Connect with Your Community This Winter!

What is a Community Read?
A Community Read is a large-scale book club, spanning an entire community and cultivating a local culture of reading and conversation by bringing people together around a common book. Thomas Memorial Library will once again be collaborating with the South Portland and Scarborough Public Libraries on a three-town Community Read this winter, running from February through April.
What will we be reading?
Our featured book is One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten. One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less interested in elaborate fictions or spectacular histories and just want to know how life is lived. I want a book about how other humans get things and lose things, and deal with both, how they cope and how they fail and how they live and how they die. This is the book I’ve been waiting for. The people described in this book are wonderful and flawed, some of them evil, some of them impossibly good. But none of them have lived the kind of lives that normally get told in books, and in finally seeking them out and telling their stories, Gene has done them, and us, a priceless service.”

—Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

On New Year’s Day 2013, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten asked three strangers to, literally, pluck a day, month, and year from a hat. That day—chosen completely at random—turned out to be Sunday, December 28, 1986, by any conventional measure a most ordinary day. Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing.
That Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling.

One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human.

Will there be Community Read events?

YES!! There will be many opportunities for you to participate and engage with your friends and neighbors over the course of the next two months. The author will be (virtually) joining our library communities to discuss the book, both to kick off and to wrap up the Community Read. In between, all three libraries will be working together to offer book discussions, creative opportunities and a full slate of related programming around the book’s themes of storytelling, connection, and everyday life in America. All events will be open to residents of all three towns and there will be opportunities to meet, converse and get to know your neighbors from Cape, SoPo and Scarborough. Click here to see the full list of scheduled events!

How do I participate?

First, fill out the form below to register for the Community Read. This will ensure that you receive all Community Read announcements and links to join our events.

Next, order your copy of the book here. Multiple copies are now available at Thomas Memorial Library. If you prefer an e-book or e-audio version of the book, they are also available on cloudLibrary.

Then, click here to check out our Community Read Events page!