by Julia Drake
"What do you read, my lord?"
"Words, words, words."
About the Book Club
Join the Folger as we search the stacks for our favorite novels inspired by Shakespeare and the early modern era.
Held on the first Thursday of the month, this informal Book Club is free and open to all. Our picks range from historical fiction to adaptations of Shakespeare's plays and will be sourced from a different indie bookstore each month.
To spark the discussion, Folger staff will be on hand to provide historical context, throw in trivia, and speak to relevant items from the library collection.
Participation is free but registration is required. Sessions will be conducted through Zoom, so keep an eye on your inbox the day before for an access link, along with recommendations for quick bites and beverages to enjoy while we chat.
Our August Pick
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
Content transparency: This book contains mentions of a suicide attempt.
The Larkin family isn't just lucky-they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer. But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.
Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family's missing piece-the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century. She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.
Epic, funny, and sweepingly romantic, The Last True Poets of the Sea is about the strength it takes to swim up from a wreck.
"Wry, quick-witted, and filled with deep grief and fathomless joy in equal measure, this is a triumphant debut. Echoes of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and the barest touches of magical realism give shape to the story, which precisely and profoundly maps the ebbs and flows of surviving through trauma."―Booklist
Why did we choose this?
The Last True Poets of the Sea borrows plot elements and character inspiration from William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Though classified as Young Adult literature (YA), it nonetheless grapples with mature themes of mental health, addiction, and sexual identity in a mature and thoughtful way.
YA fiction is increasingly being recognized for its high-quality and appeal beyond teenage audiences, with outlets such as The Atlantic and The Guardian exploring how YA books have been broadening their readership. We are proud of the variety of perspectives we are able to offer as part of our book club series and excited to share this moving novel with our participants.
Order Your Book
This month, we are excited to partner with One More Page Books, an independent bookstore in Arlington, VA offering books, wines, and chocolates. Their mission is to provide a place for community to come together to share a love of reading through author events, book clubs, and open conversation. Check them out at onemorepagebooks.com.
Order online or by phone (703.300.9746). Curbside pickup is available at the shop from Monday-Saturday and shipping is available.