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Motherhood by the Book

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 12/12/2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St.
Bellingham, WA 98225

Sunday, December 12, 2pm

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung

This beloved national bestselling memoir is an extraordinary, honest, nuanced and compassionate look at adoption, race in America and families in general (Jasmine Guillory, Code Switch, NPR)
What does it means to lose your roots--within your culture, within your family--and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up--facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn't see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from--she wondered if the story she'd been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets--vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

Nicole Chung is the author of the nationally bestselling memoir All You Can Ever Know. Named a Best Book of the Year by two dozen publications, All You Can Ever Know was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a semifinalist for the PEN Open Book Award, an Indies Choice Honor Book, and an official Junior Library Guild Adult Crossover Selection. Chung's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, GQ, TIME, Longreads, and Vulture, among others, and she also writes a weekly Care and Feeding advice column for Slate. She is the editor-in-chief of the National Magazine Award-winning Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 01/09/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, January 9, 2pm

Greenwood by Michael Christie  2022 Whatcom READS selection!

A magnificent generational saga that charts a family’s rise and fall, its secrets and inherited crimes, from one of Canada’s most acclaimed novelists.

It’s 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world’s last remaining forests. It’s 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It’s 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father’s once vast and violent timber empire. It’s 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple-syrup camp squat, when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades.

And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood, and blood—and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.

Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize • “A rugged, riveting novel . . . This superb family saga will satisfy fans of Richard Powers’s The Overstory.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“There are plenty of visionary moments laced into [Christie’s] shape-shifting narrative. . . . Greenwood penetrates to the core of things.”—The New York Times Book Review

Michael Christie is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Kirkus Prize and selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. His linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, Christie divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber-frame house that he built himself.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 02/13/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, February 13, 2pm

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs  *In celebration of Black History Month!

Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King, and Louise Little were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women. These three extraordinary women passed their knowledge to their children with the hope of helping them to survive in a society that would deny their humanity from the very beginning—from Louise teaching her children about their activist roots, to Berdis encouraging James to express himself through writing, to Alberta basing all of her lessons in faith and social justice. These women used their strength and motherhood to push their children toward greatness, all with a conviction that every human being deserves dignity and respect despite the rampant discrimination they faced.

These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of Black people to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America’s racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families’ safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers.

These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.

Praise for The Three Mothers:

"Tubbs' connection to these women is palpable on the page — as both a mother and a scholar of the impact Black motherhood has had on America. Through Tubbs' writing, Berdis, Alberta, and Louise's stories sing. Theirs is a history forgotten that begs to be told, and Tubbs tells it brilliantly."
— Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning

A New York Times Bestsellers Editors' Choice
One of theSkimm's "16 Essential Books to Read This Black History Month"
One of Fortune Magazine's "21 Books to Look Forward to in 2021!"
One of Badass Women's Bookclub picks for "Badass Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021!"
One of Working Mother Magazine's "21 Best Books of 2021 for Working Moms"
One of Ms. Magazine's "Most Anticipated Reads for the Rest of Us 2021"
One of Bustle's "11 Nonfiction Books To Read For Black History Month — All Written By Women"
One of SheReads.com's "Most anticipated nonfiction books of 2021"

Anna Malaika Tubbs is a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate in sociology and a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, Anna received a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge in multidisciplinary gender studies. Outside of the academy she is an educator, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant, and the First Partner of Stockton, California. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, who is the mayor of Stockton, and their son, Michael Malakai.

VB Reads...Motherhood By the Book

Sun, 03/13/2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
1200 11th St
Bellingham, WA 98225-7015

Sunday, March 13, 2pm

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum  *AUTHOR WILL BE JOINING US!

From the winner of the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction comes a “heartwarming and sharp-witted debut” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) set over one emotionally charged weekend at an animal sanctuary in western Kansas, where maternal, romantic, and community bonds are tested in the wake of an estranged daughter’s homecoming.

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals is in trouble.

It’s late 2016 when Ariel discovers that her mother Mona’s animal sanctuary in Western Kansas has not only been the target of anti-Semitic hate crimes—but that it’s also for sale, due to hidden financial ruin. Ariel, living a new life in progressive Lawrence, and estranged from her mother for six long years, knows she has to return to her childhood home—especially since her own past may have played a role in the attack on the sanctuary. Ariel expects tension, maybe even fury, but she doesn’t anticipate that her first love, a ranch hand named Gideon, will still be working at Bright Side.

Back in Lawrence, Ariel’s charming but hapless fiancé, Dex, grows paranoid about her sudden departure. After uncovering Mona’s address, he sets out to confront Ariel, but instead finds her grappling with the life she’s abandoned. Amid the reparations with her mother, it’s clear that Ariel is questioning the meaning of her life in Lawrence, and whether she belongs with Dex or someone else, somewhere else.

Acclaimed writer Pam Houston says that “Mandelbaum is wise beyond her years and twice as talented,” and The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals poignantly explores the unique love and tension between mothers and daughters, and humans and animals alike. “A story of reconciliation and forgiveness (and so many animals)” (Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus), Mandelbaum’s debut offers a panoramic view of the meaning of home and reminds us that love provides refuge, and underscores our similarities as human beings, no matter how alone or far apart we may feel.

Becky Mandelbaum is the author of Bad Kansas, winner of the 2016 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the 2018 High Plains Book Award for First Book. Her work has appeared in One Story, The Sun, The Missouri Review, The Georgia Review, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and has been featured on Medium. She has received fellowships from Writing by Writers, a residency from The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and has taught at Seattle’s Hugo House. Originally from Kansas, she currently lives in Washington State. The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals is her first novel.

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