This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick
My interest is always piqued by the “New this Week” section on the library’s website and usually I get excited, add it to my ever growing to-be-read list and then promptly forget about it. When I saw This is Where You Belong: the Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live featured, I decided to start a new pattern, so I went straight to the shelf and borrowed this book from the library. This book turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read this year, because it was so relevant to my life and the life of our community.
This book follows the author, Melody Warnick, and her mission to learn to love the place she lives. Warnick begins the book by admitting that she uses cross-country moves as a way to refresh her life when things aren’t quite working out the way she had planned. Warnick writes with an incredible honesty as she realizes that her and her husband’s grass-is-always-greener attitude is starting to have a negative impact on her children, robbing them of a long-term childhood home. This realization leads to her decision to learn to love Blacksburg, Virginia, her newest home town.
Warnick carries out a series of “experiments” to help increase her place-attachment to Blacksburg. Reading about how much effort Warnick put in to loving her home was inspiring. There were was one experiment that I found particularly relevant to our community in Waterloo. Warnick made a concentrated effort to start buying local. This is something that I’ve always felt I should do, especially in light of the Uptown Open campaign, but frankly, I’ve always found it intimidating. Warnick breaks it down into easy, budget friendly steps. Warnick recommends making an effort to set a monthly amount that you can commit to spending locally. Even if it’s only twenty dollars or fifteen percent of your monthly grocery bill, she notes that it will be the first step in helping local businesses stay open (even if there’s construction) and promoting community spirit.
Warnick explains each of her experiments in ways that are just as readable and easy to apply, making this book an excellent read for people who want to find meaning in the place they live.
Five out of five stars.