Cape Eye on Books: Books That Stay With You

Anne LeClaire

Anne LeClaire

Actors and theatre directors spend their lives bring stories and language alive for audiences and in my experience I have found them to be avid and thoughtful  readers.

One afternoon in late August, following a matinee performance, some members of the Monomoy Theatre Company and several guest artists sat in the theatre’s garden patio and talked about books they remember reading that changed the way they thought about something or the first book that made them weep.

Although I had read all of the books they mentioned, their memories of them and passion for them has sent me back for another read. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

“HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY,” said Jan Rust, the Company’s Housing Director and wife of Artistic Director Alan Rust. “It just stuck with me over the year. It was the first book I read that made me sob.”  The bittersweet coming of age story by Richard Llewellyn, written in 1939 and set in a Welsh coal-mining village, was the basis for the Oscar winning-film.

Nicole Bianco is the Scenic Designer this season and without hesitation choose CHARLOTTE’S WEB, saying her copy the E. B. White’s classic was a gift from her brother. “I cried so much I was unable to be consoled. I couldn’t understand how the author could kill the spider?”

“BLACK LIKE ME,” said Guest Director and Actor Dennis Predovic, choosing John Howard Griffin’s controversial and ground breaking novel published in 1976. “It forever changed the way I thought about race.”

“JANE EYRE,” said Laura Esterman, a visitor to the theatre this day who has appeared in past productions. “Reader, I married him,” she quoted. “I was gone from the first line.”

“UNCLE TOM’S CABIN,” said MichaelJohn McGann, a Guest Director who has appeared on the Monomoy Stage as actor and director since 1972. “Like Dennis’s experience with BLACK LIKE ME, it changed my understanding of race and slavery.”

What book have you read that changed the way you thought about something or has stayed with you from that first reading?

Please join the conversation.

And join us next week for our interview with this month’s Featured Author Sally Cabot Gunning whose new book is MONTICELLO. You can meet Sally at a number of events she has scheduled this month. On September 10 from 3 to 4:30 pm, she will be signing and reading at Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich. On the 15th she will be at the Brewster Ladies Library at 7 pm. And on the 17th at 1 pm she will be at the First Annual Provincetown Book Festival. For more information visit her web site,

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