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About fruitcake, morality, children's books and more

Come learn ancient food, race relations and much more in several upcoming Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau programs at our libraries this fall!

The speakers offer not only expertise in their field but also the ability to inspire meaningful discussion with people from a variety of backgrounds.

Here's the lineup of programs in our libraries:

The Good Game: On the Moral Value of Sports

Join philosopher Mike VanQuickenborne for a deeper exploration of our obsession with sports. What makes something a sport? Is competition more helpful or harmful? What makes sports admirable? Is being a fan really a good thing? Explore the philosophical implications of sports, what they say about our culture, and the ways in which they can reveal our full humanity. VanQuickenborne is a tenured philosophy instructor at Everett Community College, as well as a former competitive swimmer and water polo coach.

  • Cashmere Public Library: Thursday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
  • Manson Public Library: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m.
  • Quincy Public Library: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.

The Ancient Fruitcake: What Really Really Old Food Tells Us About History, Culture, Love and Memory

This talk is not about leftovers in your fridge. Discover the foods archaeologists have found buried with mummies, the petrified banana so appealing it sparked a Banana Museum, the 350-year-old fruitcake handed down through the generations, 2000-year-old bog butter and more. Author and broadcaster Harriet Baska talks about how these vintage vittles can hold memories, tell stories and connect us with family, culture and history.

  • Leavenworth Public Library: Thursday, Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m.

Not Just For Kids: How Children's Literature Inspires Bold Conversations

Children's books are often beloved by children, sparking their imaginations and providing warmths and comfort. But children's literature can also inspire adults — helping us imagine ourselves in a new way and think about society from a new perspective. University of Washington lecturer Anu Taranath will showcase children's books from around the world and how they help adults navigate our complicated wold. Taranath is a senior lecturer specializing in global literature, identity, race and equity.

  • Moses Lake Public Library: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
  • Quincy Public Library: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m.

The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of Memoir

Betty MacDonald burst onto the American literary scene in 1945 with her memoir The Egg and I, a tartly witty tale about operating a chicken ranch on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. During its first year in print, the wildly popular book sold one copy every 22 seconds. But during a 1951 libel suit, MacDonald testified that she'd made up nearly all of the so-called autobiography, something her readers did not seem to mind. Journalist and biographer Paula Becker ponders how MacDonald's kind of nonfiction relates to the popular genre of memoirs today and what does "truth" in memoir really mean.

  • Quincy Public Library: Monday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m.
  • Wenatchee Public Library: Sunday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m.
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