new england literary news | nina maclaughlin

New leaders at Harvard Book Store, booksellers group

New chapters in leadership at two literary institutions

Two regional literary institutions announced shifts in leadership recently.

Harvard Bookstore, which was established in 1932, named Alex Meriwether as the new general manager of the store, taking over from Carole M. Horne, who’s worked at the bookstore for more than 40 years, including a decade in her current role.

Meriwether started working for the bookstore nearly 15 years ago, serving most recently as the marketing manager, bolstering the store’s social media platform and organizing over 500 author events annually.


Over the years the bookstore has shown a willingness to embrace various kinds of innovation, adopting technologies for digital books and on-demand printing. When asked whether customers would see any changes right away, Meriwether said, “We’ll continue to pay attention to being what people in this community need us to be.”

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And the New England Independent Booksellers Association named Beth Ineson’s its new executive director, stepping into the role occupied by Steve Fischer who’s retiring after 11 years at NEIBA. Ineson has a quarter-century of experience in publishing and bookselling, having worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Yale University Press, America’s Test Kitchen, and Globe Pequot.

Mass Poetry’s latest collection

For the last seven years, as part of its Common Threads series, Mass Poetry has published a collection of 7 to 10 poems written by Massachusetts poets, selected by a poet from the state. It began as a way to help people and groups who “may be intimidated by poetry to approach poems together,” says Mass Poetry executive director Laurin Macios. This year, poet Alan Feldman gathered eight poems on the theme of loneliness. An interest in the tension between the dueling desires to be alone and to connect fueled the selections for “Born To Be Lonely: Massachusetts Poets on Connection and Disconnection,’’ which includes works by Herman Melville, Marie Howe, Anne Sexton, Linda Bamber, Martín Espada, Jeffrey Harrison, Etheridge Knight, and January Gill O’Neil who wonders, in her poem, “How to Love,” “What song to sing down an empty road/ as you being your morning commute?” Copies can be downloaded for free from or purchased in hard copy for $10 at the Harvard Bookstore.

A history lesson in King Philip’s War

A rich and compelling new history of King Philip’s War, the bloody 17th century conflict between Native Americans and colonists over aggressive expansion by the settlers, challenges conventional, Pilgrim-focused narratives. In Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast’’ (Yale), historian Christine M. DeLucia, who teaches at Mount Holyoke and lives in South Hadley examines the struggle and its ongoing impact, politically, culturally, and socioeconomically, paying particular attention to place, to the “rivers, swamps, islands, and cities of the Northeast . . . to better comprehend those secret, semihidden, or willfully forgotten contours of early America that still weigh so heavily on the present.” This learned, accessible, and intelligent take is a welcome addition to this piece of New England, and national, history.

Coming out

The Friend’’ by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead)


An American Marriage’’ by Tayari Jones (Algonquin)

Asymmetry’’ by Lisa Halliday (Simon and Schuster)

Pick of the week

Carin Pratt of the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vt., recommendsThe Immortalists’’ by Chloe Benjamin: “The four Gold children visit a fortune teller in New York in 1969 who tells them each the exact date of their deaths. “The Immortalists’’ recounts how they live their lives and act on that knowledge. It’s an interesting premise backed by wonderful writing, a story of the sometimes rocky, but always loving, relationships of four very different siblings, and a profound meditation on destiny.”

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Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter.” She can be reached at