SALEM — The House of the Gables invites readers to gather virtually and share thoughts on three of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short fiction pieces. The May session of the Online Book Club is Thursday, May 13, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Register in advance with this link.
Those interested are welcome to join others in The Gables’ community and spend a little quality time with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s shorter fiction. Though his novels are more widely read, Hawthorne’s short stories are celebrated for their relevant themes, moral considerations and, at times, dark suspense. Will Demick, one of The Gables’ visitor services specialists, is an enthusiastic fan of the master storyteller’s writing. He will share his own perspective, provide helpful background and then guide participants in an informal discussion.
The three stories are from “A Wonderbook for Girls and Boys.” They are “The Gorgon’s Head,” “The Golden Touch,” and “Paradise of Children.” These stories are available at the Museum Store. Because Hawthorne’s stories are now in the public domain, they can also be found on the Internet, free of charge, at sites such as Project Gutenberg. For those who would like to know more about Hawthorne and his work, this book club gently ushers readers into the rich and wondrous literature of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
“A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys” was first published in 1851, the same year that “The House of the Seven Gables” was published. “It was a big year for Hawthorne fans,” says Demick. “His children’s stories are considered to be some of his best work. They are classic Hawthorne but the stories are more fanciful and lighthearted than his other work.
“This series of short stories with an overarching narrative is set in a fictionalized version of where Hawthorne lived in Lenox,” says Demick. “He wrote these short stories inspired by Greek myths so they would be approachable by children.”