Whatcom READS – our area’s premier annual literary series – presents its 10th title this year, and it’s a timely, provocative debut novel sure to spark interest and discussion for our county-wide “book club” experience.
“Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist” by Sunil Yapa is the Whatcom READS selection for 2018. It’s a fast-paced, raw and absorbing story set amid the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.
As heart-breaking as it is pulse-pounding, Yapa’s virtuosic debut title asks profound questions about the power of empathy in our hyper-connected modern world, about the limits of compassion and about how far we must go for family, for justice and for love.
Despite wandering the world for three years, Victor remains grief-stricken over his mother’s death. Longing for a family and a sense of purpose, Victor believes he’s found both when he returns home to Seattle — until he gets swept up in a massive protest. With young, biracial Victor on one side of the barricades and his estranged father — the white chief of police — on the opposite, the day descends into chaos, capturing in its confusion the activists, police, bystanders and citizens from around the world who arrived that morning brimming with hope. By the day’s end, they will have all committed acts they never thought possible.
Yapa’s novel is available in book, eBook and audiobook formats at all public libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County, and from Village Books.
Events and Activities
Just like in years past, reading the book is just the beginning. Whatcom READS partners are hosting events and activities county-wide now through March. Following the powerful themes in our 2018 book selection, upcoming events include book discussions and performances by local musicians Tracy Spring, Jimmy Brite and Hank & Claire, featuring songs of protest, social justice, compassion and hope.
Other events include readings by local authors who submitted their own writing on the topic of “resistance” for Whatcom WRITES, and a chance for people who were at the 1999 WTO protest to share their stories. The Whatcom READS Art Challenge invites local artists to display art pieces inspired by Yapa’s book.
Details about these and more can be found at whatcomreads.org. All Whatcom READS events and activities are free. No tickets are required and seating for events is first-come, first-served.
Author here March 8-10
The Whatcom READS 2018 series culminates with Yapa visiting our area March 8-10. He will be featured at five free events in Bellingham and Whatcom County, including a keynote presentation March 9 on the main stage at the Mount Baker Theatre:
March 8: Book Discussion with Sunil Yapa, 1 p.m. at the Ferndale Library.
March 8: Digging Deeper with Sunil Yapa, 7 p.m. at the Deming Library.
March 9: An Afternoon with Sunil Yapa, 1 p.m. in the Dome Room at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.
March 9: Keynote presentation – An Evening with Sunil Yapa, 7 p.m. on the main stage at the Mount Baker Theatre.
March 10: The Art and Craft of Writing, 2 p.m. in the Wilson Library Reading Room at Western Washington University.
More information about Yapa and his book, including book reviews, author biography and more, along with a complete schedule of events, is available at whatcomreads.org.
Whatcom READS is organized by all public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and our community partner, Village Books. We receive significant funding from Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library Foundation, and support from other local businesses and organizations.
From our very beginning welcoming Sherman Alexie in 2009, through the nine books and authors we’ve hosted, our goal has been to create an annual literary happening that gets people talking about great literature and sharing the joy of reading and discussing books. We’re excited to host Sunil Yapa and explore his timely, provocative novel as the 10th book in our selection of annual community reads.
For more information, to let us know how we’re doing, or to suggest titles for future years, please visit whatcomreads.org.
Janice Keller is the communications, community relations and programming manager for the Bellingham Public Library. Reach her at email@example.com or 360-778-7206.