Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) staff selected the book for their third annual Read & Share program during the COVID-19 pandemic when they were working from home offices. Home and family were top-of-mind when they chose author Erica Bauermeister’s memoir, House Lessons: Renovating a Life. Now, library staff invite the community to join a countywide discussion by checking out the book from the library and attending online author events and programs that explore the memoir’s themes. Events begin Sept. 16 and continue through Nov. 3. Learn more and register at wcls.org/readandshare.
House Lessons is a memoir-in-essays in which Bauermeister shares the story of her family’s hopeful renovation of a forlorn historic house in Port Townsend, Wash. It is also a moving exploration of how spaces affect us and the value of building something to last. “House Lessons encourages us to consider what we care most about in life and to do the work – even when it is hard,” says WCLS Adult Programming Coordinator Ann McAllen.
After the events of 2020, “we’re all going through a psychological re-evaluation,” Bauermeister adds. “The issues are larger than a single home renovation. We are taking stock of who we are, and who we want to be.” Bauermeister is the best-selling author of four novels and two non-fiction books. Her latest novel, The Scent Keeper, was selected as a Reese’s Book Club book. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend in the renovated home featured in House Lessons.
In addition to author events and a two-day memoir-writing workshop led by Bauermeister, WCLS staff will also host community programs that examine the concept of home and how we connect with others through shared spaces. All programs are online. Pre-register at wcls.org/readandshare.
READ & SHARE 2021 EVENTS
Featuring House Lessons: Renovating a Life by author Erica Bauermeister
Check out House Lessons from the library. It is also available as a downloadable audiobook and eBook. Then, join virtual Read & Share programs that explore the questions of how we build community.
Interview with Erica Bauermeister
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 7-8 p.m.
WCLS Collection Services Manager Lisa Gresham interviews author Erica Bauermeister. In addition to House Lessons, Bauermeister is the bestselling author of four novels: The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, The Lost Art of Mixing and The Scent Keeper, which was a Reese’s Book Club pick. Sneak peek: Lisa Gresham meets Erica Bauermeister on the WCLS podcast. Listen to their short conversation at wcls.org/podcast, episode 7, or wherever podcasts are found. Available Aug. 17, 2021. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Book Talk with Erica Bauermeister
Thursday, Oct. 14, 7-8 p.m.
The author will read from and discuss her book House Lessons: Renovating a Life. Bonus: Find Erica Bauermeister’s summer reading selections at wcls.org. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Jump Start Your Memoir with Erica Bauermeister
Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-noon
A fun, fast-paced two-day workshop for anyone who has considered – or is currently – writing their memoir. Erica Bauermeister leads the interactive sessions that are filled with exercises to “prime your writing pump.” You’ll walk away with skills to help you recall memories and to write vivid scenes. All ages and experience levels are welcome. There is no cost to attend. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Discuss House Lessons with these WCLS Book Clubs
Ferndale Book Club, Sept. 15, 2:30-4 p.m.
Foothills Book Club, Sept. 21, 7-9 p.m.
Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
COMMUNITY PROGRAMS INSPIRED BY HOUSE LESSONS
Join us for programs that examine the concept of home and how we connect with others through shared spaces.
Whatcom Homeless Service Center
Thursday, Sept. 16, 7-8 p.m.
Join us to discuss issues concerning homelessness in our county. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Historic Barns in Whatcom County
Thursday, Sept. 23, 7-8 p.m.
Learn about barn architecture in Whatcom County with photographer Jeff Barclay (Old Barns of Whatcom County) and State Architectural Historian Michael Houser. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
What Your Home Says About the World
Thursday, Sept. 30, 7-8 p.m.
Michelle Janning, sociologist and author of The Stuff of Family Life: How our Homes Reflect Our Lives, describes how home spaces and objects tell the story of what’s happening in contemporary families. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Nooksack Tribe Land and History
Saturday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-noon
Nooksack Tribal Elder George Adams shares the history of the Nooksack people and the land that has been their home since time immemorial. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Diamonds in the Rough: The Gentrification of Rural Washington
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 7-8 p.m.
Jennifer Sherman, professor of sociology, discusses both the glaring and the hidden effects of rural gentrification. A Humanities Washington event. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Poetry Reading with Elizabeth Vignali
Thursday, Oct. 21, 7-8 p.m.
In her latest book, House of the Silverfish, local poet Elizabeth Vignali explores family history through the lens of home as an idea and a physical place. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Whatcom’s Historical Places
Saturday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m.-noon
Enjoy a multimedia tour of local state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation sites. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
Traditional Places of the Lummi Nation
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 7-8 p.m.
Matt Warbus, Lummi Nation tribal member and artist, will present an informative slide presentation and perform traditional songs on flute. Registration required: wcls.org/readandshare
About Erica Bauermeister
Erica Bauermeister is the bestselling author of four novels: The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, The Lost Art of Mixing and The Scent Keeper. She is also the coauthor of 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught there and at Antioch University. With the exception of two years in Italy, Bauermeister has lived in the Pacific Northwest for nearly four decades, and her children proudly say rainwater runs in their veins. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Wash., in the house she renovated with her family. (Source: Sasquatch Books)
About the Whatcom County Library System
Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) connects people with information, ideas and community. WCLS circulates more than 2 million items annually through 10 branches, a bookmobile and a Library Express location on Northwest Drive. County residents have access to WCLS’s rich collection, including books in print and digital formats, music and movies and online digital services. Library system staff plan and host inspiring events for every age. Experience “The Power of Sharing” by visiting in person or online at WCLS.org.
About Read & Share
The Whatcom County Library System marked its 75th anniversary in 2019. As part of the year-long celebration, WCLS launched Read & Share, a countywide book club. For the inaugural Read & Share, they selected Leif Whittaker’s memoir, My Old Man and the Mountain, and welcomed the author to events at county libraries. The 2020 (virtual) Read & Share featured legendary thru-hiker Heather Anderson and her memoir, Thirst, 2600 Miles to Home.
Updated August 24, 2021