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Motherhood by the Book

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 12/13/2020 - 2:00pm

Sunday, December 13, 2:00pm

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Many Hands Make Light Work: A Memoir by Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy  *AUTHOR IS ATTENDING!

Many Hands Make Light Work is the rollicking true story of a family of nine children growing up in the college town of Ames, Iowa in the '60s and '70s. Inspiring, full of surprises, and laugh-out-loud funny, this utterly unique family champions diversity and inclusion long before such concepts become cultural flashpoints. Cheryl and her siblings are the offspring of an eccentric professor father and unflappable mother. Mindful of their ever-expanding family's need for cash, her parents begin acquiring tumbledown houses in campus-town, to renovate and rent. Dad, who changes out of his suit and tie into a carpenter's battered white overalls, like Clark Kent into Superman, is supremely confident his offspring can do anything, whether he's there or not. Mom, an organizational genius disguised as a housewife, manages nine children so deftly that she finds the time--and heart--to take in student boarders, who stir their own offbeat personalities into this unconventional household. The kids, meanwhile, pour concrete, paint houses, and, at odd moments, break into song, because instead of complaining, they sing as they work, like a von Trapp family in painters caps. Free-wheeling and contagiously cheerful, Many Hands Make Light Work is a winsome memoir of a Heartland childhood unlike any other.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 01/10/2021 - 2:00pm

Sunday, January 10, 2:00pm

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My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The New York Times bestselling book from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—“a comprehensive look inside her brilliantly analytical, entertainingly wry mind, revealing the fascinating life of one of our generation's most influential voices in both law and public opinion” (Harper’s Bazaar).

My Own Words “showcases Ruth Ginsburg’s astonishing intellectual range” (The New Republic). In this collection Justice Ginsburg discusses gender equality, the workings of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book’s sampling is selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, who introduce each chapter and provide biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted.

Witty, engaging, serious, and playful, My Own Words is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America’s most influential women and “a tonic to the current national discourse” (The Washington Post).

 

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 02/07/2021 - 2:00pm
WA

Sunday, February 7, 2:00pm  *Note: We are meeting one week earlier this month.

Join us for a discussion of the 2021 Whatcom READS selection.  Register here to access the meeting!

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Eleven-year-old George Washington Black—or Wash—a field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is initially terrified when he is chosen as the manservant of his master’s brother. To his surprise, however, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning, and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.
But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, they must abandon everything and flee together. Over the course of their travels, what brings Wash and Christopher together will tear them apart, propelling Wash ever farther across the globe in search of his true self. Spanning the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, London to Morocco, Washington Black is a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, and of a world destroyed and made whole again.

Esi Edugyan is author of the novels The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Half-Blood Blues, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
 

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 03/14/2021 - 2:00pm

Sunday, January 10, 2:00pm

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The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings—and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.

For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift society up, you need to stop keeping women down.

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book—to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.”

Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Core to her work is empowering women and girls to help them realize their full potential. In 2015, Melinda created Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company that enables her to bring together other new and emerging strands of her advocacy and philanthropic work focused in the US. Melinda received a bachelor’s degree from Duke and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School. After joining Microsoft Corp. in 1987, she helped develop many of the company’s multimedia products. In 1996, Melinda left Microsoft to focus on her philanthropic work and family.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 04/11/2021 - 2:00pm

Sunday, April 11, 2:00pm

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The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

Anissa Gray is a Senior Editor at CNN Worldwide and a contributor to Emmy and DuPont-Columbia award-winning coverage of some of the most consequential stories of our time. She began her career at Reuters as a reporter, based in New York, covering business news and international finance. Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, Gray studied English and American literature at New York University. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her wife.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 05/16/2021 - 2:00pm

Sunday, May 16, 2:00pm *Note: We are meeting one week later than usual to avoid meeting on Mother's Day.

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The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir by E. J. Koh

A tale of deep bonds to family, place, language—of hard-won selfhood told by a singular, incandescent voice.
The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love—letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.
As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history—her grandmother Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre—and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words—in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language—to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love? Eun Ji Koh fearlessly grapples with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma, arriving at insights that are essential reading for anyone who has ever had to balance love, longing, heartbreak, and joy.
The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing—in Eun Ji Koh—a singular, incandescent voice.

E. J. Koh is the author of poetry collection A Lesser Love, winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize (Louisiana State U. Press, 2017). Her poems, translations, and stories have appeared in Boston Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, World Literature Today, among others. She is the recipient of The MacDowell Colony and Kundiman fellowships, 2017 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship, and is Runner-Up for the 2018 Prairie Schooner Summer Nonfiction Prize.

 

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