Norway Memorial Library has announced its series called An Ocean of Possibilities for Book Discussion: Stories at Sea. The book discussion series features novels with the themes of survival and the psychological struggles of the individual in the hostile environment of the sea.

All discussions are from 3 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 news release from the library.

Th following books will be discussed:

July 28: “Sea Wife” by Amity Gaige

Juliet is failing to juggle motherhood and her stalled-out dissertation on confessional poetry when her husband, Michael, informs her that he wants to leave his job and buy a sailboat. With their two kids — Sybil, age 7, and George, age 2 — Juliet and Michael set off for Panama, where their 44-foot sailboat awaits them.

The initial result is transformative; the marriage is given a gust of energy, Juliet emerges from her depression, and the children quickly embrace the joys of being feral children at sea. Despite the stresses of being novice sailors, the family learns to crew the boat together on the ever-changing sea. The vast horizons and isolated islands offer Juliet and Michael reprieve — until they are tested by the unforeseen.


Aug, 25: “What Strange Paradise” by Omar El Akkad

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, and Palestinians. All of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: 9-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vänna. Vänna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, Vänna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.

In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir’s life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair — and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.

Sept. 22: “The Lifeboat” by Charlotte Rogan

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?


Oct. 27: “The Ghost of the Mary Celeste” by Valerie Martin

1872: the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste is discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo is intact and there is no sign of struggle, but her crew has disappeared, never to be found.

As news of the derelict ghost ship spreads, the Mary Celeste captures imaginations around the world — from a Philadelphia spiritualist medium named Violet Petra to an unknown young writer named Arthur Conan Doyle. In a haunted, death-obsessed age, the Mary Celeste is by turn a provocative mystery, an inspiration to creativity, and the tragic story of a family doomed by the sea. Based on actual events, spanning seas and continents, life and death, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a spellbinding exploration of love, nature, and the fictions that pass as truth.

Those who would like 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, email [email protected] or call 207-743-5309, ext. 1.

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