The Seattle City Council was sworn in last month, and we here at ShelfTalk thought asking them about books would be a great way to learn more about our councilmembers. We asked them to tell us about books they’ve read (or almost read), books they want to read, books that inspired them, books they feel guilty about not finishing, or books that they think people should read. We’ll feature their responses as we receive them. First up is Councilmember Rob Johnson from District 4.
The last book(s) you read
The books I’ve read most recently are Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana; Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See; and I’m currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I tend to get most of my literary recommendations from my local bookstore (Third Place Books in Ravenna), my friend Michael Wells who has read everything twice, or from my book club or my wife’s book club.
A book that you’re looking forward to reading next
I’m looking forward to reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I’ve had several people tell me it was a book that changed their life and one of the best books they’ve ever read. I’ve heard the same about Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything and that’s one’s probably second up in the queue.
I always feel guilty for not finishing Team of Rivals. I’ve read all of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s books and was really looking forward to reading about the Lincoln Administration. I bought it right around the time our twins were born and thought I’d have lots of time to finish it and kept picking it up and putting it back down. Someday!
A book that you loved as a child
As a kid the book I read (and re-read, and re-read) was Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My mom has a vintage hardcover version from the 70’s which has all three books in one volume. I have very fond memories of spending a few Christmas breaks in middle and high school reading through all 2000 some odd pages of the trilogy.
Nowadays the book I’m most likely to recommend to people is called The High Cost of Free Parking. It’s a seminal book the urban planning field and written by one of my mentors Donald Shoup. Parking is one of the most interesting and passionate topics in Seattle right now and Shoup’s take on the problem (and his policy recommendations/solutions) are constant touch points for me as a transportation planning nerd.