by Melinda Plastas, Ph.D., Bates College, and LaRhonda Harris, U.S. Air Force.

The readings will include Lynda Van Devanter’s memoir, Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam.

Women Veterans/Former Service Members of all eras are invited to attend. 

Meets the evenings of March 30; April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4, 11

Space is limited; Registration is required. To register, call Nancy Laffin (207) 780-3584.

Offered in partnership with VA Maine Healthcare


Portland: “From the Front Line to the Home Front”

A free reading and discussion group in Bangor led by Jeannine Uzzi, Ph.D., University of Southern Maine, and Kyle Elsea, U.S. Army.

Readings in Sophocles’ Antigone, Euripides’ Iphigenia, and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.

Combat Veterans of all eras are invited to attend.

Meets the evenings of April 6, 13, 27; May 4, 11, 18, 25

Space is limited; Registration is required. Contact Rita Siavelis (207) 780-3584.

Offered in partnership with the Portland Vet Center

If you would like more information about any of our Veterans groups, please contact Leah Kuehn or call (207) 773-5051.


  • “I heard about this group and I thought, ‘Coming Home, what a concept.’ I’m older, I’m tired, and I’m ready to get on with the rest of my life… [The Odyssey] was telling a story to us from 3,000 years ago and yet we were telling the same story to each other… It felt good to be part of something the society we live in doesn’t really offer, especially to veterans. We tend to be apart from what goes on.”


  • “I don’t get out much. In fact, I rarely leave my home. This has been good for me–to meet other Vets and think about some things I haven’t wanted to think much about, maybe it’s time to now…I like that it is a book group. I can think about these things that the readings bring up but can talk about the book, not my personal story.”


  • "Being a Veteran is much like being in a fraternity, these discussions work best as 'members only.' It seems easier to talk when you know people around you 'get it.'"


  • "It was good to be able to share my experiences with other fellow Veterans and not be judged or criticized for how I feel or think."


  • "It allowed Veterans who normally spend a lot of time alone to actually come to the group and talk about their experiences when they normally wouldn't in a forum."


  • "It's a good place to connect, through reading and discussion, with other veterans and their experiences. Helping us to process and deal with our own."


  • "Remember, it is HARD to acclimate back into the civilian world when you have lived a military life 24/7 for a number of years. So much of America's contemporary culture is meaningless to a veteran...we were trained to lose our self and replace it with our unit; our mentality is different now and we cannot go back easily (some never do)."


  • "[The] readings are from all perspectives and as a person you might be surprised that some issues that are present today aren't all that different from past conflicts. This point of view helps widen the spectrum of understanding and helps break the tunnel vision of isolation."


  • "For forty years I have been looking for words to describe my experience and I finally found them right here in this ancient book (The Odyssey)."


  • "If there had been a project like this both before we deployed and certainly after returning home, I would not have had the problems I had."


Veterans programming in Maine is offered in partnership with:

 Portland Vet Center logo University of Maine at Augusta logo  VA Togus logo

Funded by:

The Welch Charitable Fund at the Maine Community FoundationMaine Community Foundation logo

Funded by:

NEH 50th anniversary logo

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.