Netflix and Read: The Queen’s Gambit

Just like with books, shows will also leave me wanting more. While The Queen’s Gambit is based on a book by Walter S. Tevis it’s also pretty darn popular right now, as anyone who has seen the show can probably imagine. So here are a few other diamonds in the rough to get you through…and fingers crossed for season two!

Lea by Pascal Mercier

Lea’s father does everything he can to grow Lea’s brilliance with the violin. Using it as an outlet after the death of her mother, Lea’s talent and fame grows exponentially, but the relationship with her father deteriorates. Told by a third-person narrator this novel delves into the madness of genius.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

More comfortable with solitude, Annika Rose prefers chess to people. When she runs into her ex-boyfriend from her college days, Jonathan -the one person she liked being around – something begins to rekindle. Incorporating stories from the past to understand the present, we navigate Annika’s life with hope for more – both in love and life.

Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall–from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness by Frank Brady

Inspired by the talents of Bobby Fischer it only makes sense to include him in this list. Definitely far from perfect, surrounded by controversy, and struggling with balancing genius and madness – Frank Brady dives into a life lived in incredible fame and struggling descent.

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom

Chess originally existed without the most powerful piece – the chess queen. This book examines the history of the chess queen and how she emerged to occupy the board as we know it today.

The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming A Grandmaster by Tim Crothers

The true story of Phiona Mutesi who grew up in the Kampala slum of Uganda. A search for food leads her to the doorstep of Robert Katende, who uses chess as a way to empower (and feed) the children who grew up as he did. An immense talent grows in Phonia. With that talent she begins to win and travel around the world with the Chess Olympiad. But her life back home is never too far behind with all the instability that can bring especially when your goal is greatness.

~ posted by Kara P.



Dysfunctional Holidays

I don’t know about you, but for me this has been a very, very long year.  Between Covid-19, the election, and the Black Lives Matter Movement there has been a lot of family tension.  With the holidays coming up it makes it even harder to think of those family dynamics coming into play.  While quarantine has given us the opportunity to have that distance this is also a time to come together and reconcile with family, if you so choose.

Whether you decide to continue a relationship with your family or whether it is time to cut it off – only you know what is right for you. Here are a few books that have been gathered to help make those important decisions.

When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People: Surviving your Family and Keeping Your Sanity by Leonard Felder

This book is about accepting the fact that things are as they are and ways to cope and reframe how you view toxic relatives. Using that family time to create heartfelt connections, while being aware that there are difficult relatives and it is something we all experience.

There are a lot of different ways we can have issues with our families since there are so many dynamics involved.  A few books that deal with specific issues are:

The Relationship Cure: A Five-step Guide for Building Better Connections With Family, Friends, and Lovers by John Mordechai Gottman

We are very lucky to have this local author and professor, Dr. John Gottman. Gottman is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington and founder of The Gottman Institute. In his book, he offers exercises to direct your thoughts to help you find the weaknesses in your relationships so that you can make them stronger.

Mom Still Likes You Best: The Unfinished Business Between Siblings by Jane Isay

Ah, siblings!  What can you say about them?  Jane Isay uses real stories to help us understand that our relationships with our siblings are normal.  She explores the idea that our childhood interactions with our siblings can play a large role as we move into adulthood.

Don’t Roll your Eyes: Making In-laws Into Family by Ruth E. Nemzoff

My own father-in-law has said this exact same thing to me.  Learning how to accept someone new in your life can be difficult.  This book gives you stories and examples of how to make your family relationships stronger. It even includes a section on different political beliefs, which could be very helpful right now.

If you are ready and open to forgiving your family members for things that have happened in the past then these books are great to get you started:

We Don’t Talk Anymore: Healing After Parents and Their Adult Children Become Estranged by Kathy McCoy

Estrangement is difficult. Kathy McCoy’s book shares why and how families can get to this point in their relationships.  She also offers tips and strategies to help bring the family back together.

How to Forgive When You Can’t Forget: Healing Our Personal Relationships by Charles Klein

Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do in life.  There is a reason why you feel hurt.  Charles Klein helps you come to terms with those hurt feelings and leads you to forgive the people who have hurt you and open up your heart to them again.

Finally, if you just can’t do it anymore and have made the decision to walk away.  Here are a few suggestions too:

Healing From Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From A Family Member by Mark Sichel

Mark Sichel has gone through his own family’s irreconcilable rift.  He walks you through a 10-step process to come to terms with the family dynamics that led to the split and to move toward healing.

When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom From Toxic People by Gary Thomas

Pastor Gary Thomas helps you decide if your relationship with certain people is difficult or toxic.  He uses scripture passages to show that you do not have to stay connected to toxic people.  It will help you walk away if that is the best step for you.

I hope that one of these books will help you decide what the next steps are with your family and how you can emotionally cope with the decisions to be made.

~ posted by Pam H.

Tales (and Recipes) for a Winter’s Night

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice – no matter the form it takes – tales and food so often play a part. Stories of memories, tales passed on from generation to generation, and recipes too following down the line from grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter, to great-grandson. The ties that bind us during the holiday season whether near or far or a picture of remembrance that sits upon the mantel. 

Here are a few books in our collection to get you started on making those traditions: 

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Winter by Nigel Slater

A stunning read by author and food writer Nigel Slater, who has more than a few foodie books in our collection. From November to February, Nigel will take you through his winter rituals with folktales, recipes, and personal stories and gorgeous photographs. Truly an ode to winter!

The Little Winter Book of Gnomes by Kirsten Sevig

A delightful collection of sayings full of Scandinavian wisdom and a few delicious recipes. Also, adorable illustrations of gnomes. It’s a quick whimsical read to cozy up with your kiddo, your cat, or a fuzzy blanket! (Would also make a great stocking stuffer.)

Calm Christmas and A Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton

This holiday season we could all use a little calm. Cultivate joy and connection to make the holidays what you want them to be instead of letting them overtake you. Through mindfulness and goal setting make your holidays stress-free with this read that spans from late November to early January. 


Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson

More than your typical Christmas book. There is a tale for everyone of all ages whether it’s a mystery, a romance, or a spooky read. Also, personal touches throughout as she shares her own Christmas memories and festive recipes. You’ll find it all – stories, recipes, and magic to wrap yourself up in! 


~ posted by Kara P.


Toolkit for Tough Times: A Sheltering Place

Happy Starts at Home.  These days, it can take a bit of doing to get to happy! For some it is, exactly, how to work with My Small Space and others, My Bedroom is an Office and Other Interior Design Dilemmas.  See what I mean?

It takes work to get to that Clutter-Free Home and to do so you might need to employ a Clutter Remedy. Everyone cannot Be Bold and bodacious enough to just Keep This, Toss That at the drop of a hat.

Help is closer than you think. If you’ve been wondering How to Make a House a Home or want to create a Beautifully Organized, Cozy Minimalist Home with Holistic Spaces, stay tuned. Even if you are renting and on a tight budget, there are options at hand.  You can Rescue, Restore, Redecorate and cozy up your place in fabulous Rental Style.

Ideas for making your space fit your needs without breaking the bank are possible. For starters, some neat ideas can be found in Affordable Interior Design.

From Small Space Living to Shared Living, from a house roomy with rooms to a rooming house, apartment, cottage or shed, every configuration of housing has a singular purpose, shelter. Every person needs a space to shelter in this world. For some, it is far more serious than simply decorating. Too many people are in the need of shelter, of finding shelter, right now. Continue reading “Toolkit for Tough Times: A Sheltering Place”

Legendary Children: A QTBIPOC Celebration Goes Online

LEGENDARY CHILDREN is a QTBIPOC-led extravaganza is usually held at Seattle Art Museum, featuring spoken word, performance, dance, and a public runway. Legendary Children is where arts and social justice get real, with QTBIPOC voices ringing loud and clear.

Now you know a pandemic can’t stop The Children. Save the date for Saturday Nov 21, 8 p.m., the 5th Anniversary edition of Legendary Children. Come ready to show out with us! Continue reading “Legendary Children: A QTBIPOC Celebration Goes Online”