Special Events

Village Books and North Cascades Institute present The Nature of Writing Speaker Series Fall 2018

As the days grow shorter here in Cascadia, head into fall with new books that explore and celebrate the natural wonders of the world! Join Village Books and North Cascades Institute in welcoming writers to Bellingham to share their latest works. From poetry to art and photography and a cross country journey, you'll learn more about our wondrous planet through the voices of our country's most gifted nature interpreters.

All readings are free and take place at the Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham

Thursday, September 20, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Ray Troll & Kirk Johnson / Fossil Coastline

In this long-awaited sequel Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll are back on a road trip--driving, flying, and boating their way from Baja, California to northern Alaska in search of the fossil secrets of North America's Pacific coast. They hunt for fossils, visit museums, meet scientists and paleonerds, and sleuth out untold stories of extinct worlds. As one of the oldest coasts on earth, the west coast is a rich ground for fossil discovery. Its wonders include extinct marine mammals, pygmy mammoths, oyster bears, immense ammonites, shark-bitten camels, polar dinosaurs, Alaskan palms, California walruses, and a lava-baked rhinoceros. Join in for a fossil journey through deep time and discover how the west coast became the place it is today.

In his studio on a hill above Tongass Narrows in rainy Ketchikan, Alaska, Ray Troll creates fishy images that swim into museums, books and magazines, and onto t-shirts worn around the world. He draws his inspiration from extensive field work and the latest scientific discoveries, bringing a street-smart sensibility to the worlds of ichthyology and paleontology.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Sneed Collard / Warblers & Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding

 From the killer bee-infested border region of southeast Arizona to the sultry islands of the Galapagos, Warblers & Woodpeckers recounts the quest of a father and his thirteen-year-old son to see as many birds as possible in a single year. With a measured blend of humor, natural history, and adventure, this tale takes readers to great birding hot-spots of America and beyond, both to experience their incredible avian wealth and to experience the focused, often eccentric, world of ornithological travel. Along the way, readers share the ups and downs of the relationship between a father and his teenage son.

Sneed B. Collard III is the author of more than seventy-five books, along with countless magazine articles for both children and adults. The Collards live in Missoula, Montana, you can learn more about Sneed at sneedbcollardiii.com and his father-son birding at FatherSonBirding.com.

Saturday, September 29, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Paul Willis / Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades

In 2015, Paul Willis served as an artist-in-residence at our Environmental Learning Center in the heart of the North Cascades National Park. This collection of poems about the local flora and fauna is was the result of his time spent there. From Douglas squirrels to Douglas firs, from fairy slippers to cinnamon bears, follow his trail through the mountains and meadows of an American alpine treasure. Deer at Twilight will bring you into quiet places and leave you standing, open to the evening air, long after its pages are closed.

Deer at Twilight is one of four finalists in the "Mountain Fiction and Poetry" category of the 2018 Banff Centre for the Arts Mountain Book Competition—the winner will be chosen next month.

 Paul J. Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California. Born in Fullerton, California, he grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. Paul’s passions for teaching and the forest merged in his work as a mountain guide in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. He is the author of four collections of poetry—Visiting Home (2008), Rosing from the Dead (2009), Say This Prayer into the Past (2013), and Getting to Gardisky Lake (2016).

Thursday, October 4, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Paul Souders / Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear

Paul is a well-known, Seattle-based wildlife photographer and he writes humorously of his misadventures over four summers of photographing Polar Bears in his small C-dory in Canada’s Hudson Bay. The book includes 35 of his stunning color images and he’s developed a highly entertaining slide presentation to accompany his talk. He’s also been invited to present at the PNBA Author’s on the Map event this year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Beth Jusino / Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles of the Camino de Santiago

In April 2015, Beth and Eric Jusino, laden with backpacks and nerves, walked down a cobblestone street in Le Puy, France and turned west. Seventy-nine days, a thousand miles, two countries, two mountain ranges, and three pairs of shoes later, they reached the Atlantic Ocean. It turned out to be harder than she thought; Beth is not an athlete, not into extreme adventures, and not a risk-taker. She didn't speak a word of French when she set out and her Spanish was atrocious—but she can tell a story. In Walking to the End of the World, she shares with wry humor and infectious enthusiasm, the joys and travails of undertaking such a journey. She evocatively describes the terrain and the route’s history, her fellow pilgrims, the villages passed, and the unexpected challenges and charms of the experience. Beth’s story is also about the assurance that an outdoor-based, boundary-stretching adventure is accessible to even the most unlikely of us. In her story, readers will feel that they, too, can get off their comfortable couches and do something unexpected and even spectacular. 

Beth Jusino is an award-winning writer, editor, and book publishing consultant in Seattle. She’s the author of The Author's Guide to Marketing, and she has ghostwritten or collaborated on half a dozen additional titles. She is a member of the Northwest Independent Editors Guild, a regular speaker for Seattle Public Library’s #SeattleWrites workshops and Sno-Isles Library’s #WriteNow program, and has taught at dozens of additional writers’ conferences and book festivals across the country.

Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:30pm at WCC Heiner Theater
Robert Michael Pyle / Magdalena Mountain

We are thrilled to welcome back Robert Michael Pyle to Bellingham! Join us and Saul Weisberg, our founder and executive director, as he engages Bob in conversation on Village book's Chuckanut Radio Hour. Bob has been a part of the North Cascades Institute community since the very beginning as an instructor for field-based courses like natural history of butterflies, creative writing and Pacific Northwest ecology.

 In Magdalena Mountain, his first and long-awaited novel, the award-winning naturalist proves he is as at home in an imagined landscape as he is in the natural one. At the center of this story of majesty and high mountain magic are three Magdalenas—Mary, a woman whose uncertain journey opens the book; Magdalena Mountain, shrouded in mystery and menace; and the all-black Magdalena alpine butterfly, the most elusive of several rare and beautiful species found on the mountain.

 Robert Michael Pyle grew up and learned his butterflies in Colorado, where he fell in love with the Magdalena Alpine and its high-country habitat. He took his Ph.D. in butterfly ecology at Yale University, worked as a conservation biologist in Papua New Guinea, Oregon, and Cambridge, and has written full-time for many years. His twenty-two books include Wintergreen (John Burroughs Medal), Where Bigfoot Walks (Guggenheim Fellowship), and Sky Time in Gray’s River (National Outdoor Book Award). He lives in rural southwest Washington State and still studies butterflies. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Jill Lightner / Scraps, Peels and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home

All across the country perfectly edible food is being thrown away. Every month nearly 20 pounds of food per person is thrown out in the United States, and we consumers are the worst offenders. In support of our Foodshed Initiative, we are excited to promote this reading from Jill Lightner to help us all reduce waste, save money and eat healthier!

Scraps, Peels, and Stems is a comprehensive and accessible guide to how you can reduce food waste in your daily life. Food journalist Jill Lightner shows how to manage your kitchen for less waste through practical strategies, tips, and advice on food purchasing, prep, composting, and storage. From beef bones, Parmesan rinds, and broccoli stems to bruised apples and party leftovers, Jill explains what to do with unused food, and how to avoid the extras in the first place. With attitude, a sense of humor, and the acceptance that none of us are perfect, Jill helps all of us understand some of the larger social, economic, environmental, and agricultural issues around food and its exorbitant waste.

Writer and editor Jill Lightner has long explored the economics, environmental concerns, and flavors of the food system. Most recently she was the co-editor of Taste magazine, published by the largest member-owned food co-op in the United States, PCC Community Markets. She has also been restaurant critic for the Seattle Weekly and edited the award-winning Edible Seattle magazine, as well as two Edible Communities cookbooks.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 4 pm in Fairhaven
Merrill Peterson / Pacific NW Insects

Pacific Northwest Insects is a regional field guide that sets a new standard for insect identification. Engaging and accessible, Pacific Northwest Insects features detailed species accounts, each with a vivid photograph of a living adult and information for distinguishing similar species, allowing the reader to identify more than 3,000 species found from southern British Columbia to northern California, and as far east as Montana. The book features the region’s commonly encountered insects, spiders, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, and kin, as well as some of its most unusual and interesting species.

Merrill A. Peterson is Professor and Chair of Biology and Insect Collection Curator at Western Washington University. Merrill began studying insects while growing up in Seattle, received his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington, and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University. His natural history photographs have been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Butterflies of Cascadia, Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies, and many other places.

Friday, December 14, 2018 7 pm in Fairhaven
Ben Goldfarb / Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”—including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens—recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Ultimately, it’s about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet.

Read an excerpt from Eageron our blog

Ben Goldfarb is an award-winning environmental journalist who covers wildlife conservation, marine science, and public lands management, as well as an accomplished fiction writer. His work has been featured in Science, Mother Jones, The Guardian, High Country News, VICE, Audubon Magazine, Modern Farmer, Orion, World Wildlife Magazine, Scientific American, Yale Environment 360, and many other publications. He holds a master of environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is a 2018 North American Congress for Conservation Biology journalist fellow.