As families necessarily bond closely in this time of crisis, it is a moment to consider the very nature of of the family unit. The Cushing Public Library will present a five-book program of reading and discussion, “Re-imagining the American Family,” organized and sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council, beginning Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The discussion leader is distinguished educator Catherine Brewer. The meetings will continue on further third Thursdays in March through May.

It is free and open to the public, but limited to the first 20 registrants. For further information and to register, call Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email

The books selected are "Hillbilly Elegy" by J. D. Vance, "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, "Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant" by Roz Chast, "What Do the Living Do" by Marie Howe and "Brothers and Keepers" by John Edgar Wideman. The council is providing copies of the books, which will be available at the library before the first session.

Brewer, a graduate of the University of Maine (BA and MA), lives in Aroostook County. She has taught English for grades 6-12 and now concentrates on alternative and adult education in the St. John Valley. She particularly enjoys one-on-one teaching and has found personal meaning in these books, selected by the program’s organizers to expand, challenge and complicate a vision of what constitutes the “American family.” These writers individually endeavor to more fully understand themselves and the worlds they inhabit.