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Northwest Reads

Northwest Reads: “A Sudden Light,” by Garth Stein

A Sudden Light is a a rich historical epic around those small, vulnerable moments we all have of contextualizing ourselves within our family history.

Do you remember the first time you thought about the lives of your parents and your grandparents before you came along?  That moment can be a shock—when you are first able to imagine your nearest and dearest as others, wholly separate from your identity, existing in a past you’ll never experience, unaware that you will ever be born. 

That otherness is a mystery in itself.  In his new novel, “A Sudden Light,” Garth Stein builds a rich historical epic around those small, vulnerable moments we all have of contextualizing ourselves within our family history.  Whether it’s reading a journal entry, listening to an old record, or finding a letter whose writer and recipient are both long dead, the familiarity of objects can plunge us into the past, bringing what were once black and white images into glorious Technicolor.

Northwest Reads by the University Book Store: “Jim: Jim Woodring’s Notorious Autojournal” by Jim Woodring

"Jim: Jim Woodring’s Notorious Autojournal" is an ideal entry point to the most revelatory and personal work of this artist, whose work has been described as “marrying [Pogo creator] Walt Kelly with Salvador Dali,” and “filling the gap left between Betty Crocker and Hieronymous Bosch.”

Heralded as a “medium-changing genius,” and “one of the great cartoonists of his generation,” Jim Woodring has been quietly but steadily plying his trade under our noses for over 25 years.

"Jim: Jim Woodring’s Notorious Autojournal" is an ideal entry point to the most revelatory and personal work of this artist, whose work has been described as “marrying [Pogo creator] Walt Kelly with Salvador Dali,” and “filling the gap left between Betty Crocker and Hieronymous Bosch.”

Northwest Reads from University Book Store: “Special Operations,” by Tom Lukas

At the age of 33, Seattle writer Tom Lukas left his career as a master carpenter and licensed homebuilder to pursue fiction-writing full-time.

At the age of 33, Seattle writer Tom Lukas left his career as a master carpenter and licensed homebuilder to pursue fiction-writing full-time. His recently released debut novel, “Special Operations,” is a dark psychological thriller inspired by a deeply personal life experience. On New Year’s Day 1986 in Auburn, Massachusetts, Lukas’ older brother Stephen became the first local police officer killed in the line of duty when he died in a car crash while responding to an emergency call.

Northwest Reads by the University Book Store: “Skookum Summer: A Novel of the Pacific Northwest,” by Jack Hart

The Chinook term also signifies “magic” or “spirit,” and clearly, for Hart, our Puget Sound Region oozes skookum. It has inspired Hart, a former managing editor and writing coach at The Oregonian, to write this exceptionally constructed and brilliantly rendered novel of the Pacific Northwest.

"A man can have skookum. So can a place. It's strength, a sort of mysterious power," Jack Hart writes in his new novel ”Skookum Summer: A Novel of the Pacific Northwest.” The Chinook term also signifies “magic” or “spirit,” and clearly, for Hart, our Puget Sound Region oozes skookum. It has inspired Hart, a former managing editor and writing coach at The Oregonian, to write this exceptionally constructed and brilliantly rendered novel of the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Reads from University Book Store: “Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage,” by Molly Wizenberg

Just months after marrying in July 2007, Molly Wizenberg, writer of the award-winning food blog Orangette, and Brandon Pettit, a Ph.D. student in music composition with a chef's job on the side, decide to open Delancey, a pizza restaurant.

If you’ve had the pleasure of eating at North Ballard restaurant Delancey (1415 70th Street), you know their pizza is impeccable, with high quality ingredients and simple preparation. The décor, glass-covered exposed lights, large framed photographs, and wood fired oven out in the open for all to see, are all welcoming and intentional. “Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage,” Molly Wizenberg's new memoir about opening Delancey with her husband in August 2009, is just as purposeful and well done as the restaurant's food and feel. An insider's look into starting a business from scratch and the Seattle restaurant scene, “Delancey” is Wizenberg’s elegantly written memoir of the struggle to realize a dream.

Northwest Reads from University Book Store: “Make Me a Mother,” by Susanne Antonetta, from W.W. Norton

“Make Me a Mother,” is Susanne Antonetta’s unflinchingly honest account of how adopting a five month old South Korean boy, “redrew the map of her world.”

In 1997, after months of anticipation, Susanne Antonetta rushed to SeaTac Airport to meet her infant son Jin. Anxiously sipping martinis with Antonetta hours earlier, a friend muses, “You could be in labor right now.” From here the book follows a loose chronology, tracing the first few months of bonding, through a playful early childhood, into a moody adolescence. Beginning at age eight, Jin is teased for being adopted as well as for being Asian, despite living in an ostensibly uber-progressive Bellingham neighborhood where children had names like “Bliss,” “Sequoia,” and “Butterfly.”

Northwest Reads from University Book Store: "Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't Or Won't Show You," by Harriet Baskas

Most historians, writes Baskas, want to preserve history as reality, not just the pleasant parts, but sometimes consideration must be made to those affected by events especially when history is not so ancient.

History, they say, is written by the winners. But when it comes to the history on display in our museums, sometimes what we see has more to do with space, budgeting, legal issues, or the fragility of artifacts than the fact that an artifact survives.

Northwest Reads from University Book Store: "Boys in the Boat," by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” chronicles how nine rough-and-tumble UW rowers from lumber towns, mining camps and fishing boats overcame poverty, illness and self-doubt to win gold under the rapacious gaze of Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” chronicles how nine rough-and-tumble UW rowers from lumber towns, mining camps and fishing boats overcame poverty, illness and self-doubt to win gold under the rapacious gaze of Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Clearly, the subtitle’s “epic quest” is no mere rhetorical flourish. The underdogs from Seattle, lacking the pedigree of the East Coast elite, ultimately earned this region worldwide attention for one of the first times ever. Yet this incredible tale is rarely told, except on the University campus: the gold-winning 1936 shell, Husky Clipper, hangs over the dining commons of the new Conibear Shellhouse.