Recent Reading Initiatives Thrive at the Delaware Beaches

The coast is the main character in a number of current books and projects.


(FROM LEFT): Photo courtesy of Rehoboth Reads; photo courtesy of the Lewes Historical Society


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Books and the beach are a natural pairing, whether you’re lounging on the sand or curled up on a rainy afternoon. Lately, however, there has been a flurry of works with a distinctly coastal Delaware flair.

The new Rehoboth Reads project is encouraging the community-wide reading and discussion of “Just Mercy” by Milton-born and Cape Henlopen High School graduate Bryan Stevenson. The story is about an idealistic young attorney and those he defends. The book, a New York Times bestseller, has received honors such as the American Library Association’s Carnegie Medal.

The initiative, organized by the Rehoboth Beach Public Library, recently began offering free book club kits that contain a discussion guide and prompts, bookmarks, a list of additional recommended reading, a Rehoboth Reads event list, links to online resources and materials from The Equal Justice Initiative, the organization Stevenson—an attorney—founded in Montgomery, Alabama.

Book clubs, neighborhood groups, organizations and informal discussion groups can pick up a kit at Browseabout Books and the Rehoboth Beach Public Library.

Lewes resident Nancy Sakaduski, a member of the Rehoboth Beach Reads committee, has been busy. She is the owner of Cat & Mouse Press, which runs the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest.

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This year’s theme is “Beach Dreams, and entries must be between 500 and 3,500 words. The awards are $500 for the first prize, $250 for the second and $100 for the third. The top 20 to 25 stories will appear in the book Beach Dreams. The deadline is July 1, 2019.

Cat & Mouse is also releasing “Beach Pulp,” a collection of stories set in beach towns, including Rehoboth, Cape May and Lewes. Expect some fun and campy tales of “suspense, intrigue and terror.” The release party is April 4 at 4:30 p.m. at the Newark Arts Alliance.

The already published “The Lost Locket of Lewes,” meanwhile, recently received a first-place award in children’s fiction from the Delaware Press Association. Author Ilona Holland was inspired by a locket owned by the Lewes Historical Society. The keepsake, which was found on Lewes Beach after the Great Blizzard of March 1888, contains a lock of hair and photograph.

The book, which is about two children seeking to uncover the mystery surrounding the jewelry, is available through the Lewes Historical Society.

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