Category Archives: Books

Wendy Hudson of Bookworks to Run Mitchell’s Book Corner

ReMain, a part of The Schmidt Family Foundation and owner of the building that is home to Mitchell’s Book Corner, has announced the formation of Nantucket Book Partners by Wendy Hudson, the owner of Bookworks on Broad Street for 18 years. and one of the organizers of Nantucket’s first Book Festival this June 15th-17th. Nantucket Book Partners will run both Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks as full-service, year-round bookstores.

“At ReMain, we like to incubate new endeavors that inspire and support the next generation in a changing marketplace, and we also want to support downtown’s key institutions to help ensure they are in place for the long term,” said Wendy Schmidt, founder of ReMain and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation. “Since we purchased Mitchell’s in 2008, the bookselling business has seen unprecedented market shifts in the explosive popularity of e-readers and the success of online giants like Independent booksellers in every market are working overtime to develop sustainable business models for their stores. Here on Nantucket, we are exceptionally fortunate to have two independent bookstores, and now, for them to combine forces while maintaining their individual characters is a realistic approach for successfully engaging this industry-wide challenge.”

Mary Jennings had been running Mitchell’s since the retirement of Mimi Beman four years ago. Mitchell’s was founded in 1968 by Henry “Mitch” Mitchell and Mary Allen Havemeyer and later run by their daughter Mimi Beman, who passed away in 2010.

“I truly believe that collaboration rather than competition is the best course for the island’s bookstores,” Wendy said. “Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks will each retain their own unique personalities, but by functioning cooperatively we’ll be able to strengthen both entities and offer even more for the island’s readers.”

“The idea is to retain the best parts of each beloved store while expanding what we offer through less duplication and more cooperation. One web site, one events and offsite program, one point of sale system (sharing customer loyalty, gift card, and inventory information), yet two unique destinations that enhance downtown Nantucket. We plan to launch activities and outreach upstairs at Mitchell’s, operate with employee profit-sharing, create a volunteer program, and figure out many other ways to involve the community. Fun stuff.”

“This industry is in flux, but it has great potential if we approach it creatively in this special place. Embracing technology and listening to our customers will be the keys to success. We invite everyone to help us invent the next chapter for the stores, so please watch for new about a customer survey, dates for focus groups, and other invitations for feedback.”

LuLu Powers Book Signing

The LuLu Powers Book Signing and Wine Tasting took place on Friday, July 2, 2010 at currentVintage. The book is FOOD to FLOWERS. Lulu worked in the kitchen of Sarah Leah Chase on Nantucket, and has since been the chef for Madonna, Will Smith, Arianna Huffington and Bill Clinton in LA. Photos by Gene Mahon. Click on any photo to see more photos from this event or an archive of past events.

Cary Hazlegrove Nantucket Book Signing

Cary Hazlegrove Book Signing Party took place on Friday, April 9, 2010 at the Chicken Box with light fare by Chef Carl Keller, and music by Earth Got the Blues and The Shingles. Click on any photo to see more photos from this event or an archive of past events.

Hazlegrove 2

Nantucket Arts News


Cary Hazlegrove’s newest book of photographs, entitled “Nantucket”, goes on sale this week at island bookstores, and March 25th nationally. Cary has photographed the island for more than thirty years, and this book represents the best 150 of the past ten years paired with quotes from well known islanders.


Jane Condon will present her one person show, “Janie Unchained”, Wednesday, March 31, 7 pm at the Unitarian Church. Jane is an island summer resident, and the winner of Audience Favorite-NY on NBC’s LAST COMIC STANDING. This show will take you along on her journey from blue-collar Brockton, Mass. to upscale Greenwich, CT. Along the way, she’ll share her reasons for doing comedy.

The Associated Press calls Jane “an uppercrust Roseanne.” The New York Times says of her stand-up comedy, “Condon had the audience cackling, guffawing and in hysterics as she sliced through marriage, husband, kids, politics and other topics.” $15 suggested donation at the door.


Interior designer Kathleen Hay has won an Andrew Martin 2010 Interior Design Award, considered the Oscars of the interior design world. Two of Kathleen’s recent projects will be featured in the 2010 Interior Design Review Vol. 14 later this year.


Send in your entries for the Yesterday’s Island 40th Anniversary Photo Contest, accepted year-round, with cash prizes to the best photos. Enter here.

Books: “A Line in the Sand”

“A Line in the Sand: The Battle to Integrate Nantucket Public Schools, 1825-1847” by Barbara Ann White, published by Spinner Publications. From the press release:

A monumental struggle for equal rights took place on Nantucket in the 1840s. On one side were the island’s black community and their abolitionist allies joined by renowned anti-slavery advocates Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Stephen S. Foster. On the other side were prominent town citizens who wanted no part of integration.

In 1978, Barbara White, a teacher on Nantucket, found petitions sent in 1845 from Nantucket to the state’s General Court describing the injustices suffered by students confined to the island’s African School and pleading for legislation to make it possible for them to attend Nantucket’s other public schools. From the petitions, town records, court records, newspapers, and letters, Barbara White has reconstructed the story of how perseverance on the part of islanders – men and women, black and white together – overcame cruel racial prejudice.

Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex says this: “As recounted by White, the integration of the Nantucket schools is the story of not only a remarkable island community in the mid-nineteenth century, but of a nation struggling with many of the same issues of equality and race that concern us to this day.”

Beverly A. Morgan-Welch, Executive Director, Museum of African American History, Boston says: “Barbara White does justice to an important part of Nantucket’s most challenging and enlightening history. She goes beyond what is available in our history books about black Nantucketers to write this powerful story of the equal education movement. “A Line in the Sand” reveals Nantucket as a microcosm of this nation’s conflicted campaign to end slavery and provide education in schools open to all children.”

“A Line in the Sand” will be available in bookstores on August 5, 2009.

Catching Up with Nancy Thayer on Nantucket

Each week in this column, we’ll catch up with one of our island luminaries to see what they’ve been up to. Sometimes it will be in their own words, sometimes mine. This week the words come from island author Nancy Thayer.

Hi Gene,

This June my nineteenth novel, “Summer House”, will come out on Ballantine, and my last novel, “Moon Shell Beach”, will be published in a gorgeous paperback. I’m working on a novel to come out in 2010. Obviously these are all set in my favorite place – Nantucket.

At the end of April I’m going to speak at a Red Hat Society convention in Connecticut, which should be a lot of fun, and of course I’ll be talking there about my “Hot Flash Club” series. I also have a website (with a link to Mahon About Town!) and an online newsletter.

The most exciting thing in the past few years is that Charley and I became grandparents. We now have a grandson, Ellias, 2+, and a granddaughter, Adeline, almost 1. It’s bliss.

But wait! There’s more! My daughter Sam, who attended 4th through 8th grades here on the island (where she went by her first name, Jessica), is having her first novel published by Bantam Dell this summer. It’s called “This Little Mommy Stayed Home”, and it’s about a new mother with a clueless husband and it’s very funny. She’s working on her next novel under contract, “I’ll Take What She Has”, which will come out in 2010.

Thanks so much for asking! I hope you’ve had a good winter, too, and are ready for the another crazy summer.



Catching Up with Elin Hilderbrand

Each week in this column, we’ll catch up with one of our island luminaries to see what they’ve been up to. Sometimes it will be in their own words, sometimes mine. This week the words belong to Elin Hilderbrand, who wrote me in early March.

Hi Gene —

Chip and I and the kids are in Perth, Australia for 7 weeks. It’s heaven on earth.

My new novel, The Castaways, is out in June of 2009. I am working on the copy-edited manuscript as we speak. The Castaways tells the story of four couples who are great friends, and on the first day of summer one of the couples dies in a sailing accident between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The novel deals with their friends’ reaction to the deaths and the complicated and overlapping bonds between them that are revealed.

Barefoot is coming out in mass market paperback in May, and A Summer Affair will be out in trade paperback in June.

I am currently writing my novel for the summer of 2010, which is set on Tuckernuck and will be called “Thirty Days on a Deserted Island.”

Bye for now


Best Selling Books on Nantucket 2008


“In the Heart of the Sea” by Nat Philbrick

“Summer Affair” by Elin Hilderbrand

“Barefoot” by Elin Hilderbrand

“America According to Connor Gifford” by Connor Gifford

“Nantucket: Portrait of an American Town” by Mary Haft

“Nantucket Ghosts” by Blue Balliett

“Prince of Nantucket” by Jan Goldstein

“Beach House” by Jane Green

“Away Offshore” by Nat Philbrick

“Grey Lady Healing” by Darcie Evans


“The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski

“Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson

“Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortensen

“When You Are Engulfed in Flames” by David Sedaris

“Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids” by Margot Datz

“Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer

“In the Woods” by Tana French

“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

“Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer


1. Nantucket Portrait of an American Town by Mary Haft

2. A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

3. Bear Trap by Bill Bamber & Andrew Spencer (Hardcover, $24.95)

4. Quarterboards by Sue Hubbell and Dan Driscoll

5. The God of War by Marisa Silver

6. The Power Makers by Maury Klein

7. Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

8. Lush Life by Richard Price

9. The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace

10. Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

Nantucket Arts

Nat Philbrick’s book “In the Heart of the Sea”, the National Book Award winner about the Nantucket whaling ship Essex, will be made into a major motion picture directed by Edward Zwick, according to Variety. Zwick has written, directed, and/or produced “thirtysomething”, “Once and Again”, “Legends of the Fall”, “Glory”, “About Last Night…”, “The Last Samurai”, “Blood Diamond”, “I Am Sam”, “Traffic”, “Shakespeare in Love”, “My So-Called Life”, and many more.

The script was written by Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, who has partnered with Zwick on most of his projects. Fox is likely to distribute the film, and production is expected to begin later this year. There is no indication that any scenes will be shot on Nantucket.

Songwriting Workshop with Pierce Pettis

What makes a good song work? Songwriter and musician Pierce Pettis answers that question in this two hour workshop designed for anyone who loves music and loves the musicality of language — you don’t have to be a musician to participate. Pettis will discuss the songwriting process, illustrate by playing examples, and work with workshop participants to create new music. Pierce Pettis will perform a concert of his work at the Nantucket Whaling Museum on Sat. March 28.

Pierce has released 7 albums, has been a writer at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, recorded for Fast Folk Musical Magazine, won the New Folk competition for songwriting at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and was a staff songwriter at Polygram and Universal Music Publishing in Nashville. He received a 1999 Country Music Award for ‘You Move Me’, recorded by Garth Brooks on his album, Sevens.

Workshop space is limited. Sign up at 508-228-1110 ext 118. $20 admission payable on the night of the workshop. Friday, March 27, 6:30PM-8:30PM in the Gallery of the Nantucket Atheneum.

The Artists Association Winter Workshops begin on March 21, and include:

  • Katie Trinkle Legge: Painting with Water-Mixable Oil
  • George Thomas Workshop: Watercolor, Pastel & Beyond
  • Alison Hall Cooley: Create-a-Postcard Workshop
  • David Lazarus: Oil Painting Workshop
  • Azra Willmot-Smith & Beth English: A Moveable Feast of Fashion Workshop Series
  • Brendan Lawlor: Computer Animation for ages 12-18
  • Lou Guarnaccia: Plein Air Oil Painting
  • David Lazarus: Watercolor Workshop
  • Kelly Knight: Weaving and Tapestry
  • Ashley Mott: The Artist’s Journal
  • Russell Wieland: Digital Photography for Beginners

Register by calling 508-228-0722 or onlin eat

An article in the I&M this week by Josh Gray talks about the impact of the economy on the arts, often the first funds to be cut in a bad economy. Reggie Levine and Gene Mahon speak for the Nantucket Arts Council. Also interviewed are Mollie Glazer from the Nantucket School of Music, Molly Anderson from the Nantucket Atheneum, Steve Young from WCAI-WNAN, Susan McGinnis from Seaside Shakespeare, Jane Karakula from the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, and Bruce Beni of the Nantucket Artists Association. Read the full article on the I&M website, and if you are able, make a donation to your favorite arts organization.

The Nantucket Arts Council is now accepting applications for grants and scholarships of $500 to $2500 each. Application forms are available at the Nantucket Atheneum, High School main office, online ay, or by calling 508-325-8588. Applications must be mailed or received by Monday, March 16, 2009 for the 2009 awards. Mail to the Nantucket Arts Council Grants & Scholarships, POB 2176, Nantucket, MA 02584. The Arts Council grants and scholarships are made possible in part by the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Walter Boyd and Family and the Weezie Foundation.