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Motherhood by the Book

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, August 11, 2:00pm

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo's mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon--and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he's ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents' desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. Told from the perspective of both Daniel--as he grows into a directionless young man--and Polly, Ko's novel gives us one of fiction's most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, September 8, 2:00pm

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast

In her first memoir, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant shows the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 10/13/2019 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, October 13, 2:00pm

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel presents the epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror. 

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, November 10, 2:00pm

Southernmost by Silas House

In the aftermath of a flood that washes away much of a small Tennessee town, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew—and risks losing everything: his wife, locked into her religious prejudices; his congregation, which shuns Asher after he delivers a passionate sermon in defense of tolerance; and his young son, Justin, caught in the middle of what turns into a bitter custody battle.

With no way out but ahead, Asher takes Justin and flees to Key West, where he hopes to find his brother, Luke, whom he’d turned against years ago after Luke came out. And it is there, at the southernmost point of the country, that Asher and Justin discover a new way of thinking about the world, and a new way of understanding love.

In this stunning literary page-turner about judgment, courage, heartbreak, and change, bestselling author Silas House wrestles with the limits of belief, and with love and its consequences.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 4:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, December 8, 2:00pm

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 01/12/2020 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, January 12, 2:00pm

The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have approved the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote; one last state--Tennessee--is needed for women's voting rights to be the law of the land. The suffragists face vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations, and racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the "Antis"--women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the nation's moral collapse. And in one hot summer, they all converge for a confrontation, replete with booze and blackmail, betrayal and courage. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, The Woman's Hour is the gripping story of how America's women won their own freedom, and the opening campaign in the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 02/09/2020 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, February 9, 2:00pm

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

In the winter of 1885, decorated war hero Colonel Allen Forrester leads a small band of men on an expedition that has been deemed impossible: to venture up the Wolverine River and pierce the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. Leaving behind Sophie, his newly pregnant wife, Colonel Forrester records his extraordinary experiences in hopes that his journal will reach her if he doesn't return--once he passes beyond the edge of the known world, there's no telling what awaits him. 

The Wolverine River Valley is not only breathtaking and forbidding but also terrifying in ways that the colonel and his men never could have imagined. As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, whose understanding of the natural world is unlike anything they have ever encountered, Forrester and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead. And while the men knew they would face starvation and danger, they cannot escape the sense that some greater, mysterious force threatens their lives. 

Meanwhile, on her own at Vancouver Barracks, Sophie chafes under the social restrictions and yearns to travel alongside her husband. She does not know that the winter will require as much of her as it does her husband, that both her courage and faith will be tested to the breaking point. Can her exploration of nature through the new art of photography help her to rediscover her sense of beauty and wonder?

The truths that Allen and Sophie discover over the course of that fateful year change both of their lives--and the lives of those who hear their stories long after they're gone--forever. 

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 03/08/2020 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, March 8, 2:00pm

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Mesmerizing from the first page to the last, Kristin Hannah's Winter Garden is one woman’s sweeping, heartbreaking story of love, loss, and redemption. At once an epic love story set in World War II Russia and an intimate portrait of contemporary mothers and daughters poised at the crossroads of their lives, it explores the heartbreak of war, the cost of survival and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. It is a novel that will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.

1941. Leningrad, a once magical city besieged by war, cut off from aid, buried in snow. A city full of women desperate to save their children and themselves…

2000. Loss and old age have taken a terrible toll on Anya Whitson. At last, she will reach out to her estranged daughters. In a halting, uncertain voice, she begins to weave a fable about a beautiful Russian girl who lived in Leningrad a lifetime ago…

Nina and Meredith sit spellbound at their mother’s bedside, listening to a story that spans more than sixty years and moves from the terrors of war-torn Leningrad under siege to modern-day Alaska.

In a quest to uncover the truth behind the story, Nina and Meredith discover a secret so shocking, so impossible to believe, it shakes the foundation of their family and changes who they believe they are.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 04/19/2020 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, April 19, 2:00pm *Change from regularly-scheduled date to accommodate for Easter Sunday.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 2:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, May 17, 2:00pm *Change from regularly-scheduled date to accommodate for Mother's Day.

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O'Connell

When Meaghan O'Connell got accidentally pregnant in her twenties and decided to keep the baby, she realized that the book she needed -- a brutally honest, agenda-free reckoning with the emotional and existential impact of motherhood -- didn't exist. So she decided to write it herself.

And Now We Have Everything is O'Connell's exploration of the cataclysmic, impossible-to-prepare-for experience of becoming a mother. With her dark humor and hair-trigger B.S. detector, O'Connell addresses the pervasive imposter syndrome that comes with unplanned pregnancy, the fantasies of a "natural" birth experience that erode maternal self-esteem, post-partum body and sex issues, and the fascinating strangeness of stepping into a new, not-yet-comfortable identity. 

Channeling fears and anxieties that are still taboo and often unspoken, And Now We Have Everything is an unflinchingly frank, funny, and visceral motherhood story for our times, about having a baby and staying, for better or worse, exactly yourself.

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