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. Next is Councilmember Sally Bagshaw from District 7.
The last book(s) I read
I just spent a blissful week with my husband away from Seattle and I had time – for the first time in ages — to read read read: Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior; Eugene Robinson’s Disintegration; Garth Stein’s Art of Racing in the Rain, and finishing tonight The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I loved them all.
An inspiring book to you personally or a book that changed your life
I especially love to read about people who change our nation’s history, and I appreciate how one book leads me to explore other writings by the same author and to dive deeply into a particular subject. For example, this past summer I re-read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I love the way she explores cultures and difficult issues. I learned she had written a new book called The Invention of Wings.
I knew little about the real Grimke sisters in South Carolina before I read this book, but I was inspired by Sarah and Angelina Grimke’s commitment to end slavery and their bravery to make important choices in the face of their societal restrictions of their day. This book directed me down a path where I spent several months reading more about the politics of and strident opposition to the abolitionists between 1830 and 1865.
I moved from Kidd’s book to read Gerda Lerner’s biography about The Grimke Sisters, Doris Kearn Goodwin’s Team of Rivals about Abraham Lincoln’s administration, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird and re-read Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Then on to writings by William Lloyd Garrison from his newspaper called “The Liberator”. Sue Monk Kidd motivated me to read much more about how dedicated people can reframe the way a whole nation thinks about right and wrong and ultimately how two courageous women changed our world.
A book that you often recommend to other people
Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. I loved this book; it’s set in World War II, a blind French girl who loses her beloved father to the Germans and an orphaned German boy who ultimately meets our protaganist. Somehow it hits all the right chords about friendship, the suffering caused by war, and the ability of children to overcome impossible odds without being simplistic or cloying. Uplifting indeed.