Staff Picks by Tag

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The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed By John Vaillant Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393328646
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2006

This book is a must read for your Pacific Northwest history shelf. Its an amazing and complex adventure story that dives deep into the hidden histories of logging and its disruptive intersection with indigenous cultures in our region. 

I've been a huge fan of this authors The Tiger for some time and am so glad I finally made time for this incredible book.  

Review by Robert

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The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket By Benjamin Lorr Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553459418
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Avery - November 9th, 2021

Okay so Michael Pollan told you what to eat, Michael Greger told you where not to eat, and maybe you've dipped your toe in some other books about food (maybe even by people not named Michael). But I promise you, you're missing out if you don't read The Secret Life of Groceries. This book will not settle any debates about what diets we should or should not be on, but it does something even better--it takes us through the world events and societal shifts which led to the relationship we now have with the grocery store. He describes this relationship as one in which we roam the grocery aisles looking not just for food but for confirmation of who we believe ourselves to be. As Lorr reminds us, food is the business of eating but grocery is the business of desire. Along the way, he takes a look at some of the hidden players in the grocery industry--from transport to meat packing to the grocery floor and finally to YOU and your very own role in the industry. In this book, you will see things you will never be able to unsee (in an important way!) and at the very least, you will get some good laughs. 

Review by Marii

The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves By J.B. MacKinnon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062856029
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Ecco - May 25th, 2021

Of course, the world didn’t really stop shopping in March of 2020. However the dramatic shift in consumer habits that took place as an immediate byproduct of the pandemic provided the perfect jumping-off point for J.B. Mackinnon’s essential question: what would happen if we stopped shopping, or even reduced our shopping globally by 5%? I know this might seem like an odd book to display in a place dedicated to buying books, but MacKinnon offers many hopeful frameworks for recontextualizing our relationships to shopping and rethinking what it means to always be buying. This book doesn’t have all the answers, but it greatly helped me in creating a personal philosophy for consumption.

Review by Alyson

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Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Pantheon Graphic Library) By Kristen Radtke Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524748067
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Pantheon - July 13th, 2021

It's hard to prepare yourself for a book like Seek You. Not quite memoir, not quite essay, and never what you'd expect, Kristen Radtke has somehow captured the essence of loneliness in an era that will surely be defined by it. There are panels of ocean tides and isolated sitcom-watchers that send me deeper into myself every time I see them—I've been those isolated sitcom-watchers; I've felt those ocean tides. Radtke diagnoses our loneliness without pity or preciousness. What else to call this but a masterpiece?

Review by Spencer R.

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How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America By Clint Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316492935
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Little, Brown and Company - June 1st, 2021

This is definitely a must read book if you are looking to expand your knowledge of slavery in the USA. Smith has carefully researched and documented the facts regarding slavery as it was rather than the pasteurized version we received in school. To quote the author:

"It must be a collective endeavor to learn, confront and reckon with the story of slavery and how it has shaped the world we live in today."

Once we embrace our past we can move forward. An excellent and thoughtful book.

Review by Sue

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A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance By Hanif Abdurraqib Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984801197
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Random House - March 30th, 2021

Abdurraqib masterly balances the informational and the personal in this exploration of black performance from the vaudevillian-turned-spy Josephine Baker to the vulnerability of Wu-Tang Clan to poem-like entries "On Times I Have Forced Myself to Dance." (Did you know, even after singing about wanting to dance with somebody, Whitney Houston couldn't really dance? Check out the 1988 Grammy's.) Anyway, check this out if you want a beautifully entertaining book on entertainment. 

Review by Emily

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Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century By Alice Wong (Editor) Cover Image
By Alice Wong (Editor)
ISBN: 9781984899422
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Vintage - June 30th, 2020

This book is as diverse and intersectional as the disability community itself, with stories of joy, humor, challenges and frustrations told from a wide range of perspectives. Reading this anthology has changed the way I see and experience the world around me. I have no doubt that these pieces will deeply move and remain with you.

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A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life By George Saunders Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9781984856029
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2021

Tolstoy + Chekhov + Gogol + Turgenev + Saunders = a crash course in good writing! My favorite chapter was on "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol for the pure absurdity of the story and the great clarity Saunders brought to understanding it.

Review by Emily

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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (American Music Series) By Hanif Abdurraqib Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477316481
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

I'll admit, before this book, I couldn't name one song by A Tribe Called Quest. Abdurraqib writes something and I read it, simple as that. Just like with his other work, he comes at Go Ahead in the Rain (a song by A Tribe Called Quest) wanting to geek out and back it up with a well-researched history. My favorite parts were, varied within the timeline of their illustrious career, Abdurraqib's personal letters to Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali that read equally like letters to friends and to great influences. The cover really says it all.

Review by Emily

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Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain By Danny Goldberg Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780062861504
Published: Ecco - April 2nd, 2019

Danny Goldberg was more than a band manager to Nirvana but a friend and confidant, especially to Kurt Cobain, at the height of their career. He is able to share the good and the bad, without idolizing or demonizing Cobain, in this look behind the music scene of the early nineties punk rock and grunge surge. So sit back, maybe unplug with Unplugged in the background, and enjoy.

Review by Emily