2018 Summer Reading Program

This summer we are encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone and check out some new books.  We have great new programming for everyone, including adults!

But don't worry, there are still Children and Teens Summer Reading Programs as well, find more info on their webpages.

Summer Programming for Adults (it's not just for kids anymore!)

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Read ME

Read ME is a statewide summer reading program with a twist. Presented in partnership with Maine State Library and the Maine Humanities Council it gets Maine’s adults all reading the same books—by Maine authors and recommended by a Maine author. This program takes place June through August of 2018.


This year’s books are recommended by Paul Doiron, Maine Mystery Writer of Knife Creek, Poacher’s Son, Trespasser. One of the ReadME books is fiction—River Talk  by CB Anderson and one nonfiction—Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town by Susan Hand Shetterly.

Reading the book?  Join the Facebook page Read ME 2018 to chat with fellow readers.

The season will culminate with an episode of Maine Calling, aired in front of a live audience at Maine State Library on Wednesday, August 22nd, 1:00 - 2:00 PM.   Join Maine State LibraryMaine Calling, and Maine Humanities Council for a live discussion with this year's Read ME Recommending Author, Paul Doiron, as well as featured authors, C.B. Anderson and Susan Hand Shetterly.

Three copies of each book will be available for checkout at the Bangor Public Library and we'll help you find other copies when ours are out! Just come by the Reference Desk. 

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We do ask that you provide us with your opinion--about the book read and the program.  Opinion/review sheets will be located in the back of the books. 

Contact Candis Joyce in the Bangor Public Library's Reference Department with questions at 947-8336 ext 127 or cjoyce@bpl.lib.me.us.

Let's Talk About It

Refreshing the Whodunit: moving beyond Christie and Doyle: This Let’s Talk About It series provides new and experienced mystery and detective fans with an opportunity for in depth conversation about how this genre has incorporated the contemporary world’s globalism; dilemmas of race, gender, ethnicity and class; religious conflict; historical revision; and others.

For more information visit the Let's Talk About It website. The program is free but registration is recommended to make sure participants have a copy of the book. 

Contact Candis Joyce in the Bangor Public Library's Reference Department to register at 947-8336 ext 127 or cjoyce@bpl.lib.me.us.

Greg Winston an English Professor at Husson University, will lead the conversation at each session.

If you're a mystery fan make sure to check out our author talks this summer by mystery authors William Andrews and Gerry Boyle.


6/19 3:30 pm  Crofutt Community Room

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Book available for pickup at the reference desk now.

King’s marvelous novel has become a classic in its “fresh approach” to Sherlock Holmes, a concept welcomed by some readers and dismissed by others. King’s  contribution is the creation of Mary Russell, a teenage orphan who meets the beekeeper (Sherlock Holmes) on the Sussex Downs and impresses him with her unique intelligence, akin to his own, and her independent spirit.  Not only does Mary Russell learn from Holmes, she becomes his apprentice and later partner, offering a fresh and female perspective that modernizes Holmes with youthful delight, rich detail of setting and culture (the early years of World War I and the British upper crust), and an ability to inspire Holmes to oddities of detecting that are both consistent with Doyle’s creation and ingeniously re-gendered.  King’s depiction of the Russell/Holmes adventures is also profoundly intelligent and fabulously detailed.

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7/10 3:30 pm  Crofutt Community Room

Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

Book available at the 6/19 book discussion or at the reference desk.

An early Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn Mystery.  Tony Hillerman, now a household world, leapt on the mystery scene with his depiction of Navajo culture in The Blessing Way and admirable characterization of Navajo policeman Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn.  Dance Hall of the Dead is another of his early works, this time featuring both Navajo and Zuni culture.  Even for participants who may have read Hillerman, or this Hillerman, discussion will allow for detailed examination of Hillerman’s treatment of cultures, characterization through difference, and genius for bringing relevant social, historical, and cultural knowledge into the mystery.  Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, the character Hillerman would most want to have next door, combines attributes of the amateur and professional detective in another modernizing move.  As a member of the Navajo Tribal Police, Leaphorn brings all the culture and personality of the amateurs featured in Doyle, Christie, and Sayers to officialdom in uniquely liminal ways that help set the key themes of this series’ conversation.

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7/31 3:30 pm     Crofutt Community Room

The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison

Book available at the 7/10 book discussion or at the reference desk.

The Skull Mantra shot on the literary scene as the first novel featuring the captured Chinese detective Shan, imprisoned in Tibetan labor camps by the Chinese police.  At the camps Shan finds himself supported by ancient Tibetan lamas, also miserably imprisoned.  The influence of Tibetan traditions helps Shan to see meaning even in his life as a prisoner, and to heal from deep personal wounds.  On the borderlands between a nomadic culture of the plateaus and the operations of a police state, the novel conveys not only a vivid sense of the Tibetan landscape but profound knowledge of its history and people.  Tibetan Buddhism becomes accessible to Shan, though always a tradition not his own, as he finds among the monks the kinds of friends he’s never had – people to admire.  When the harsh conditions join with the discovery of a murder, Shan’s experience as a policeman surface.  Despite the political danger, he knows his task must be to find the truth.  As Shan learns what has happened, Pattison merges and compares his seeking for spiritual and factual truths in a rich conversation between kinds of knowledge and necessity that any modern reader could appreciate.

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8/21 3:30 pm    Crofutt Community Room

A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

Book available at the 7/31 book discussion or at the reference desk.

Set in Alaska, this novel features Kate Shugak, a tough modern female sleuth who is unashamed of her physical strength, relatively fearless, and keeps company with a wolf-hound named Mutt in her isolated cabin.  A former top investigator for the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office, she retired to the Alaskan wilderness after suffering a life-threatening injury in the line of duty. Fiercely independent yet profoundly loving, Kate discovers that even the remote Alaskan wilderness cannot protect her from haunting memories from her past.  She is called out of retirement to find two people who have disappeared – one of whom is a congressman’s son.  Stabenow’s novels all feature exquisitely captivating portrayals of the Alaska wilderness along with a mystery to be solved and a fascinating central character who is part native, part white, and familiar with horrific crimes.


9/11 3:30 pm    Crofutt community Room

Murder at the Nightwood Bar by Katherine V. Forrest

Book available at the 8/21 book discussion or at the reference desk.

The best text by the most widely–read author of the wildly expanding genre of lesbian and gay detective fiction.  Amateur City (1984) was the first Kate Delafield mystery, introducing a smart, modern lesbian detective dedicated to police work but also attempting to deal with her sexuality on the force.  Murder at the Nightwood Bar features Kate Delafield trying to solve the murder of a young female prostitute and drug addict.  Investigations at the Nightwood Bar, a lesbian hangout, require that Kate embrace both her role and the lesbian community, a tension she has avoided for years.  Lesbian and gay characters have good reasons not to trust the police and this novel richly examines Kate’s struggles with elements of her identity while solving a crime that may be a hate crime – and then again may be one committed within the lesbian community.  Character portrayals are particularly apt and this novel represents the underside of L.A. and Hollywood with ordinary extraordinary people, making discussion of diversity natural and fitting the Kate Delafield character into the tradition of Marlowe and Spade.

Valerie's Challenge - ongoing for 2018


There are so many great books that you might have missed or maybe you read them a long time ago.

Maybe it's time to read them again! 

Valerie's Challenge is a selection of some of the great books from the 1960's to the present (with a few older classics thrown in).  Most are available here at the library.  Those that aren't can be found using inter-library loan. Stop by the library to pick up a list.

Every time you read one of these books please fill out an entry card and drop it in the box on the Valerie’s Challenge display.  These cards will go into a prize drawing during 2018.  There will be one drawing on September 1st and another on December 1st. 

Ready, set, read!