Whatcom Reads

One book to rule them all

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cheryl Strayed won’t be visiting Whatcom County until late February, but that shouldn’t stop those who haven’t yet read her bestselling memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, from finding a copy and doing so as soon as possible.

The reason for the push for alacrity is because of the annual community-wide reading and discussion program known as Whatcom Reads, which kicks off this week and continues until Strayed makes her way back to the area for public readings Feb. 24-25 in Bellingham.

Because Strayed’s book—the one chosen for Whatcom Reads for 2014—deals primarily with the time she spent hiking more than 1,100 miles on the grueling Pacific Coast Trail in her early 20s, many of the events that will take place during the next eight weeks will focus on topics having to do with the great outdoors, and also what happens when you bring those experiences inside.

To kick things off, local author and mystery writer Pam Beason will offer a “Writing Wilderness: A Winning Setting for Great Fiction” workshop Jan. 11 at the Blaine Library. Beason will discuss how to make a compelling setting out of what can be found in nature, and talk about how her passion for wild places (and wild animals) influences her writing.

For those who’d like a closer look at the expansive Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) system Strayed focused on—and trekked through—Whatcom Museum’s Jeff Jewell has put together a tabletop display of the history of the PCT that focuses on its founder, Catherine Montgomery, who hailed from Bellingham. The display is at the Deming Library through Jan. 15, and will then be at North Fork Library until Jan. 30, and at the Bellingham Public Library until Feb. 4.

Other gatherings in coming weeks will include discussions with PCT record setter Heather Anderson (another notable local), book talks everywhere from Village Books to the Bellingham Public Library and beyond, meetings about “Grief as Transformer,”  gatherings focused on ways to write your own memoir, a traveling quilt show with Wild at its core, and more.

If, like me, you devoured the book when it was published in 2012, now might be the time to go back and give it a second read. It’s an inspiring tale, and one that deals with much more than the physically exhausting aspects of pushing your body to its limits.

At its core, Wild is about coming to terms with the future when the past hasn’t always been kind. It’s the kind of writing that demands the reader pay attention. If you follow that directive, it’s likely you’ll learn something, too. And then, thanks to Whatcom Reads, you can learn even more.

3 Oms 8th Anniversary (Spotlight)
More Words...
Western Reads
Tulalip, From My Heart

We hear much of property rights and fourth-generation settlers in the Fourth Corner—but where and how were the rights to that property originally obtained? From the people who were here first, obviously. Treaties are the famous mechanism that made such transfers legal; a less obvious one…

more »
Fear is Fear
A Colony in a Nation

There have been a number of important post-Ferguson books examining the rise of militant policing, prison privatization, epidemic incarceration rates of black and brown people, and gun violence. I was skeptical that Chris Hayes’ new book, A Colony in a Nation, could add a fresh…

more »
Strange Sojourn
The last true hermit

Among the residents of North Pond, there was a legend: a hermit who emerged from the forest to ransack homes, taking food and gear and books. Items disappeared almost without a trace; you were sure you’d left batteries in the drawer, but suddenly they were gone. There were…

more »
BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Back to the basics


Ski to Sea Race

7:00am|Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Images of Resilience Farewell

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Fairhaven Festival

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Audubon at the Museum

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Art of Jazz


Open Mic

7:00pm|Village Books


9:30pm|Green Frog

Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Fermented Vegetables

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Gather Round

7:00pm|Honey Moon Mead & Cider

Chamber Concerts

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

see our complete calendar »

Lester and Hyldahl Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1