Book Buzz

WCLS staff regularly select and review books for local publications. Find our latest reviews here.

Cover image of "Here With You: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Addiction" by Kathy Wagner

Book Buzz: Here With You

Here With You: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Addiction by Kathy Wagner The opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions with virtually no place escaping its devastation. Here in Whatcom ...
Cover image for The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time by Jane Bertch

Book Buzz: The French Ingredient

The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time by Jane Bertch  Midwesterner Jane Bertch wasn’t much of a world traveler when her job in finance ...
Cover image of The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai 

Book Buzz: The Kamogawa Food Detectives

The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai  From childhood favorites to special meals with friends or family, few things bring us back to the past as immediately as the smell ...
Cover image of "Daughters of Riga" by Marian Exall

Book Buzz: Daughters of Riga

Daughters of Riga by Marian Exall Bellingham author Marian Exall trades mysteries for historical fiction with her newest title, "Daughters of Riga," which follows the lives of several women whose ...
Cover image for "This is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets" edited by Kwame Alexander

Book Buzz: This Is the Honey

This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets; edited by Kwame Alexander In 2020, poet Kevin Young, current director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and ...
Cover image of "The Night Parade: A Speculative Memoir" by Jami Nakamura Lin

Book Buzz: The Night Parade

The Night Parade: A Speculative Memoir by Jami Nakamura Lin “Maybe this isn’t a story about ghosts, but a story about telling a story about ghosts.” This genre-defying memoir uses ...
Cover image of "Brutalities: A Love Story" by Margo Steines

Book Buzz: Brutalities

Brutalities:  A Love Story by Margo Steines   Since she was a teenager, Margo Steines has been drawn to risk and self-inflicted suffering. Substance use, an abusive relationship, and careers as ...
Cover image of "Find Yourself at Home" by Emily Grosvenor

Book Buzz: Find Yourself at Home

Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life by Emily Grosvenor Emily Grosvenor is a feng shui consultant, editor of Oregon Home magazine and author of "Find Yourself ...
Cover image of "Thunder Song: Essays" by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe

Book Buzz: Thunder Song

Thunder Song: Essays by Sasha taqʷšǝblu LaPointe Sasha taqʷšǝblu LaPointe has been on many local reading lists as her debut book, "Red Paint: the Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish ...
Cover image of "The Lost Journals of Sacajawea" by Debra Magpie Earling

Book Buzz: The Lost Journals of Sacajewea

The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling Schoolchildren across the country have heard the story of Sacajawea, and can readily recall her association with the Lewis and Clark ...
Cover image from "The Frozen River" by Ariel Lawhon

Book Buzz: The Frozen River

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon  It’s winter 1789 in Hallowell, Maine. Midwife Martha Ballard is summoned to the town’s tavern to attend a patient. When she arrives, Martha is ...
Cover image of "The Storm We Made" by Vanessa Chan

Book Buzz: The Storm We Made

The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan In this evocative novel set in British-colonized Malaya, a chance encounter sets off a chain of events that irrevocably alters a family’s life ...
Cover image of "Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World" by Henry Grabar

Book Buzz: Paved Paradise

Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World by Henry Grabar Why are so many places expensive, unsafe, and unwalkable? In Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World, journalist Henry Grabar ...
Cover image of "Still Life with Bones: Genocide, Forensics, and What Remains" by Alexa Hagerty

Still Life with Bones

Still Life with Bones: Genocide, Forensics, and What Remains by Alexa Hagerty In this unique memoir, anthropologist Alexa Hagerty brings us behind the scenes of her time working with globally ...
Cover image for "Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food & Love" by Kim Fay

Book Buzz: Love & Saffron

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay Love & Saffron is a heartfelt epistolatory novel of long-distance friendship. Through beautifully crafted letter exchanges, Kim ...
Cover image of "Hula" by Jasmin 'Iolani Hakes

Book Buzz: Hula

Hula by Jasmin 'Iolani Hakes Now that winter has finally arrived in Whatcom County, readers might enjoy a literary escape to warmer climes, and “Hula: a Novel” by Jasmin ‘Iolani ...
Cover image of "The Ways of Water" by Teresa H. Janssen

Book Buzz: The Ways of Water

The Ways of Water by Teresa H. Janssen “Life, like a river, can take some sharp twists and turns. People can shift as much as a water’s course. There are ...
Cover image of "How the Other Half Eats" by Priya Fielding-Singh

Book Buzz: How the Other Half Eats

How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America by Priya Fielding-Singh “How the Other Half Eats” takes an in-depth look at the American family’s ...
Cover image of "Roaming" by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Book Buzz: Roaming

Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki High school best friends Zee and Dani have always dreamed of visiting New York City together. In Roaming, they reunite in Manhattan for ...
Book cover of "Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed" by Dashka Slater

Book Buzz: Accountable

Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater It began with a meme. A single image that an ...

Book Buzz: Working Boats: An Inside Look at Ten Amazing Watercraft

"Working Boats: An Inside Look at Ten Amazing Watercraft" by Tom Crestodina For many of us, the working vessels that ply local waters and the people who work aboard are ...

Book Buzz: 2023 Literary Gift Guide for All Ages

It may seem strange for a public library system to publish an annual gift guide, but hear us out: All of the books mentioned in the 2023 roundup are gifts, ...
The cover of The Wok has a black background with the title in white type. There is a stylized drawing of a wok.

Book Buzz: The Wok: Recipes and Techniques

The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji López-Alt The 2023 winner of the Washington State Book Award for General Nonfiction, J. Kenji López-Alt, is not a flash-in-the-pan. His first ...
Cover image of "The Book of (More) Delights: Essays" by Ross Gay

Book Buzz: The Book of (More) Delights

The Book of (More) Delights: Essays by Ross Gay In this sequel to The Book of Delights (2019), Ross Gay is back with even more digressions about delight. This book ...
Cover image for "Congratulations, the Best is Over! Essays" by R. Eric Thomas

Book Buzz: Congratulations, the Best Is Over!

Congratulations, the Best Is Over!: Essays by R. Eric Thomas In this new collection of laugh-out-loud funny essays, R. Eric Thomas picks up where his last memoir (Here For It, ...

Book Buzz: Where the Language Lives: Vi Hilbert and the Gift of Lushootseed

Where the Language Lives by Janet Yoder Vi taqʷšɘblu Hilbert was 49 years old when she got a phone call that changed the course of her life.  Thom Hess, a ...
Open Book: A Festival for Readers. Sunday November 5, noon to 5 p.m.

Book Buzz: Launched: Whatcom County Poets with New Titles in 2023

Former Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest will host a night of diverse poetry as part of an inaugural festival. “Launched: Whatcom County Poets with New Titles in 2023” will ...
Book cover features a painting of a woman in Elizabethan dress.

Book Buzz: O Lady, Speak Again

O Lady, Speak Again by Danya Patterson Let’s face it, I’m not at all qualified to review this powerful book of poems on the themes of feminism, Mormon culture and ...

Book Buzz: Teaching in the Rain: The Story of North Cascades Institute

Teaching in the Rain: The Story of North Cascades Institute by John C. Miles The North Cascades inspire dreamers. Count among them a group of five friends who, beginning in ...
Cover image of "The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession" by Michael Finkel

Book Buzz: The Art Thief

The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession by Michael Finkel Stéphane Breitwieser’s crimes seem almost unfathomable. In the span of 6 years, from 1995 ...
Cover Image of "Edison's Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History's Greatest Geniuses" by Katie Spalding

Book Buzz: Edison’s Ghosts

Edison's Ghosts: The Untold Weirdness of History's Greatest Geniuses by Katie Spalding You know their names. You might even know their famous accomplishments. But do you know how truly, well, ...

Book Buzz: The Creative Act: A Way of Being

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin Legendary music producer and founder of Def Jam Recordings Rick Rubin is known for his light touch with artists and ...
Cover image of Ryler Dustin's book of poetry shows a trailer at night with one lit window.

Book Buzz: Trailer Park Psalms: Poems

Trailer Park Psalms: Poems by Ryler Dustin Ryler Dustin’s latest book of poetry, “Trailer Park Psalms,” is a slender volume of poems that speaks to readers with a quiet voice.  ...

Book Buzz: I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer

I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer by Robert Lashley I have read and heard Robert Lashley’s work for more than 15 years. He has published three books of poetry ...

Book Buzz: Phoebe’s Diary

Phoebe's Diary by Phoebe Wahl Welcome to Bellingham. The year is 2006. Teenagers smoke weed, play pool at Kendrick’s and rent movies from Trek Video. Flirting happens via flip phone ...
Cover image of "Yellowface" by R.F. Kuang

Book Buzz: Yellowface

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang “Bad Art Friend” meets psychological thriller in this pacy, satirical page-turner. June Hayward is a struggling author whose debut novel flopped. Her college friend, Athena Liu, ...
Cover image of "Amerian Mermaid" by Julia Langbein

Book Buzz: American Mermaid

American Mermaid by Julia Langbein This splashy debut novel is part Hollywood satire, part girl-power eco-thriller. High school English teacher Penny moves to LA for the summer to adapt her ...

Book Buzz: No Two Persons

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister Some people mark summer by road trips and barbecues. Book lovers track the season by the pages we’ve read. Like Jenga pieces, we pull ...
Cover image from "Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club" by J. Ryan Stradal

Book Buzz: Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal  It seems natural that Ned and Mariel would end up together. After all, they were both raised in the ...
Cover image for "No Two Persons" by Erica Bauermeister

Book Buzz: No Two Persons

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister At first glance, you might not understand the connection between the theme of this novel – the magic and power of story – and ...
Book cover shows a street in a small town.

Book Buzz: The Least of Us

The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth by Sam Quinones The Least of Us takes us into the lives of ...
The cover of Cascadia Field Guide is tan with images of flora and fauna.

Book Buzz: Cascadia Field Guide

Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry edited by Elizabeth Bradfield, CMarie Fuhrman and Dereky Sheffield The collection Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry is a love story masquerading as a ...
Book cover of The Making of a Rescuer features a photo of Otto Trott on a trail.

Book Buzz: Making of a Rescuer

Making of A Rescuer: An Otto-biography of the Life of Otto T. Trott, MD by Nicholas Campbell Corff If you’ve ever taken a run down the Ottobahn between Chair 8 ...
Cover image for "Romantic Comedy" by Curtis Sittenfeld

Book Buzz: Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld As a writer for late-night comedy show “The Night Owls”, Sally’s career is pretty much her life, and she’s okay with it. Between working long ...
Cover image of "Much Ado About Nada" by Uzma Jalalludin

Book Buzz: Much Ado About Nada

Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalalludin Canadian author Uzma Jalaluddin is known for contemporary romances that recast classic stories with fresh, modern settings and people. Her latest novel, Much ...
The yellow cover of Jane Wong's memoir, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City, features a multi-colored hermit crab with family photos inset in the outline.

Book Buzz: Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City: A Memoir by Jane Wong Some memoirists paint the past with soft edges, intentionally or perhaps subconsciously smoothing out the rough bits and lingering ...
The book cover of Caitlin Scarano's The Necessity of Wildfire shows power lines, trees and a building roofline against an orange sky.

Book Buzz: The Necessity of Wildfire

The Necessity of Wildfire: Poems by Caitlin Scarano Have you ever sat with a friend late into the night, listening as their stories turn from interesting memories to cries for ...
Cover of Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire Dederer

Book Buzz: Monsters

Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire Dederer I have been waiting to read Claire Dederer’s “Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma” since approximately 7:50 p.m. June 22, 2017. So, when it arrived ...
Book cover of "A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them" by Timothy Egan

Book Buzz: A Fever in the Heartland

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan Seattle author Timothy Egan is adept at bringing history ...
Cover image of "Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands" by Kate Beaton

Book Buzz: Ducks

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton Katie loves her hometown of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. But growing up, she knows that one day she must leave ...
Cover image of "Confidence" by Rafael Frumkin

Book Buzz: Confidence

Confidence by Rafael Frumkin Ezra Green is a smart, bored high schooler who winds up in juvie for selling fake drugs to his classmates. It’s there he meets Orson: charming, ...
Book cover image for "Finding Elevation: ear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain" by Lisa Thompson

Book Buzz: Finding Elevation

Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain by Lisa Thompson Washington state is home to many notable big-mountain climbers past and present. Names such as Whittaker ...
Book cover of "Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution" by Rainn Wilson

Book Buzz: Soul Boom

Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution by Rainn Wilson Viewers of the sitcom The Office may wonder why the guy who played the “beet-farming, paper-selling, tangentially Amish man-baby ...
Cover image of "I Have Some Questions for You" by Rebecca Makkai

Book Buzz: I Have Some Questions for You

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai The Granby School is an elite institution with a history marred by the scandalous murder of student Thalia Keith in 1995 ...
Cover image of "Our Best Intentions" by Vibhuti Jain

Book Buzz: Our Best Intentions

Our Best Intentions by Vibhuti Jain Vibhuti Jain’s compelling, character-driven novel introduces readers to a fresh new voice in fiction. In the affluent suburb of Kitchewan, Babur Singh believes he ...
Cover image of "Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World" by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West

Book Buzz: Calling Bullshit

Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in A Data-driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West Ahh, spring in Whatcom County! The stench of cow manure wafts over ...
Rose Quartz by Sasha LaPointe and I Sing the Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State edited by Rena Priest

Book Buzz: Rose Quartz and I Sing the Salmon Home

Rose Quartz: Poems by Sasha taqʷšblu LaPointe and I Sing the Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State edited by Rena Priest Just in time for National Poetry Month, there are ...
Book cover of "Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again" by Johann Hari

Book Buzz: Stolen Focus

Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari If you've ever Googled "how to get my brain to focus" or lamented your lost ...
Cover image of "Patricia Wants to Cuddle" by Samantha Allen

Book Buzz: Patricia Wants to Cuddle

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen The Bachelor meets Bigfoot in this wacky page-turner. The cast and crew of reality dating show The Catch travel to a remote island ...
Cover image of "Small Game" by Blair Braverman

Book Buzz: Small Game

Small Game by Blair Braverman Writer and dogsledder Blair Braverman has faced down nature on dozens of real-life adventures. After she became violently ill on an episode Naked and Afraid ...
Whatcom Reads logo

Whatcom READS announces 2024 selection

Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe is the Whatcom READS 2024 book selection. Jess Walter, author of the 2023 featured title, The ...
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Book Buzz: The Swimmers

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka It takes a minute to dive below the surface of Julie Otsuka's third novel, "The Swimmers," because its style and point of view, told initially ...
Cover of "111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss" by Harriet Baskas

Book Buzz: 111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss

111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss by Harriet Baskas February and March can be challenging months here in the Pacific Northwest. Snow is on the ground as ...
Book covers of titles mentioned in this article: Rebel Voices, The women of the Copper Country, Deep River, The Wobblies

Book Buzz: The Cold Millions further reading

Whatcom READS season is in full swing, and now that you've had a chance to read Jess Walter's novel "The Cold Millions," you can dig deeper by availing yourself of ...
You are not broken by K J Casperson, M.D.

Book Buzz: You Are Not Broken

You Are Not Broken: Stop "Should-ing" All Over your Sex Life by KJ Casperson Nestled between articles on China's approach to COVID-19, Ukraine's cyber-defense program and needle exchanges in New ...
Cover image of "Meredith, Alone" by Claire Alexander

Book Buzz: Meredith, Alone

Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander You might think that just because Meredith has not left her house in 1,214 days, she’s lonely. Far from it! After all, Meredith has her ...
Cover image of "Now Is Not the Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson

Book Buzz: Now Is Not the Time to Panic

Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson Many summers ago, Frankie was a bored teenager in a small town. Messing around with an old copy machine one ...
Better than we found it by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

Book Buzz: Better Than We Found It

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick and Porsche Joseph Intended as an introduction to topics of the day for a teen audience, adult ...
Book covers for the first three titles mentioned in this post: Special Topics in Being a Human, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, and Still Life

Book Buzz: The Gift of Books

Season's Readings: The Gift of Books Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa … December is a time of celebration, and in many traditions, that celebration takes the form of gift-giving. As ...
Book cover of "Soccernomics" by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski

Book Buzz: Soccernomics

Soccernomics: Why European Men and American Women Win and Billionaire Owners Are Destined to Lose by Simon Kuper and Stefan Syzmanski Fans of the "beautiful game" who are finding it ...
Book cover of "A Little Bit of Land" by Jessica Gigot

Book Buzz: A Little Bit of Land

A Little Bit of Land by Jessica Gigot Jessica Gigot did not grow up on a farm, nor did she set out to become a farmer. Nevertheless, today Gigot owns ...
Cover image for "The Waters Are Rising: Stories of Inspiration and Hope From the Sumas, Washington Flood of November 2021" by Carl Crouse

Book Buzz: The Waters Are Rising

The Waters Are Rising: Stories of Inspiration and Hope from the Sumas, Washington Flood of November 2021 by Carl Crouse Early on the morning of Nov. 15, 2021, all roads ...
Book cover of "On Fragile Waves" by E. Lily Yu

Book Buzz: On Fragile Waves

On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu This year's Washington State Book Award winner for fiction is E. Lily Yu's astonishing novel "On Fragile Waves," about two Afghan children whose ...
Cover image of "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" by Gabrielle Zevin

Book Buzz: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin Drop what you’re doing and prepare yourself to fall hard for this absorbing story of loss, love and video games. Sam and ...
Cover image for "All That's Left Unsaid" by Tracey Lien

Book Buzz: All That’s Left Unsaid

All That's Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien It’s 1996, and Ky Tran has left her tiny hometown of Cabramatta and her Vietnamese immigrant community to scratch out a future as ...

Book Buzz: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley If you're in the mood for a satisfying, twisty thriller laced with contemporary and traditional Native American culture, Angeline Boulley's debut novel starts with a ...
Book cover for "Think Black: A Memoir" by Clyde W. Ford

Book Buzz: Think Black

Think Black: A Memoir by Clyde W. Ford Few people have lives as varied and interesting as Bellingham's own Clyde Ford. In his professional life, he's been a chiropractor, a ...
Book cover of "The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with recipes)" by Kate Lebo

Book Buzz: The Book of Difficult Fruit

The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes) by Kate Lebo Mixing culinary history, personal reflections and tantalizing trivia, poet and pie aficionado Kate ...
Book covers for "A Psalm for the Wild-built" and "A Prayer for the Crown-shy", the first two books in the Monk and Robot series by Becky Chambers

Book Buzz: Monk and Robot series

Monk and Robot series by Becky Chambers In the gentle, hopeful future world of the 'Monk and Robot' series by Becky Chambers, Sibling Dex, a tea monk on the planet ...
Book cover of The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl, with a photo of Dave Grohl taken from the side

Book Buzz: The Storyteller

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but many of us Northwesterners claim Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl as one ...

Book Buzz: 52 Ways to Nature

52 Ways to Nature: Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year by Lauren Braden Now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, signaling summer has finally arrived ...

Book Buzz: The Family Chao

The Family Chao by Lan Samatha Chang Lan Samantha Chang’s latest novel, “The Family Chao,” centers around a murder, but it’s less of a whodunit than a psychological study of ...

Book Buzz: Everything Left to Remember

Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, and A Journey Through the Rocky Mountains by Steph Jagger Bainbridge Island author Steph Jagger follows up her memoir “Unbound” with “Everything ...

Book Buzz: Northwest Know-how: Beaches

Northwest Know-how: Beaches by Rena Priest Nature lovers and poetry enthusiasts have a couple of chances to meet a local treasure, Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest. Priest will be ...
Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso

Book Buzz: Very Cold People

Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso If Edith Wharton wrote Ethan Frome in 1986, it might look like Very Cold People. Also set in a fictional Massachusetts town, Sarah Manguso’s ...
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Book Buzz: The Swimmers

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka At the community pool, obsessive lap swimmers adhere to a strict, unspoken social code. They stick to their lanes and keep an eye out for ...
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Book Buzz: Black Cake

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson. FRUIT, RUM, SUGAR, spices — their mother Eleanor’s black cake is a family tradition that runs throughout Benny and Byron’s childhoods, tying them to their ...
Tell Me an Ending by Jo Harkin

Book Buzz: Tell Me an Ending

Tell Me an Ending by Jo Harkin. Our lives are shaped by our memories. They influence our understanding of the world, and through them we develop our sense of self ...

Book Buzz: Orhan’s Inheritance

Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian Long before President Biden declared Russia’s Ukraine war “genocide,” and long before the word was first coined during World War II to describe Nazi Germany’s ...

Book Buzz: The Salt Fields

The Salt Fields by Stacy D. Flood In spare prose with haunting images, Stacy D. Flood’s novella, “The Salt Fields,” tells of a Black man’s train journey north, leaving South ...

Book Buzz: Murder at the Mission

Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West by Blaine Harden Whether you’re a “Whittie,” know someone who attended Whitman ...

Book Buzz: Of Blood and Sweat

Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth by Clyde W. Ford Over his distinguished writing career, Bellingham author Clyde Ford has entertained and ...

Book Buzz: Writer in a Life Vest

Writer in a Life Vest: Essays from the Salish Sea by Iris Graville As the first-ever writer-in-residence for the Washington State Ferries System, Iris Graville’s office was a booth on ...
Red Paint, the ancestral biography of a coast salish punk by Sasha taqwšeblu LaPointe

Book Buzz: Red Paint

Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of A Coast Salish Punk by Sasha taqwšeblu LaPointe An Indigenous artist from the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian tribes, Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe, shares her ...

Book Buzz: Little Witch Hazel

Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest by Phoebe Wahl Move over llamas, foxes and rainbow unicorns — this is the year of the gnome. The fuzzy, pointy-hatted fellows ...

Book Buzz: Hiking Washington’s History

Hiking Washington's History by Judy Bentley and Craig Romano A few sunny days are all it takes to start getting excited about hiking season. One way to add variety to ...

Book Buzz: Shoal Water

Shoal Water by Kip Robinson Greenthal Meeting in 1971 at a Vietnam anti-war rally, Kate and Andy’s beliefs about U.S. involvement in Vietnam inspire them to leave New York City ...

Book Buzz: This Land of Snow

This Land of Snow: A Journey Across the North in Winter by Anders Morley When setting off on a solo cross-country ski journey during the coldest months of a Canadian ...

Book Buzz: Astra

Astra by Cedar Bowers Canadian writers Cedar Bowers and Michael Christie may be the latest literary power couple. Christie’s book “Greenwood” — which was reviewed last week in the Cascadia Daily News ...

Book Buzz: The Ministry for the Future

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson This year’s Whatcom READS title, “Greenwood” by Michael Christie, imagines the near future, where eco-tourists pay top dollar to experience one ...

Book Buzz: Small World

Small World by Jonathan Evison Screeching brakes, shattering glass, passenger names on a manifest, a retirement party that never happens. Jonathan Evison shows his hand on the first page of ...

Book Buzz: Mud, Rocks, Blazes

Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail by Heather "Anish" Anderson In summer 2013, Bellingham-based Heather “Anish” Anderson set the fastest, unsupported time on the Pacific Crest Trail ...

Celebrate local with these holiday gift ideas

Cascadia Revealed: A Guide to the Plants, Animals & Geology of the Pacific Northwest Mountains by Daniel MathewsOld Barns of Whatcom County: Photos and Poems by Jeff BarclayInside My Sea ...

Book Buzz: The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave Sometimes when the world is heavy, a book that’s not too complicated and not too dark can be just the thing ...

Book Buzz: At the Edge of the Haight

At the Edge of the Haight by Katherine Seligman One night several years ago while driving through Golden Gate Park, journalist Katherine Seligman and her husband were stopped by a ...
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Book Buzz: Damnation Spring

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson Set in the redwood forests of Northern California near the Oregon border, Ash Davidson’s impressive debut novel, Damnation Spring, tells the story of a logging ...

Book Buzz: Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and A Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch The recent media frenzy over the murder of 22-year-old Gabby Petito is drawing ...

Book Buzz: The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw It’s not surprising that Deesha Philyaw’s story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies was a National Book Award finalist. Her ...

Book Buzz: The Anthropocene Reviewed

The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-centered Planet by John Green What do Canada Geese, Diet Dr. Pepper, and the song “Auld Lang Syne” have in common? In the mind ...

Book Buzz: Hippie Food

Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman There is no shortage of “hippie food” in Bellingham. Between the Wednesday and Saturday Farmers ...

Book Buzz: Great Circle

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead Author Maggie Shipstead was not on my radar until picking up her latest novel, Great Circle, and now I’m wondering how I missed her previous ...

Book Buzz: Under the Wave at Waimea

Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux Known primarily as a travel writer, Paul Theroux’s latest novel definitely incorporates his skill for deeply observing and writing about different locales ...

Book Buzz: The Exiles

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline Scorching summer days call for some escape reading—engrossing books that transport you to another time and place so you can ignore the heat at ...

Book Buzz: The Glass Hotel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel Sometimes a novel comes along that is atmospheric and beautiful and so enigmatic it begs discussion. The Glass Hotel by Emily St ...

Book Buzz: Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner Michelle Zauner, the indie rock sensation who records as Japanese Breakfast, was only 25 years old when she lost her mother ...

Book Buzz: Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s

Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's by Tiffany Midge Tiffany Midge may be the snarkiest, funniest writer to pass through Whatcom County in recent memory. Bury My Heart at ...

Book Buzz: The Sum of Us

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee As the former president of the progressive think tank, Demos, Heather McGhee spent ...

Book Buzz: Interior Chinatown

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu Charles Yu’s book Interior Chinatown is a swift kick to the gut—an unexpected, powerful jab at stereotypes and anti-Asian racism that manages to be hilarious ...

Book Buzz: Oscars 2021 Read-alikes

The results of a Google keyword search for “watch Academy Award movies” are full of invitations to stream and watch online using various paid-subscription platforms. In past years, the Oscars—a ...

Book Buzz: Dear Edward

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano On the surface, the storyline of Dear Edward is simple: a flight from Newark to LAX crashes, killing all passengers save a 12-year-old boy who ...

Book Buzz: A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings and Honey and Venom

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes and Honey and Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper by Andrew Coté While the first hints of spring arouse anticipation in ...

Book Buzz: Who Gets In and Why

Who Gets In and Why: a Year Inside College Admissions by Jeffrey Selingo First, a warning: If you are a high school senior or parent of a high school senior currently ...

Book Buzz: Let My People Go Surfing

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard Everywhere you look in Whatcom County, Patagonia clothing is ubiquitous. Maybe it’s because so many of ...

Book Buzz: The Cold Millions

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter Among the many excellent fiction writers in Washington state putting out great work these days—Jonathan Evison and Jim Lynch among them—Jess Walter (pictured) stands ...

Book Buzz: Wintering

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May Life is full of times when events may cause us to drop out of the flow for ...

Book Buzz: Finding Dorothy

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts Before the ubiquity of DVDs and Netflix, families wishing to share a little movie magic by watching the annual rebroadcast of MGM’s The Wizard of ...

Book Buzz: Holiday Gift Picks

It’s been a long and challenging year, and many of us are having trouble concentrating enough to read or just want feel-good reading. To that end, this year’s suggestions for ...

Book Buzz: The Most Dangerous Man in America

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD by Bill Minutaglio For those who think the past four years ...

Book Buzz: Uncharted

Uncharted: A Couple's Epic Empty-nest Adventure Sailing From One Life to Another by Kim Brown Seely As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the prospect of chucking it all and sailing off ...

Book Buzz: The Pull of the Stars

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue In an overcrowded hospital in the heart of Dublin during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, Nurse Julia Power works long hours ...

Book Buzz: Transcendent Kingdom

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi While Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, was epic in scope, weaving together generations of voices covering 300 years of life in both Ghana and America, ...

Book Buzz: Migrations

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy Although author Charlotte McConaghy has published eight young adult books in Australia, she makes her U.S. debut with her first adult title Migrations, a haunting meditation ...

Book Buzz: Warlight

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje The minute you scan the first line of Michael Ondaatje’s graceful novel Warlight you are aware that you’re in the hands of a master storyteller. His ...

Book Buzz: The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett When writing her new novel, The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett never dreamed its subject matter would be so timely at publication. The book opens ...

Book Buzz: The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Escapism seems to be in order these days, and sometimes a twisty mystery is just the ticket for ...

Book Buzz: The Dutch House

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett Bel Canto, the exquisite novel about an opera singer and a dozen guests held hostage at a South American embassy, came out in 2001 ...

Book Buzz: What It’s Like to Be a Bird

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing: What Birds are Doing, and Why by David Allen Sibley One of the things I’ve enjoyed ...

Book Buzz: Seveneves

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson For a brief moment on Sat., May 30, the world’s attention soared beyond the earth, following the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon on its first ...

Book Buzz: Understanding Structural Racism

As the shock wave created by the video of George Floyd’s murder continues to reverberate, people—especially white people—are asking “What can I do? How can I be an ally?” and ...

Book Buzz: The Truffle Underground

The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World's Most Expensive Fungus by Ryan McMahon Jacobs Authors and publishers have learned that ...

Book Buzz: Greenwood

Greenwood by Michael Christie Like the rings of a mighty tree, Michael Christie’s recent novel Greenwood spans generations, telling the story of a family whose lives are inextricably connected with trees and ...

Book Buzz: Pandemic Fiction

Playing the board game Pandemic recently, it was oddly comforting to have a role in eradicating the virus and fighting the good fight with our team of scientists, researchers and ...

Book Buzz: The Ghost Map

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World With reports of COVID-19 dominating the news cycle and the worldwide ...

Book Buzz: Highway of Tears

Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Jessica McDiarmid Ramona Wilson, a bright, bubbly ...
The Woman's Hour

Book Buzz: The Woman’s Hour

The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine F. Weiss This year is a big one for democracy: Not only is it a presidential election year, ...

Book Buzz: The Word is Murder

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz Chances are, you’ve read one of British author Anthony Horowitz’s novels or seen one of his television shows. With more than 40 books ...

Book Buzz: To the Bright Edge of the World

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey If you’re looking for an engrossing novel to carry you beyond any holiday chaos and onward through the dark days ...

Book Buzz: Gift Picks

A basic philosophy shared by librarians and booksellers alike is that there is a book for every reader. Books make great gifts for this reason, and the book experts at ...

Book Buzz: In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond

In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch by John Zada Standing between six and 10 feet tall, long-armed, stooped posture, giving off a strong bad ...

Book Buzz: Prairie Fires

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser Anyone who remembers reading the “Little House” books as a kid or watching Melissa Gilbert play Laura and ...

Book Buzz: After the Flood

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag Climate fiction, also known as “cli-fi” (referential to sci-fi), explores what life on earth will be like if climate change and global warming continue ...

Book Buzz: Climber’s Corner

Book Buzz: If you Liked My Old Man and the Mountain by Leif Whittaker You may have heard that it’s Whatcom County Library System’s 75th anniversary year, and to celebrate ...

Book Buzz: Deep River

Deep River by Karl Marlantes In his debut novel, Matterhorn, based on his experiences as a Marine in Vietnam, Pacific Northwest author Karl Marlantes established himself as a master of ...

Book Buzz: Before the Wind

Before the Wind by Jim Lynch Several years ago, Whatcom READS featured Jim Lynch’s excellent novel Border Songs, about a dutiful, extremely tall, bird-loving rookie Border Patrol officer and his ...

Book Buzz: The History of Living Forever

The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff Precocious, brilliant Conrad Aybinder just spent summer vacation working with his favorite teacher to develop a winning science fair competition entry for ...

Book Buzz: The Way Home

The Way Home: Tales from a Life without Technology by Mark Boyle Mark Boyle is no stranger to remaking himself. In the fall of 2008, he embarked on an experiment ...

Book Buzz: Paddling With Spirits

Paddling With Spirits: A Solo Kayak Journey by Irene Skyriver Some people throw themselves a dance party for their 40th birthday. Irene Skyriver chose to celebrate hers with a solo ...

Book Buzz: The Great Pretenders

The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian Just in time for hammock season comes local author Laura Kalpakian’s latest novel (her 16th), The Great Pretenders.  Set in Hollywood in the 1950s, ...
Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Book Buzz: Beauty is a Wound

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan There are times when you happen upon a book and are completely blown away by its scope, craft and story. Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty ...

Book Buzz: A Fire Story

A Fire Story by Brian Fies 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 ...

Book Buzz: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran There’s something really fun and escapist about hard-boiled detective novels, and Sara Gran’s first Claire DeWitt mystery, Claire DeWitt ...

Book Buzz: Golden Child

Golden Child by Claire Adam You might expect a celebrity like Sarah Jessica Parker to have her own fragrances (she does) or line of shoes (she has that too). But ...

Book Buzz: Fox 8

Fox 8 by George Saunders Back in 1995, there was a fabulous movie about a little pig who learns to herd sheep; maybe you remember it? My husband and I ...
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Book Buzz: Books that Suit You

It can be challenging to find your next great read, but the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) has stacked the deck in your favor. To celebrate our 75th anniversary and ...
Cover image of Deep Creek by Pam Houston

Book Buzz: Deep Creek

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam Houston Pam Houston was 31 years old when her first book, a collection of short stories titled Cowboys are My ...
Things that Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett

Book Buzz: Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett The Super Bowl may be over and the New England Patriots’ sixth championship win noted in the record books, but there’s ...
Vox by Christina Dalcher

Book Buzz: Vox

Vox by Christina Dalcher It’s the near future, and all women and girls across the United States are required to wear word counters that limit them to 100 words per ...
A Home on the South Fork: An Early History of Acme by Margaret A. Hellyer

Book Buzz: A Home on the South Fork

A Home on the South Fork: An Early History of Acme by Margaret A. Hellyer After reading A Home on the South Fork: An Early History of Acme by Margaret ...
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Buzz: Unsheltered

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver With trademark style, Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, Unsheltered, tackles political and social justice issues through the story of two families inhabiting the same house, separated by ...
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

Book Buzz: Virgil Wander

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger Leif Enger’s first book in a decade (So Brave, Young, and Handsome was published in 2008) is a gentle, charming antidote to all that ails ...

Book Buzz: Season’s Readings

What We Keep: 150 People Share the One Object that Brings Them Joy, Magic, and Meaning by Bill Shapiro and Naomi Wax1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-changing ...
The 57 Bu by Dashka Slater

Book Buzz: The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater At Whatcom County Library System (WCLS), we believe that the act of reading offers readers a window into other people’s lives, and that reading ...
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Book Buzz: See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt As the days get shorter and chillier and the specter of Halloween looms, creepy thrillers have seasonal reading appeal. In See What ...
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Book Buzz: The Library Book

The Library Book by Susan Orlean Susan Orlean loves libraries, but she didn’t set out to write a book about them. In fact, the bestselling nonfiction author and staff writer ...
The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

Book Buzz: The Golden State

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling After the forest fires that raged across California recently, it’s hard to imagine the scenery of the high desert as brown and grassy but ...
Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Book Buzz: Hope Never Dies

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer Joe Biden in retirement is not a pretty picture: grouting bathroom tile, napping and watching Barack’s globetrotting adventures with the likes of Bradley Cooper ...
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Book Buzz: Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier Twenty-five years ago, Canadian serial killer Karla Homolka struck a plea deal with prosecutors in return for her testimony that her husband, Paul Bernardo, ...
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Book Buzz: The Great Believers

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a spot-on portrayal of the devastation and heartbreak of the AIDS crisis and the lasting legacy of those ...
There There by Tommy Orange

Book Buzz: There There

There There by Tommy Orange Tommy Orange did not grow up around books or aspire to be a writer. A recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of ...
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Book Buzz: Lawn Boy

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison When Bainbridge Island author Jonathan Evison visited Whatcom County in 2017 as part of the Whatcom READS program, we met a gregarious, intelligent, self-destructive and ...
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Book Buzz: The Ensemble

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel I If you need a little extra inspiration before shelling out for tickets to one or more of the many performances taking place at the ...
Educated by Tara Westover

Book Buzz: Educated

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover In her time studying at Harvard and Cambridge, Tara Westover often discovered profound gaps in her knowledge. Teachers would refer to specific events or ...
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Book Buzz: Crazy, Rich Asians

Crazy, Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan In library school (yes, there’s such a thing, it’s a master’s program in Library and Information Science that trains professional librarians) students learn Rosenberg’s ...
The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah by Adam Valen Levinson

Book Buzz: The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah

The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East by Adam Valen Levinson With the recent news that Saudi Arabia will soon be offering tourist visas, ...
Shrill by Lindy West

Book Buzz: Shrill

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West The word “shrill,” evocative and onomatopoetic, conjures high-pitched, grating voices. It’s used derogatorily, and it’s often aimed at women. Author Lindy ...
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Book Buzz: The Immortalists

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin It’s halfway through a humid summer in 1969 on New York City’s Lower East Side, and the four Gold siblings are restless. There is no ...
The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Book Buzz: The Turtle of Oman

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye When news headlines emphasize violence and strife, it can be comforting to engross oneself in a “gentle read,” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s ...
Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

Book Buzz: Read, Then Watch

Read, Then Watch: The Power of Protests(DVDs related to this year's Whatcom READS selection, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist) If you haven’t yet picked up ...
The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe

Book Buzz: The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom

The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe The refugees arrive with nothing, not even the language, having escaped violence, poverty, unspeakable loss. Their ...
The Water Will Come by Jeff Goddell

Book Buzz: The Water Will Come

The Water will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell Flash forward to 2050. Most of Blaine and Birch Bay are underwater, ...

Book Buzz: The Oscars, Reading vs. Viewing

Every January, buzz about the Academy Awards starts to build in anticipation of the big event in March. And every year, I make a resolution to see more of the ...
My Old Man and the Mountain by Leif Whittaker

Book Buzz: My Old Man and the Mountain

My Old Man and the Mountain by Leif Whittaker Tales of climbing Mt. Everest are filled with legendary figures: George Mallory, Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Reinhold Messner, Scott Fischer, ...

Book Buzz: Holiday Reads for Bibliophiles

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul The Futilitarians: Our ...
The Unsettlers by Mark Sundeen

Book Buzz: The Unsettlers

The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today's America by Mark Sundeen Journalist Mark Sundeen’s previous book was about a man who has successfully lived without money for ...
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

Book Buzz: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison Sometimes a book’s title really draws in readers, but the 2017 Whatcom READS! selection, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, sounds more like ...
The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on A Pacific Northwest Island by Kathleen Alcalá

Deep Roots: Finding Food and Community

The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island by Kathleen Alcalá  Sustainability. Buy local. Support local farmers. All are mantras of the Pacific Northwest. But how ...