The 2022 Whatcom READS selection is the generational saga Greenwood by Canadian author Michael Christie. With trees as a guiding metaphor, Greenwood charts a family’s rise and fall and the “hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.”
“We think local readers will enjoy not only author Michael Christie’s writing and the book’s inventive structure but also the themes found in Greenwood,” says Whatcom READS committee chairwoman Ann McAllen. “Whatcom READS invites our community to read and discuss the same book. With Greenwood, we can explore together questions of climate change, family, Pacific Northwest botany, intersectional environmentalism and so much more. The list of community programs is rich and varied, but it all starts with the book.”
Visit whatcomreads.org to learn more about Greenwood, author Michael Christie and the free community programs that enrich the reading experience.
Community events inspired by the 2022 Whatcom READS selection, Greenwood
Most programs are online. On-site events have limited participation. Pre-registration is required. Find more information and register at whatcom.reads.org or via the links below.
Mushrooms of the PNW – Sustaining People and Soils
All fungi have an important role in the ecosystem. Myecilia of mushroom store incredible amounts of carbon underground. In this richly illustrated presentation, author and researcher Daniel Winkler will help you identify mushrooms while steering you clear of dangerous look-a-likes.
ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8
Botany of the Pacific Northwest
There are over 3,000 native plant species in Washington state yet many people can’t tell a fir from a hemlock or a calyx from a corolla. By putting names to these plants, we can begin to understand the important role each one plays in keeping our planet healthy and well fed.
ONLINE, 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Dec. 11
Climate Fiction and Climate Change Literature
Professor Stephen Siperstein will explore how climate change literature, and particularly climate change fiction (also known as cli-fi), can be a source of radical hope in our burning world.
ONLINE, 11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 22
Tapping Bigleaf Maples for Syrup: How the Impossible Became Possible
Some of the rarest and tastiest maple syrup is tapped right here in Whatcom County — sustainably! Hear this Acme farm’s history — and future plans — from owner Neil McLeod and others during an intriguing on-site tour. Space is limited; pre-registration is required.
11 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Jan. 29. Directions will be sent to registered participants.
Poetry reading with Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest
Join Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest for a poetry reading focused on the themes in this year’s Whatcom Reads selection, Greenwood.
ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3
Intersectional Environmentalism: The Key to Fighting Racism and Climate Change
Communities of color and low-income communities have carried the heaviest burden of environmental injustice, but these communities have been excluded from the conversations, including science policy and outdoor recreation. Scientist Emily Pinkney shares how to combat the racism embedded within the environmental movement, resulting in more impactful solutions for the planet.
ONLINE, 7-8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10
Introduction to Forest Bathing
Join April Claxton, Among the Trees PNW, for an introduction to Forest Bathing. This is a slow walk with guided exercises using our senses to connect to the forest. Most of our time together will be spent in silence at a local park. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.
10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 19. Event details will be sent to registered participants.
A Million More Trees for Whatcom County? YES!
In this interactive Q&A webinar with Executive Director Michael Feerer, you’ll learn the why, who, what, and where and how of Whatcom Million Trees Project’s exciting initiatives to plant one million trees in Whatcom County over the next five years.
ONLINE, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17
The Woodstock Farm Story – and its Fruitful Future
Discover the storied history of this wonderful 16-acre City of Bellingham waterfront park along Chuckanut Drive, and its orchard planting in-progress that will enhance local food resiliency while keeping the character of this special site.
ONLINE, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 24
Author events with Michael Christie
The author visits Whatcom County to discuss the book and his creative process. Event details and locations will be announced.
Allied Arts Whatcom READS Challenge
Submit your original artwork inspired by Greenwood for display at the Allied Arts Gallery in Bellingham.
Submission deadline is March 1-2. Exhibition is March 3-31. Learn more at alliedarts.org/whatcom-reads-art-challenge.
Attend a reading by local writers whose work was selected for the 2022 Whatcom WRITES anthology. Pre-registration is required for both events.
In-person at Village Books in Fairhaven, 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20
Online, 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27
About Whatcom READS: Northwest Washington’s premier annual literary event, Whatcom READS celebrates reading, readers and strong communities through the shared experience of one book. Entering its 14th year, Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County – Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Whatcom County Library System. Village Books is Whatcom READS’ community partner. Learn more at whatcomreads.org.
About Michael Christie and Greenwood: MichaelChristie is also the author of the highly regarded novel If I Fall, If I Die and the linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden. His work has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His essays and book reviews appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, the author divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber-frame house that he built.
Here’s how the Whatcom READS selection committee describes the book: “Set in the Pacific Northwest, Michael Christie’s GREENWOOD opens in the near future in one of the last surviving old growth forests. The narrative skillfully navigates a cross section of generations, themes and times. As Christie peels back those layers, he exposes the heartwood of what it means to struggle, survive and thrive; in essence, what it means to be human. This rich, well-paced tale delivers poignant writing with interesting characters.”