Three books about military service in honor of Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who are serving or have served in the armed forces. To mark the day, consider reading one of these novels or short story collections that portray military experiences during the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bring Out the Dog by Will Mackin
In this collection of 11 loosely connected short stories, U.S. Navy veteran Mackin tells stories based on his own wartime experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In their starred review, Library Journal called it “a well-plotted group of small fictions for readers wishing a feel for the reality of recent U.S. ground wars.”

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
Eden Malcolm, injured when his Humvee hit a pressure plate in the Hamrin Valley, lies in a coma in the burn unit at San Antonio as his wife, Mary, waits by his side. A fellow soldier killed in the same explosion that injured Eden is the narrator, detailing their time together in the service, the thoughts going through Eden’s head, and Mary’s fears. Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Road Ahead: Fiction from the Forever War ed. by Adrian Bonenberger and Brian Castner
These 25 short stories by military veterans chart the way combat experiences have changed in the years since U.S. forces first arrived in Iraq and Afghanistan, focusing as often on the struggle of returning home as on time in the service.

~ posted by Andrea G.

Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection

Interested in seeing panoramic photos of Seattle and Alaska at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush? We recently digitized 197 photographs taken by Arthur C. Pillsbury between approximately 1896 and 1900, documenting the Gold Rush and scenes from California, Oregon and Washington. The collection includes a mixture of photograph sizes, many of them panoramic images that measure nearly three feet in length.

Pioneer Square, Seattle, 1899

The majority of the photographs in the collection show scenes from the Klondike Gold Rush. Pillsbury first traveled to Alaska in 1898, shortly after his graduation from Stanford University. (By this time, his interest in photography was already well established. To help fund his education at Stanford he operated a combination bicycle and photography shop and for his senior project at the University, he invented the first circuit panorama camera.) His father accompanied him on his travels and the two men experienced a fair share of adventure on their journey.

After setting out from Seattle and traveling hundreds of miles up the coast, they wrecked their small boat in a storm near Cape Fox, Alaska. Miraculously, neither Pillsbury’s camera nor his camera supplies (which were in airtight metal canisters) were damaged in the wreck but they did lose their maps and navigation charts. Once ashore, Pillsbury and his father created a temporary shelter from the boat’s wreckage and Pillsbury walked ten miles to a Tlingit village (which he remembered being marked on the now lost maps) for help. Continue reading “Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection”

New fiction roundup, November 2019

No matter what you read – romance, fantasy, historical fiction, prize-winning fiction – November has a new release for you.

11/5: The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Older – In this multigenerational Cuban-American family story of revolution, loss, and family bonds, the spirit of a woman who disappeared during the Cuban Revolution visits her nephew to spur him into unearthing their family history.

11/5: The Deep by Rivers Solomon – The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society, and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future.

11/5: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – In this romantic comedy Chloe Brown – a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list – recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her get a life.

11/5: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – The intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women are portrayed in this 2019 Winner of the Booker Prize. A Peak Pick!

11/5: The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton – An elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, of female friendship, set in the American South. Continue reading “New fiction roundup, November 2019”

New Nonfiction Roundup – November 2019

November brings lots of incisive analyses of the current state of affairs, including an anonymous Trump administration official and a teenage environmental activist. Nonfiction debuts from Carmen Maria Machado and Elena Ferrante will surely pique interest. And cookbooks galore – including a classic cookbook revised for the first time in 45 years – will inspire menus for the holidays and beyond.

Peak Picks.
Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir, In the Dream House, dissects a queer abusive relationship through dozens of different perspectives in her provocative first work of nonfiction. And Lindy West’s long-awaited follow-up to Shrill, The Witches Are Coming, mixes caustic critiques of Trump’s America with laugh out loud humor. And the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” has more to say in A Warning

Hot Topics.
Nobel Prize winners Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo show readers how economics can solve intractable problems in Good Economics for Hard TimesJessica McDiarmid investigates the troubling story of the countless indigenous women who have gone missing along British Columbia’s Highway 16 in Highway of Tears, while Susannah Cahalan (Brain on Firereveals the shocking history of mental illness and institutionalization in The Great PretenderIn The Man Who Solved the Market, Gregory Zuckerman profiles investor Jim Simons mastered the stock market and made billions. Continue reading “New Nonfiction Roundup – November 2019”

Bus Reads for October

Commuting to Seattle by bus five days a week gives me a lot of reading time. Here’s what I read on the bus in October:

Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik. Running from her past, Lily seeks a different sort of adventure after her teaching job in Bolivia ends and her listlessness grows tiring. In meeting Omar her new adventure begins. She heads into the jungle to the village he was born in, in a jungle where everything is trying to kill you. This book surprised me at first: I thought the girl was crazy to go off into the jungle, but she really does grow throughout the novel. She doesn’t take on this new life until she has no choice, but you can see despite some of her protests she has learned and embraced her jungle family. I also enjoyed the added elements of mysticism. Continue reading “Bus Reads for October”