What it is
Whatcom READS is an annual opportunity for all of Bellingham and Whatcom County to read the same book and join together in conversation. It is organized by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and our community partner, Village Books.
The vision and goal is to expand our community dialogue by encouraging neighbors talking with neighbors about great literature, important issues, and the joy of reading and sharing these experiences. This project thrives thanks to significant funding from Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library Foundation, and support from other businesses and organizations.
How it works
Each year, a new book is selected by Whatcom READS organizers. Community members are encouraged to read or listen to the book, share it with family, friends, and book clubs, and participate in programs and special events that follow the themes in the book.
Each series culminates with a visit by the author of the selected book, who makes numerous free-of-charge presentations at locations throughout the county in early March.
Whatcom READS operates through a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a governing board that includes a representative from each partner organization, including the Bellingham Public Library.
2021 Book Selection – Washington Black
Washington Black is the third novel by Esi Edugyan and was included in numerous best books of the year lists when it was published in 2018.
The title character George Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master’s eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, “Wash” is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or “Titch,” is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning.
Join the Conversation
Numerous speaker events have been scheduled to discuss the multiple themes present in the novel including racial justice, science and the beauty of the natural world. See the Whatcom READS website for full details on the following events, as well as art and writing activities.
Dec. 5, 2020, 11 a.m. – noon
January 14, 2021, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
January 23, 2021, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
January 25, 2021, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
February 5, 2021, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
February 11, 2021, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
February 13, 2021, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
February 20, 2021, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
February 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Conversations with the Author: Esi Edugyan
March 4 – 5, 2021, (details to be determined)
More information about Whatcom READS, including a schedule of events, videos of past events, and much more, available on the Whatcom READS website.