Bookshelf Roundup

The writing about what you know edition


Some people write books that are designed to transport readers out of their everyday existence and into fantastical worlds. Other scribes, however, draw upon their own experiences to share larger lessons about the world. In the next week, three authors will bring attention to their stories in ways that may change your life.

He may be 77 years old, but author, scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, Suzuki’s age seems to be spurring him forward in his fight against climate change. Since he co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, he’s been trying to “find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us.” Clean oceans, clean energy, sustainability and the aforementioned climate change are the foundation’s priorities, and many of the 52 books Suzuki’s written—such as Time to Change, It’s a Matter of Survival, The Sacred Balance, and David Suzuki’s Green Guide—focus on ways humans can adapt their behaviors to help Mama Earth survive. When the visionary comes to Western Washington University May 6 as part of the school’s annual Japan Week, he’ll present a lecture dubbed “Time is Running Out: Ecology or Economics.” The community at large is invited to the free event, and the hope is that you’ll listen closely and take what Suzuki has to say to heart. When: 12pm Mon., May 6. Where: Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, WWU. Cost: Free. Info:

Rebecca Lerner doesn’t have as many years, or books, under her belt as Suzuki does, but the messages she’s hoping to send by sharing her memoir, Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness, is also largely an environmental one. In the tome, the Oregon-based author shares tales about the many ways she’s discovered to use an array of wild plants “hiding in plain sight.” In addition to focusing on ways to utilize them for food and medicine, Lerner also delves into anthropology, urban ecology and sustainability in the timely book, which she’ll reference when she visits later this week. When: 7pm Tues., May 7. Where: Village Books, 1200 11th St. Cost: Free. Info:

When she left the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp at the age of 13, it’s likely Noemi Ban was more focused on survival than she was with using her story to better the world. But, as readers will soon discover when reading her autobiography, Sharing is Healing: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story, Ban—who lost most of her family to the horrors of the death camp—learned to take the tragedy and use it as a tool for education. If you have questions that arise after reading the book or hearing the Whatcom County resident speak, ask them now, as the number of survivors from the holocaust is rapidly dwindling, and the ones who want to talk about their experiences are rare. Ban will be available for a Q & A following her May 9 presentation, so don’t miss the opportunity to learn from history. When: 6pm Thurs., May 9. Where: Western Washington University Library. Cost: Free, but reservations are required. Info:

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