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Motherhood by the Book

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 02/12/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, February 12, 2pm  

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter 2023 Whatcom READS selection!

An intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and betrayal set against the panoramic backdrop of an early twentieth-century America that eerily echoes our own time, The Cold Millions offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation grappling with the chasm between rich and poor, between harsh realities and simple dreams.

Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, and Citizen Vince, the winner of the Edgar Award for best novel. His short fiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 03/12/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, March 12, 2pm  

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
 
In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced a crisis: the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag for her with a few items, and, soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the sack in spare, haunting language. 
 
Historian Tiya Miles carefully traces these women’s faint presence in archival records, and, where archives fall short, she turns to objects, art, and the environment to write a singular history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States. All That She Carried is a poignant story of resilience and love passed down against steep odds. It honors the creativity and resourcefulness of people who preserved family ties when official systems refused to do so, and it serves as a visionary illustration of how to reconstruct and recount their stories today
 

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 04/16/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, April 16, 2pm* NOTE: This meeting is one week later than usual to avoid meeting on Easter Sunday.

A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet

A Children’s Bible follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, the children decide to run away when a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, embarking on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside. Lydia Millet’s prophetic and heartbreaking story of generational divide offers a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.

Lydia Millet is the author of A Children's Bible, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top 10 book of 2020, among other works of fiction. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters and been shortlisted for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 05/21/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, May 21, 2pm * NOTE: This meeting is one week later than usual to avoid meeting on Mother's Day.

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May

An unforgettable story about finding home in the most unusual of places, and how a tiny, little-understood insect could save a life.
Meredith May recalls the first time a honeybee crawled on her arm. She was five years old, her parents had recently split and suddenly she found herself in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper who made honey in a rusty old military bus in the yard. That first close encounter was at once terrifying and exhilarating for May. Everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees.
May turned to her grandfather and the art of beekeeping as an escape from her troubled reality. The bees became a guiding force in May's life, teaching her about family and survival, and it was during this pivotal time in May's childhood that she learned to take care of herself. Part family story, part beekeeping odyssey, The Honey Bus is a rich and lyrical memoir of a girl who journeyed into the hive--and found herself.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 06/11/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, June 11, 2pm  

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker's epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her novel The Color Purple. Her other novels include By the Light of My Father’s Smile and Possessing the Secret of Joy. She is also the author of three collections of short stories, three collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, and several children’s books. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 07/09/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, July 9, 2pm  

Paula: A Memoir by Isable Allende

When her daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and fell into a coma, Isabel Allende began to write the story of her family for her unconscious child. Bizarre ancestors are introduced; delightful and bitter childhood memories are shared; amazing anecdotes of youthful years are relived, and the most intimate secrets are quietly passed along. Like Allende’s first novel, The House of the Spirits, this powerful memoir is infused with the real, the magical, and the spiritual, creating a haunting, sad, and beautiful tale. 

Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 08/13/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, August 13, 2pm  

Kaikeyi: A Novel by Vaishnavi Patel

"I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me."

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on legends of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her. But as the evil from her childhood tales threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

Vaishnavi Patel is a lawyer specializing in civil rights. She likes to write at the intersection of Indian myth, feminism, and anticolonialism. She grew up in and around Chicago and, in her spare time, enjoys activities that are almost stereotypically Midwestern: knitting, ice-skating, drinking hot chocolate, and making hotdish. Kaikeyi is her debut novel.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 09/10/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, September 10, 2pm  

Mother Noise: A Memoir by Cindy House

In the opening of this “unexpectedly uplifting...masterfully crafted memoir” (Shelf Awareness, starred review) Cindy, twenty years into recovery after a heroin addiction, grapples with how to tell her nine-year-old son about her past. She wants him to learn this history from her, not anyone else; but she worries about the effect this truth may have on him. Told in essays and graphic narrative shorts, Mother Noise is a stunning memoir that delves deep into our responsibilities as parents while celebrating the moments of grace and generosity that mark a true friendship—in this case, her benefactor and champion through the years, David Sedaris.

This is a powerful memoir about addiction, motherhood, and Cindy’s ongoing effort to reconcile the two. Are we required to share with our children the painful details of our past, or do we owe them protection from the harsh truth of who we were before?

Cindy House is an essayist, short story writer, artist, and a regular opener for David Sedaris on his tours across the country. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned an MFA from Lesley University in 2017. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her son.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 10/08/2023 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, October 8, 2pm  

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of.

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small—their lives and their prospects—and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.

Kelly Barnhill has written several middle grade novels, including The Girl Who Drank the Moon, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for the SFWA Andre Norton Nebula Award and the PEN America Literary Award. She lives in Minneapolis with her family. 

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