What better time than winter to curl up and read a good book? And what better choice than Gloucester author Joseph E. Garland’s Lone Voyager, an epic tale of a legendary Gloucesterman whose adventures make television’s “Survivor” look like child’s play.
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The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is pleased to announce that Lone Voyager has been selected as the first book to launch “Gloucester Reads,” a community-wide reading festival, bringing together all ages and walks of life to share in reading a selected book and taking part in more than a dozen related events.
Continuing from January through March, “Gloucester Reads” will include lectures, readings, historical displays, and other events celebrating Garland’s book, Blackburn’s robust and rollicking life, and Gloucester’s own rich history as America’s first and foremost fishing port.
“’Gloucester Reads” is a terrific opportunity for everyone in Gloucester to join as a community in exploring and appreciating the wonders of a good book,” said Roger Brisson, director of the Sawyer Free Library. “Joe Garland is one of Gloucester’s most celebrated writers, truly the ‘finest kind,’ and Lone Voyager is an extraordinary book that every Gloucester resident should read to better appreciate our own rich history.”
Gloucester Public Schools, the Cape Ann Historical Museum, the
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Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, and the Schooner Adventure and are among those helping the library bring “Gloucester Reads” to life. Local businesses and civic groups are also being encouraged to sponsor reading groups in which employees and members will read and discuss “Lone Voyager.” The Cape Ann Rowing Club and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates are sponsors of “Gloucester Reads.”
“Gloucester Reads” officially will be launched the evening of Thursday, January 11, at the Sawyer Free Library on Dale Avenue at Middle Street. There, at 7 p.m., Capt. Tom Ellis will ring the ship’s bell from the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon, and Garland will read aloud from Lone Voyager and tell the story of how he came to research and write this much-praised work.
Ellis also will tell the story behind the construction and 1997 launch of the Lannon, a reproduction of the style of fishing vessel that helped make Gloucester a century ago the world’s busiest and most famous fishing port.
The stage for “Gloucester Reads” already will have been set earlier that day at Gloucester’s O’Maley Middle School, where eighth-grade students will take part in a series of special activities to introduce them to Lone Voyager as part of their integrated curriculum.
These include a “reading aloud” of the first chapter of Lone Voyager by adult volunteer readers’ the screening of a historical documentary about fishing in Gloucester presented by the Schooner Adventure and hands-on activities to help better comprehend the lives of Gloucester’s fabled fishermen of yore.
The entire eighth-grade class will be given copies of Lone Voyager to read and discuss in guided workshops. The books will be transferred to Gloucester High School, where related activities are planned. The books have been made available by the generous support of the O’Maley Parent-Teacher Organization and will become part of the O’Maley School Library permanent collection.
Fifty copies of Lone Voyager have been added to the shelves at the Sawyer Free Library to circulate to library card holders. Any Gloucester resident can obtain a card without cost by presenting proof of residency at the library main desk.
Local booksellers also have stocked up on copies for sale, including The Bookstore on Main Street, The Cape Ann Historical Museum, Dogtown Books, all in Gloucester, and Toad Hall Books in Rockport. Other retail outlets also have copies available.
“Gloucester Reads” is an outgrowth of a national movement, “One Book, One Town,” which began in Seattle, Washington, in 1998 and since has expanded to hundreds of cities and towns – communities as large as Chicago, and as small as nearby Manchester-by-the-Sea and Ipswich.
“The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is pleased to be sponsoring this first-ever city-wide reading event and thanks the co-sponsors for their eager participation,” said Mary Jane McGlennon, chairman of the library’s board of directors. “We look forward to seeing hundreds of our neighbors reading and talking about this wonderful book. It’s a great way to bring our community closer together and to better appreciate who we are.”
Press Contacts: “Gloucester Reads” Chairman, Carol Gray,
Sawyer Free Library, Roger Brisson, Director,
Cape Ann Historical Museum, Elena Sarni,
Schooner Adventure, Joanne Souza,(978) 281-8079
Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, Mary Kay Taylor (978) 281-0470
O’Maley Middle School, Ann Ziergiebel
NOTE TO EDITORS: The “Gloucester Reads” logo is available in JPEG format upon request. Call Jerry Ackerman at (978) 283-1189. Interviews with Joe Garland can also be arranged. For graphic materials related to Blackburn, contact Roger Brisson or Tom Byers at (978) 281-9763.