Saturday, February 5, 2011

The one and only Village Books!!!

When I first came to Bellingham as a student at WWU ages ago, one of the first places I was introduced to was Village Books.

This store, in the heart of Fairhaven, is a wonderful locally owned, independent bookstore that welcomes everyone. Readers, non-readers, browsers, adults, children, and yes even dogs. Over the years I've purchased many a book here, but it's the atmosphere that truly attracts. It never seemed to matter whether I didn't have any money to spend at the time and just wanted to browse. Everyone I knew was always welcomed even if we just wanted to peruse through the photography books lined up at the counter. It's a calming thought that the owners have been this hospitable since 1980! To get a pretty good idea about what Village Books is all about take a look at the following video.

After my family and I moved to Bellingham, I again sought out Village Books as a comforting contact point. I knew very few people here, aside from my in-laws, and Village Books taught me what belonging to a community is all about. Their activities and connections with Bellingham and Whatcom County seem endless. However, one of the first things I did was join their general literature book club.

During the month of January we read Border Songs by Jim Lynch. It's a touching and eye-opening story about living on the border of Canada and the U.S. The majority of the story takes place in northern Whatcom County. For those who live here the scenery and character descriptions are eerily accurate. Brandon Vanderkool is the gigantic protagonist who is phycially and socially awkward at best. However, he is also innocent, kind, dyslexic and artisitic. My favorite aspect of this book is how it reveals that there is a place for everyone in this world. For some it just takes more time. Others I talked to love the political aspects of this story. Either way it shines a spotlight on the good and bad aspects of living in this community. Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think? If not, pick one up at the library or your local bookstore.

One of the things I would like to accomplish with this blog is to create a forum for people to discuss the books we're reading at our book club. Back when my children were young I would've appreciated this because it was difficult to physically attend meetings. If you can't attend, live to far away, or just don't want to go to the meetings we can discuss this book here. Love it? Hate it? Just tell us all why. Some of the best discussions about literature begin from the frustration or dislike of a particular book. If your passions are aroused so will the conversation that follows.

1. What did you think of this book?

Personally, I had a difficult time getting through the first half. I found the characters irritating and a little over the top. However, once I got to the middle of Border Songs the plot really picked up and the characters began to evolve.

2. Do you think Jim Lynch is trying to make a point about American paranoia? If so, what is it?
I'm a little torn on this one. One the one hand it's pretty obvious how the Americans overreact, especially on the part of the media. On the other hand, there are some pretty scary people out there who've clearly put America on their list of targets.

To see Jim Lynch LIVE. He will be in Bellingham on Feb. 24th 2011 at the Syre Center at Whatcom Cummity College (1:30 p.m. , 7:30 p.m.). For more information visit

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