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Mission Book Possible #19

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The BookFinder is a month old!

With more than 1,980 books already in this new database, we’ve created a fun way for readers to go on a sapphic book finding mission. Four prizes of a $15 Amazon gift card will be awarded in drawings on November 9, 16, 23, and 30. For complete rules, click here.


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Now let’s get to today’s tale: The Arrival of the Mayflower in America

The legacy that the occupants of the Mayflower would go on to leave in their new home is still being wrestled with in the present day, but there is little doubt that for the passengers aboard the ship, November 19, 1620 was a very good day. After 10 grueling weeks crossing the Atlantic, the first sight of Cape Cod in the distance had to have been a sight for sore eyes.

When the Pilgrims first embarked on their journey, they had planned to arrive in October. Anyone who has been to present day Massachusetts (home of IHS Headquarters) knows this is a great time to visit. Unfortunately, this group of religious separatists who had already fled England for Holland because of their differences of opinion with the Church of England and were seeking to establish a new Jerusalem on faraway shores, ran into troubles from the start.

Though their exiled congregation had over 400 members in Leiden, Netherlands, they decided to send only the youngest and strongest to America. Ultimately, about half the 102 Mayflower passengers were “Pilgrims” and the other half were “strangers,” as they called the non-separatist passengers onboard. They intended to travel in two boats, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. Both ships departed from England on August 5, 1620, but the Speedwell sprang several leaks and they had to return for repairs. Despite their best efforts, the Speedwell wasn’t up to the journey, so those passengers who were still determined to go had to crowd onto the already very full Mayflower. This was in the days before deodorant, mind you.

The delays meant the Pilgrims were already running late, short on both supplies and money, by the time they hit the open seas. The weather started out fine but was treacherous for the second half of the trip, and the entire ordeal was most unpleasant. Amazingly, there was only one fatality, a young servant named William Butten. There was also one birth, a baby boy who would be named Oceanus Hopkins. When they finally spotted land on November 19, they were very far from their intended destination of Virginia, having been blown 500 miles off course! They would spend two more days battling high winds before finally dropping anchor in Provincetown Harbor, and another 5 weeks in Cape Cod before making their way to the abandoned Wampanoag settlement of Patuxet, which they would rename Plymouth, and where they would settle permanently. Much to the consternation of the Wampanoag people, no doubt, who had already dealt with nearly being wiped out by an epidemic three years before and really could not have been thrilled with coming back to find their village full of people in funny hats. And yet, they helped the Pilgrims survive their first winter, which was a very decent thing to do.

Why, other than the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, would we choose to highlight this group of zealots who, let’s face it, really weren’t all that nice when it comes right down to it? One simple reason. Every October in present day Provincetown, Massachusetts, hundreds of (mostly) queer women gather from all around the world to celebrate Women’s Week, and when they do, the towering Pilgrim’s Monument can be spotted in nearly every smiling selfie that is snapped. Cape Cod is also where the Mayflower Compact was signed, credited with establishing the rule of law in this new land. If Congress does its job properly in the next few weeks, the rule of law in this land of ours will finally include a federally protected right to same sex marriage. We’re sure the Pilgrims would be thrilled with this development.

To mark to occasion of the arrival of the Mayflower in Cape Cod, we’re asking readers to go to the BookFinder and look up books in the following Archetype category: Adventurer / Explorer / World Traveler.

Find a book you haven’t read yet, or if you come across an old favorite, share it and tell us why. To enter the giveaway, share your entry in the Facebook group.

Remember, the more days you play, the more entries you’ll receive for the $15 Amazon gift card, so don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another Book Finding Mission.

Authors, if your books aren’t in the database yet, we highly recommend you submit them now. Here’s the form.

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