18 Jun 2013

Nantucket Bookworm

Oscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Recently as I was walking up Main Street, I noticed a man comfortably relaxing on a bench reading a book.  As I approached him, I realized it wasn’t just any book – it was Moby Dick! I couldn’t resist sliding on to the bench beside him to inquire what he thought of the book and how it felt to be reading it from Main Street Nantucket.  He assured me it was surreal and exhilarating all at the same time and made him want to schedule a charter fishing trip! Reading Moby Dick taps into the inner fisherman…and the bookworm in all of us.

An avid reader and a Nantucket bookworm, I’ve recently enjoyed several books highlighted by the upcoming Nantucket Book Festival. In its second year, the festival has attracted brilliant authors from around the globe, in all sorts of genres, including several highly acclaimed local authors like Elin Hildenbrand, Nat Philbrick and Nancy Thayor. I love the island focus and flair of their books and the fresh perspective each brings to their work. The Festival docket has also introduced me to new authors whose stories have invited me into the worlds they create, challenged me to think deeply about the stories they are telling and compelled me to care about the characters they’ve fashioned.

Nantucket is no stranger to festivals. The summer calendar features the Film Festival, Comedy Festival, Dance Festival and Music Festival to name a few, so it was a natural progression when a local coalition of literary lovers joined forces to create a venue to honor the written word and the people who pen them. While it showcases award winning authors, the Book Festival also endeavors to introduce and promote new talent. This year, the “Under The Tent” signing and selling event on Saturday at the Nantucket Atheneum features over forty-five local and notable authors (including yours truly with the newly released A Nantucket Experience – A Year In The Life of a Wash Ashore).

Nantucket inspires each of us to tap into our creativity and discover our unique style. Repeatedly I hear stories from people of all ages and walks of life who never realized they had beautiful photography, jewelry, music, dance, paintings, sculpture, glassware, drawings or imaginative words untapped inside them until they arrived on the Grey Lady. A few foggy days, a midnight stroll up Main Street or a beachside sunrise later and “voila” an idea is unearthed and a new talent is birthed.

It’s not too late to make plans to travel to Nantucket this weekend. Attend one of the “meet the author” events to hear them speak or purchase their books, bring along your own journal to pen some thoughts or simply stop by Mitchell’s Book Store or the Atheneum and pick up a copy of Moby Dick, settle onto a Main Street bench and spend a few hours with Ishmael, Queequeg and Ahab.

Read all about it…

Shellie Dunlap

Related Posts
  • 07 Jun 2011 Down on Main Street Nantucket The beloved musician Bob Seger has a memory of his Main Street – “standing on the corner at midnight trying to get my courage up.” We all have a memory of Main Street somewhere don’t we Maybe it’s our hometown where grandma lives or just some quaint little community we passed through on our way... Continue Reading
  • 14 Aug 2012 Music On Nantucket… Main Street Nantucket is alive – with the sound of music It’s not uncommon to see music on Nantucket including street performers downtown particularly on a bustling summer night. But it was a complete surprise…and delight….when a bright eyed trio of talented siblings took to the sidewalk last week to “wow” passersby with an impromptu... Continue Reading