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    new england literary news | nina maclaughlin

    Newburyport literary festival, ‘Moby-Dick’ marathon; historic houses

    The Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, which serves as a museum of his work.
    The Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, which serves as a museum of his work.

    Today’s authors, yesterday’s classic

    This weekend events on the North Shore and the Cape will celebrate an old classic and new stars.

    Newburyport hosts its 14th literary festival this weekend, kicking off with a dinner on Friday evening honoring Elaine Weiss and her book “The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote” and continuing Saturday with talks and signings with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Andre Dubus III, Whitney Scharer, Peter Orner, Rachel Slade, January Gill O’Neil, José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes, Emily Bernard, and many others. For a complete schedule of events, visit

    The Provincetown Public Library is hosting its “Moby-Dick” Marathon Reading for the fourth year, beginning Friday, running from noon to 6 p.m. and continuing Saturday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with over 120 readers from Provincetown’s theater, art, literary, and academic communities. Provincetown joins New Bedford, Mystic, Conn., and New York City in hosting a complete read-through of Melville’s magnum opus. Visit for more information.

    Historic houses


    Beth Luey opens her new book “At Home: Historic Houses of Eastern Massachusetts” (Brightleaf), out this week, with talk of ghosts: “What has been is almost as real as what is.” And though this is not a book of ghost stories, the spirit of interacting with the past as an active and ongoing energy certainly guides her chronicles of nine houses, including the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, the Alcott houses in Concord and Harvard, the birthplace of John Adams in Quincy, as well as houses in Dedham, Boston, New Bedford, Chestnut Hill, and Gloucester. Each piece is its own little biography, not just of the house, but of the lives that took place there. Luey gives a great sense of Gorey the man through the descriptions of the house he inhabited.

    Lifting a glass to bookstore day

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    For this year’s Independent Bookstore Day celebrations, taking place this Saturday, Boston is offering a magical mystery tour for bibliophiles with sold-out trolley tours making stops, on one route at Porter Square sBooks, Book Ends, Belmont Books, Harvard Book Store, Trident, I AM Books, and the MIT Press Bookstore. The second route starts at Brookline Booksmith, and travels to Children’s Book Shop, Newtonville Books, New England Mobile Book Fair, Wellesley Books, Blue Bunny Books, and Papercuts J.P. All day, stores will be offering special events, giveaways, contests, and promotions. Harvard Book Store will be selling a redesigned tote; Porter Square Books will continue its Great Bookseller Bake-Off; Brookline Booksmith plans to let visitors fish for books; and Trident will have a handful of local authors signing books and passing out free mimosas to those on the tour. It’s a nationwide celebration, and a number of bookstores throughout New England are taking part.

    Coming out

    “Springtime in a Broken Mirror” by Mario Benedetti, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor (New Press)

    “What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence” edited by Michele Filgate (Simon and Schuster)

    “Night Angler” by Geffrey Davis (BOA)

    Pick of the week


    John at the Concord Bookshop recommends “The Dew Breaker” by Edwidge Danticat (Vintage): “This spellbinding story revolves around a quiet man with a hidden past, a husband, a father of an artist, a hard-working barber and kindly landlord, who was once a ‘dew breaker,’ a torturer. This is a hauntingly beautiful book about love, remorse, and redemption.’’

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    Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.” She can be reached at