Read ME

A statewide summer reading experience

2022 Recommending Author Christina Baker Kline. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

 

Every summer, Read ME gets Maine adults all reading two books recommended by a well-known Maine author. This coming summer, recommending author Christina Baker Kline has chosen Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran and Beneficence by Meredith Hall.

This year’s program will kick-off on Friday, June 3rd, with a special episode of Maine Calling

Visit the 2022 Read ME Toolkit | Attend an event 


Christina Baker Kline on this year’s recommended books:

“In Sigh, Gone, his darkly funny and ultimately transcendent coming-of-age story, Phuc Tran turns a steady eye on himself, his family, and society at large. About his immigrant parents, torn from Saigon (the origin of the multi-layered title) in the early 1970s, Tran writes: ‘Theirs was a life disrupted, a storyline unfinished, a song half sung.’ With extraordinary sensitivity, he examines the pain of assimilation, the corrosive effects of shame, the legacy of violence, and the power of art to transcend, critique, illuminate, and inspire. This memoir has a wealth of specific detail as well as universal themes that many will relate to about fitting in, finding a place in the world, and figuring out who you are. Above all, it is a love letter to reading. When Tran says, ‘The snarl of my journey was untangled and laid out clearly by books,’ I know exactly what he means. I think of my own childhood and adolescence in Bangor, where the public library provided, as it did for Tran, both a safe haven and a mecca of discovery. “

 

“From the first two lines of Beneficence, I was transfixed: ‘Every morning, early, when Tup and I get up to start our chores, the whole house still quiet and the children asleep, I turn and pull the bed together, tugging at the sheets to make them tight and smooth. They are warm with our heat.’ In deceptively simple prose, Hall tells the story of a farming family, the Senters, whose quiet lives are upended by tragedy and who must find a way forward, together or apart. As I wrote in a quote for the hardcover, this novel is a marvel. In its granular attention to detail and soaring larger themes, not to mention its setting and subject matter, it reminds me of two of my favorite contemporary novels, Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World and Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres. (Reviewers have compared Hall to Willa Cather and Marilynne Robinson, and I wouldn’t disagree.) Beneficence will stay with me; I will cherish it.”

 


 

Offered in partnership with Maine State Library, Read ME is structured to enable even the smallest, most rural libraries to participate. All that’s required is a commitment to making each of the featured titles available to their patrons.

Program goals

  • Connect Maine’s adult reading community through shared reading experiences
  • Support libraries in their work to provide quality adult summer reading initiatives
  • Elevate upcoming Maine Authors

 

Statewide Events

  • Summer Program Kick-off on Maine Calling 
    Friday | June 3, 2021 | 11:00 am – 12 noon | Listen on Maine Public
  • Statewide Author Talk with Phuc Tran
    Hosted by MSL and MHC
    Tuesday | July 12, 2022 | 7PM | Register now
  • Statewide Author Talk with Meredith Hall
    Hosted by MSL and MHC
    Thursday | August 25, 2022 | 7PM | Register now

 

Local Events 

  • Author Talk with Phuc Tran (Online and in-person)
    Rockland Public Library 
    Thursday | May 19, 2022 | 6:30 PM
  • Author Talk with Meredith Hall (Online and in-person)
    Rockland Public Library 
    Thursday | June 2, 2022 | 6:30 PM
  • Summer Kick-off on Maine Calling
    Friday | June 3, 2022 | 11am
  • Book Discussion on Sigh, Gone (Limited in-person)
    Curtis Memorial Library (registration required)
    Thursday | July 13, 2022 | 1:00 PM
  • Author Talk with Phuc Tran (In-person)
    Mechanics’ Hall (registration required)
    Wednesday| August 3, 2022 | 7:00 PM
  • Statewide Author Talk with Meredith Hall
    Hosted by MSL and MHC
    Thursday | August 25, 2022 | 7PM | Register now
  • Book Discussion on Beneficence (Limited in-person)
    Curtis Memorial Library (registration required)
    Tuesday| August 23, 2022 | 1:00 PM