BY CHRISTINA OLSON HENDRICKSON
The Pacific Northwest has stirred the imagination for generations, and it continues to inspire writers (and their readers!) across genres.
Whether you enjoy exploring history, flying through fantasy, or peeking into the lives of others, summer is the time to dive into a story set nearby.
With the help of Michelle Bear, owner of Edmonds Bookshop, and Annie Carl, owner of The Never ending Bookshop, we’ve rounded up seven books to add to your reading list.
THE PLAGUE AND I
by Betty MacDonald
If the pandemic put a dent in your activities the last few years, you may relate to this memoir from Betty MacDonald. Best known for her Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, this book follows MacDonald’s diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis at Firland Sanatorium in Shoreline. Before an effective antibiotic was discovered, the best treatment for tuberculosis was the “Rest Cure” — i.e., isolation and stillness. With a heavy dose of humor (and occasional dash of crankiness), MacDonald describes her daily regimen of doing nothing — and the minor rebellions she and her fellow patients stage to stay sane and connected.
by Kristin Hannah
In eighth grade, was there anything as important as fitting in? Kate Mularkey most decidedly does not fit in, at least until Tully Hart moves in across the street. This novel follows the rollercoaster of their friendship, from early days in Snohomish to their increasingly divergent paths, as Kate becomes a mother and Tully launches an ambitious television news career. Their shared history and affection keep them close, until one moment that may destroy their friendship forever.
Bonus: If this book gets you hooked, you can follow up with the sequel, Fly Away.
THE FINAL CASE by David Guterson
Abeba is dead. Adopted from Ethiopia, she was left in the backyard overnight in freezing weather by her abusive adoptive parents. Now, they’re on trial for murder. An elderly lawyer named Royal is hired to defend the mother in court, and asks his son to chauffeur him from his Seattle office to the courthouse in Skagit County. Crafted by the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, this story dives into the dynamics of family, religious faith, and the limitations of the law.
HOLLOW KINGDOM by Kira Jane Buxton
Recent research confirms crows are highly intelligent. But would they know what to do during a zombie apocalypse?
That’s the problem faced by S.T., a domesticated crow who notices his human roommate seems to be acting a little… well… odd. As do all the other humans, actually. S.T. stays out of the way of the increasingly erratic homo sapiens, but realizes there are animals who don’t have the option — many are trapped in houses with their humans-turned-monsters or even alone. Our hero’s journey spans from Seattle up to Bothell and Mill Creek, rounding up allies to help him save animal-kind from the zombie apocalypse.
WE HEREBY REFUSE: JAPANESE AMERICAN RESISTANCE TO WARTIME INCARCERATION written by Frank Abe & Tamiko Nimura and illustrated by Ross Ishikawa & Matt Sasaki
If you read Maus and enjoy the graphic novel format, this book needs to be next on your reading list.
We Hereby Refuse visualizes the stories of three Japanese-Americans who stood against injustice during World War II:
A Seattle-born man who challenged the U.S. Army’s draft, arguing his status as an “enemy alien” disqualified him for service; a California man who was pressured to complete a loyalty questionnaire or renounce his American citizenship; and a woman born in San Francisco who was incarcerated, but fought back all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER by Lish McBride
When you need to just jump in and enjoy a good story, Young Adult novels are often the answer. This one follows Sam, a college dropout who works at a Seattle fast food joint and seems firmly planted on the path to nowhere. Until, that is, he runs into Douglas, a necromancer who raises the dead (for a fee) and is in search of a business partner.
Douglas makes an offer he expects to be accepted (or else), and Sam has a week to decide if he’ll willingly join forces with his worst nightmare.
SEATTLE MYSTIC ALFRED M. HUBBARD: INVENTOR, BOOTLEGGER & PSYCHEDELIC PIONEER by Brad Holden
Alfred M. Hubbard was many things — among them a rumrunner, a double agent for the U.S. government, and one of the founding fathers of the psychedelic revolution. And he got his start in Everett, swindling tech investors in a way that would put Elizabeth Holmes to shame.
Although a short read, this book is packed with larger-than-life stories that, if not meticulously researched by local historian Brad Holden, would simply be unbelievable. Hubbard’s name may be unfamiliar, but his influence stretched past the Pacific Northwest and helped shape American culture and the tech industry through the 20th century and beyond.
There’s nothing like talking in person about books with a bookseller or librarian, Carl said.
Bear agrees, saying, “We have kids, parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends every day telling us about a new (to them) book or author they have heard or read about.” Because they work around books (and people who love them) all day, booksellers and librarians are good sources for great recommendations.