Holiday Reads

More than stocking stuffers

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All of these titles are available in various formats from your library; to request, visit http://www.wcls.org if you live in Whatcom County or http://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org if you live within Bellingham city limits. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bibliophiles looking to gift books or simply stock up on reading material for the holidays might enjoy these new titles that express the power of reading to entertain, inspire, comfort, teach and build bridges.

As a librarian and lifelong book lover, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks is my new “go-to” book to give to friends and family who are avid readers. Recognizing the significant role that certain books have played in her life, librarian Annie Spence sets pen to paper and writes letters to them. This charming and clever collection includes adoring letters to her favorite books, breakup letters to books that have disappointed her, and “good riddance” letters to tomes that annoy her.

She even writes a letter to the Public Library Children’s Section, reminding the books about the importance of kids falling in love with reading so they can understand all the possibilities available to them. “Be a place of peaceful comfort and rowdy imagination and encourage lots of plan-making for the future,” she writes. “Don’t ask anything in return. You have to give it all away.”

Be aware that your “want to read” list will grow significantly if you finish this book. You may also find yourself wistfully recalling favorite books from the past and penning your own love letters to them.

Do you keep a list of everything you read? If not, My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul might inspire you to do so. In Bob (her “Book of books”), Paul keeps track of every book she has ever read. More than simply a list of books, Bob’s entries become shorthand for major events in Paul’s life and how her reading choices both responded to those events and shaped who she has become.

At a deeper level, My Life with Bob delights in exploring why we read and the powerful relationship between book and reader. Paul was dumbstruck when someone in her book group (made up of literary agents, teachers, editors and authors—“hard-core book people” in her words) asked the group members “Why do you read?” It’s a simple question, but one many of them could not immediately answer. As they talked, members recognized how much their primary reasons for reading shifted over time. “I read for entertainment,” might become “I read to learn,” or to make sense of the world, to escape, because it makes me happy—why do you read?

Book-lovers with a philosophical or existentialist bent will want to crack Anne Gisleson’s The Futilarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading. Gisleson describes the experiences of a group of friends who, surrounded by loss and change in post-Katrina New Orleans, decide to meet monthly to explore these feelings. They call their group the Existential Crisis Reading Group; selections are eclectic, ranging from Kafka, Tolstoy, and Dante Alighieri to the King James Bible’s Book of Jonah, Fight Club, and The Giving Tree.

Gisleson’s specific grief involves the death of her father, an iconic and larger-than-life lawyer who gave pro bono time to represent death row inmates at Angola, as well as the loss of twin sisters, both to suicides. These book group meetings with other seekers provided sustenance, helping Gisleson come to terms with the tragedies of family loss and the devastation wreaked on her community by Katrina.

Lisa Gresham is the Collection Support Manager for Whatcom County Library System. Between bookseller and librarian, books have been her livelihood for almost 30 years.

Paradise Silver Reef
More Words...
Noémi Ban
Holocaust survivor and educator

Noémi Ban, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who became an outspoken advocate and educator on the horrors of the Holocaust and the enduring power of love and tolerance, was laid to rest at the age of 96 in a memorial service this week.

Ban had been a frequent speaker…

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Cliff's Edge
From actress to author

Meg Tilly no longer thinks of herself as a movie star, but the actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her titular role in the 1985 film Agnes of God—playing a novice nun who insists the baby she gave birth to in her room was the result of a virgin conception—hasn’t entirely…

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A Fire Story
Burning down the house

A recent report by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center and the National Interagency Fire Center calling for this year’s wildfire potential to be “above normal” in the Pacific Northwest may have Whatcom County residents already thinking about the threat of local fires and another summer…

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Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Smart Business Leadership Series

11:30am|Connections Classroom

Wellness Wednesdays

12:00pm|Riverwalk Plaza

Wednesday Farmers Market

2:00pm|Barkley Village Green

Ferndale Book Group

2:30pm|Ferndale Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Calypso Kitchen

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Bellingham Mayoral Forum

6:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Marina Albero and Jeff Johnson

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Trove Web
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

High Tea Fundraiser

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Dig Deep

3:00pm|Deming Library

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Van Gogh for the Youth


Ales & Sails

6:00pm|Bellingham Bay

Van Gogh for the Youth

6:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

The Song Wranglers

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Building a Secure Water Future

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Good Time Girls Season Kickoff Party

7:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Chuckanut Radio Hour

7:00pm|Whatcom Community College


7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Stepsisters, a Dance Story

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park


7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

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Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Stepsisters, a Dance Story

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild


7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

The Present Sense

8:30am|Make.Shift Art Space

Wild Things

9:30am|Marine Park

Chuckanut Writers Conference

10:00am|Whatcom Community College

Summer Bazaar Craft Sale

10:00am|Cedar Grove Park clubhouse

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Orcas Island Bicycle Tour

12:00pm|Orcas Island

Ferndale Farmers Market

2:00pm|1750 LaBounty Dr.

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Hot Sauce and Salsa Festival

5:00pm|Aslan Depot

The Double Trouble Band

5:00pm|Semiahmoo Marina

Keys for Kids

5:30pm|Stepping Stones Garden

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

On Trend Dance Show

7:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Longest Day 10K

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

The Dance Studio presents Rubies

7:00pm| Mount Baker Theatre

Writer's Block, PainProv

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

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