“I picked up ‘Night Train to Lisbon’ by Pascal Mercier from the Staff Picks rack at the Burbank Branch of the Portland Public Library. First, I’m so grateful to return to the tactile sensation of selecting a book from the stacks, being drawn to the cover design, and flipping it over to see if the review quotes resonate. Second, hurray for librarians, who never disappoint!

“The novel, translated from German, tells the story of middle-aged Gregorius, a Swiss man who is suddenly moved to quit his current life and sets off to learn more about the Portuguese writer of a memoir he picked up in a bookstore. He unwraps the life of Prado through interactions with a cast of memorable characters and discovery of past events, including resistance to the Salazar dictatorship. In the process, of course, he awakens to his own self-discovery. The author’s skillful writing beautifully takes on themes of regret, languages, love and loss, books and the power of new perspective. Even though the novel was an international best seller, I likely would have missed it without the recommendation, so am passing it on.” — STEPHANIE EGLINTON, Portland

Mainers, please email to tell us about the book on your bedside table right now. In a paragraph or two, describe the book and be sure to tell us what drew you to it. As the pandemic lingers, we want to hear what you are reading in these unsettled times and why. Send your selection to pgrodinsky@pressherald.com, and we may use it as a future Bedside Table.

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