, Salem, MA

February 14, 2014

A taste of history at library lunch

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — They’re serving a lesson in history with lunch on Tuesday at Hamilton-Wenham Public Library.

That’s when the Literary Luncheon group will meet to discuss “Fever 1793” by award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson.

“This group likes historical fiction, and this one had really good reviews,” said Nancy Day, head of technical services at the library.

Although Anderson writes primarily for young adults, her works have appeared on several New York Times best-seller lists, and Day felt “Fever 1793” was appropriate for a mature audience.

Published in 2000, it was Anderson’s first historical novel and is based on her research into a yellow fever epidemic that killed thousands of people in Philadelphia. The story follows a teenage girl, Matilda Cook, who is separated from her sick mother and must cope with the impact of the illness on her own.

The Literary Luncheon group votes on what they will read, and Day secures copies of the book, which participants can reserve through a link at the library’s events calendar.

The group, which has been meeting for around eight years and usually numbers 10 people, meets on the third Tuesday of each month, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“We meet at lunchtime. It seems to work out for most people,” Day said. “They bring a lunch, and we supply dessert and coffee or tea.

“We try to get a dessert or something associated with the book. For ‘Fever,’ I’m trying to find something from that time period.”