#FirstLines from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

If you follow @LitNewEngland on Twitter, you know that over the past couple of months we’ve Tweeted the #FirstLines and #LastLines of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” HP Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House,” Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and several other works from New England authors. Today, we start Tweeting the #FirstLines of poems from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” Please follow and let us know if you enjoy them!

Thimble (or Thumb!) Islands

In “Books Can Be Deceiving,” the first of Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lover’s Mystery series, Briar Creek and the Thumb Islands are really Stony Creek and the Thimble Islands in Branford, CT. While, thankfully, murder is not a regular thing in Stony Creek—a quality, affluent shoreline town with a village feel— it’s not difficult to imagine Lindsey Norris, the heroine of “Books,” going to work in Stony Creek’s Willoughby Wallace Memorial Libraryor taking a cruise to the Thimble Islands. The Thimbles are an archipelago of more than 100 tiny islands, some no larger than rocks and others, like the largest, Horse Island, spanning 17 acres. Twenty-five of the islands are inhabited with roughly 90 homes, some of which are full-fledge mansions and others no more than summer shacks. The name “Thimble” comes not from the size of the islands, but the thimbleberry (a type of black raspberry) that used to grow on them in abundance. Legend has it that Captain Kidd used the islands to evade the British Royal Navy in 1699 and buried treasure there.  Today, the islands are privately owned and carry names like Grey Rock, Potato Island, Pot Island, Money Island and Hen Island.

#TheEmpathyExams author Skypes w/SMDEP program undergrads

Leslie Jamison, author of the award-winning essay collection The Empathy Exams, Skyped on Wednesday with students attending the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the Yale School of Medicine. Students read The Empathy Exams as part of the Writing/Communications component of the program, which is led by Literary New England Radio Show host Cindy Wolfe Boynton, who is also a writer and college professor. Currently working on earning a doctorate from Yale, Leslie was featured on the Literary New England Radio Show in June. Listen to her in the show archives by following this link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/literarynewengland/2014/06/10/susan-minot-leslie-jamison-charlaine-harris-jan-elizabeth-watson

DYK Deborah Harkness is a New England girl?

Three of Deborah Harkness’ first four appearances for The Book of Life will be in New England! At 7 pm Wednesday, July 16, she’ll be reading and signing at Mt. Holyoke College’s Hooker Auditorium, sponsored by The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass. Tickets are $5 and, in order for your book to be signed, it must have been purchased from Odyssey. A portion of the proceeds of the event will benefit the Mt. Holyoke Club of the Pioneer Valley. At 7:30 pm Thursday, July 17, she’ll be reading and signing at the Canaan Meetinghouse in Canaan, NH, with Norwich Bookstore selling books. And at 7 pm Friday, July 18, she’ll be reading and signing at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass. Preferred seating to this event is sold out, but those who’d like to have their book signed, and don’t mind just hearing audio of the talk going on downstairs, can hang out upstairs in the store and be part of the celebration that way. The line for book signing only will begin at 6 pm outside the store. If you can’t make any of these events but want to get to know Deborah a little better, listen to the Literary New England Radio Show either live tonight at 8 pm or any time after in the Literary New England Radio Show Archives >>http://www.blogtalkradio.com/literarynewengland/2014/07/15/deborah-harkness-erika-johansen-courtney-maum-tim-weed.