Pie and Whiskey

There are some combinations so perfect that when your attention is drawn to them, you wonder how you’ve missed them for years. That was my feeling upon discovering Pie & Whiskey, which is simultaneously: a fantastic compilation of short work from Washington authors, edited by Kate Lebo and Samuel Ligon; a raucous, celebratory literary event Spokane-based Lebo and Ligon have been hosting for five years; and a delightful culinary combination. Lebo and Ligon sometimes take their pie-and-whiskey literary show on the road, and if it comes near you definitely check it out; the last chapter in their book also has instructions for hosting your own shindig. If you’re more interested in the small scale application, making pie and drinking whiskey at home with friends and family, here are some books to get you started.

Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter by Kate Lebo – With instructions on creating the perfect flaky crust; recipes for 50 delightful, mostly fruit pies; and a friendly, chatty tone, this is a great place to start your pie baking escapades. Plus you’ll get a little pie cultural history. Organized by main ingredient.

Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott – McDermott also leads with ways to create the perfect flaky crust, and then follows with recipes for fruit pies, nut pies, and savory supper pies. Organized by main ingredient/type of pie. McDermott is another Washington author, calling Port Angeles home.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes From the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop by Emily Elsen and Melissa Elsen – As the subtitle says, this is a book that focuses on uncommon recipes and flavor combinations; you won’t find a recipe for an apple pie, but there is one for an apple rose pie. Recipes are organized by season.

Whiskey Distilled by Heather Greene – Director of the Whiskey School at the Flatiron Room in Manhattan, Green provides readers with an introduction to appreciating and tasting all kinds of whiskies, as well as how to read a label, ordering etiquette, how to build your home bar, recipes for cocktail classics, and food pairings.

American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye by Clay Risen – Risen begins this handy primer by covering the definitions of different types of whiskies, plus their histories and traditions. He then assesses more than 200 spirits, including tasting notes, price ranges, and ratings. Learn how to buy whiskey and how to read a label.

The World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom – Grouping whiskies by style and region, Broom describes the tasting notes and histories of 150 whiskies produced around the world. A coffee table book to revel in.


~ posted by Andrea G.

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City Council Reads – Teresa Mosqueda, Citywide Position 8

This past November, Seattle swore in a new Mayor and City Councilmember, and we here at ShelfTalk thought this would be a great opportunity to continue our series of posts in which we invited your representatives to share books that have meant a lot to them. This time, we asked them “What book was most influential in your life or career and why?” Next week we’ll feature Mayor Durkan’s response, but let’s start things off with Seattle’s newest City Councilmember, Teresa Mosqueda

Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle CIty Council Position 8, Citywide.

“What book was most influential in your life or career and why?”

Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health, edited by Meredith Fort, Mary Anne Mercer, and Oscar Gish.

The voice of Dr. Stephen Bezruschka projected through the radio speakers while driving home late one night as I left the Master in Public Administration program at Evergreen in 2004. “Alternative Radio” on NPR was featuring a new book that local UW professor, Dr. Bezruschka, had contributed to and his words brought me goosebumps – it underscored all that I had studied and observed to be true: societies that have wider gaps between the rich and poor have worse population health. I ordered Sickness and Wealth that night and poured over it with my highlighter while flagging almost every other page.

Each essay, chapter by chapter, went into depth about how wealth inequality is making us sick. In the US, one of the most inequitable countries in the world, our elders die earlier, our babies die more frequently, and our community is overall sicker because of wealthy inequality. Globally, the world’s population health is worsening when US grown neoliberal free trade policies are exported and imposed on other countries, causing countries to privitize health, education and housing systems as a condition of receiving much needed international funding from the IMF and World Bank. We are making ourselves sicker and harming the health of populations globally by imposing and perpetuating – at home and abroad – policies the create greater health inequity instead of greater shared prosperity.

There is a direct correlation between treating healthcare – and by extension, housing, education, local agriculture, good living wage jobs (forces that create shared economic stability) – as a commodity rather than a right that permeates throughout our public policies. Sickness and Wealth is a tremendous resource to learn more about the commodification of public systems that impacts our health, and the ways in which we must fight the corporate assault on our health locally and internationally. Chapter 7 summarizes these connections well:

As budgets and authority wane for the world’s health ministries and the WHO, protections for public health – guarantees for safe housing, food, water, and economic security – are giving way to new organizing principals with little public attention, internationally binding trade agreements, which assure that commerce in series (like health care) is not “unnecessarily” burdened by regulations (including those that safeguard public health), are being put into place… Instead of regulating tariffs on commodities like steel, the trade agreements currently being negotiated, such as GATS and FTAA, will facilitate the privatization of vital services such as health care and water and deregulate standards for food, the environment, and working conditions.” (p79)

Sickness and Wealth has been my manifesto; it drives the way I shape policy and fight for justice. If we care about improving population health, which is what I have devoted my work to, then we must fight for greater shared economic prosperity, against the privatization of our health and human service programs, and invest in housing, health care, food access and workers’ rights. I recommend Sickness and Wealth to all who want greater economic justice and healthy communities, here at home and throughout the globe.

Editor’s note: The Library retains a single copy of Sickness and Wealth, which is currently out of print. However, affordable used copies are readily available.

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Click! Photography through the Lens of History

Click! A photograph is a precise record of an irretrievable instant, locked within the borders of a frame that transcends time. Did you know that the history of the camera predates the history of photography? Check out 100 Ideas that Changed Photography for more eye opening discoveries of how a room-sized device came to be held in the palm of our hands.

Once a purview of the few, cameras are, today, ubiquitous and unavoidable. A lot of thinking and experimentation went into the process of refining the photographic process. In A History of Photography in 50 Cameras you have a front row seat to technological changes that made it possible for the camera to become a necessary part and partner of memory making. Continue reading

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Books For Two

Sometimes being in a book group can be a lot of pressure – not just the assigned reading aspect, but trying to get a group of people together to meet. A book group can simply be just two people getting together; maybe a coworker that you can go out to lunch with once a month or someone you don’t see very often and it’s a way to make sure you get together.

I had a while where I was struggling to find the time to read. My husband suggested starting a book club for just the two of us…and shockingly his idea worked. I started reading again…and I haven’t stopped. Every other month we trade off on who selects the book, it may be something we’ve been meaning to read or a subject we are interested in. All genres are open and we only allow for one re-read a year. For example, I loved The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis so I’m selecting that for February.

Here were our book selections for October through December:

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January Literary Celebrations

January comes with a break from the holidays, but if you enjoy celebrating and love books, here are some ideas for literary celebrations for January.

We’ll start off with Tolkien day on January 3. It’s his birthday and a day celebrated by the Tolkien Society. They recommend a very simple celebration: find somewhere to have a drink, and at 9 PM make a toast with friends simply saying, “The Professor!” Let me suggest a couple books about Tolkien if you’d like to enrich your knowledge of him. A great book to share with children or just read to yourself is John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister. With gorgeous illustrations it tells a little about his life. Another option is Mythmaker by Anne E. Neimark, a thoroughly researched biography exploring Tolkien’s extensive interests that influenced his writing. Continue reading

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Seattle Public Library’s Most Checked Out Books, 2017

We’re already into 2018, but I can’t resist one more look back at reading in 2017. Do you ever wonder what others in the city are reading? Here’s a sneak peak: lists of the 10 most checked out print books and ebooks. So what was Seattle reading in 2017? We mostly checked out fiction, with 60% of the top print books and 70% of the top ebooks consisting of novels. When we did read nonfiction, it was largely focused either on memoirs, or on books that explored this particular political moment from a sociological view. Four titles appeared on both lists. What about you – were any of these titles on your reading list last year?

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Seattle Rep’s TWO TRAINS RUNNING: Beyond the Theatre

August Wilson Way, a pedestrian walkway at Seattle Center. (Photo by Curtis Cronn, flickr)

Here in Seattle we claim playwright August Wilson as one of our own, even though he was born in Pittsburgh and spent only 15 years (from 1990 until his death in 2005) here. But it was here, in the basement of his Capitol Hill house, where he completed his magnificent Pittsburgh Cycle (sometimes also called the Twentieth Century Pittsburgh Cycle). It was here where he worked with Seattle Repertory Theatre to produce all ten plays in the cycle. It is here, in Seattle, where a lovely walkway, just south of the Seattle Rep (along the vacated Republican Street between Warren Ave N. and 2nd Ave. North) is known as August Wilson Way.

Two Trains Running, which opens next Friday at the Seattle Rep, premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1990 and then went on to the Huntington Theatre in Boston and, in 1991, at the Seattle Rep with Laurence Fishburne. We’re excited to welcome this production back to Seattle. Continue reading

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