Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui

In celebration of Seattle Reads 2019, Jess Boyd spoke to Thi Bui about her award- winning graphic novel, The Best We Could Do (TBWCD), the 2019 Seattle Reads selection.


An Interview with Thi Bui
by Jess Boyd

Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do is a story that moved me, my family and my community. It gave voice to feelings and frustrations that I had yet to articulate and acted as a medium to bridge generations and countries.

The story is a multigenerational saga told through Bui’s past and present selves. Bui generously shares herself at different moments throughout her life, as a child, as a sibling, as a new mother, allowing us to see the far reaching ripples of war, and the way that those ripples can become waves that carry people across oceans.

Jess Boyd: Where was the birthplace of your creativity?
Thi Bui:
I have to take a moment to allow myself to accept the compliment embedded in this question. “Ya not creative!” shouts my inner Viet.

Okay, it’s good now. I remember making things and daydreaming when I was a kid as a form of escape. Whether I was escaping my drab physical environment or tense emotional environment, I’m not sure … maybe both? It’s not like that anymore but that was how being creative started — first as an escape and then as a rebellion.

Why is it important to remember and reflect on the past?
We apes learn slow and we keep having to learn the same lessons over and over again. History keeps us humble and it also lends us perspective. Continue reading “Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui”

A conversation with Tim Wu, author of ‘The Attention Merchants’

Tim Wu, the author who coined the phrase “net neutrality,” takes a revelatory look at the rise of “attention harvesting” and its effect on our society and ourselves. He’ll be at the Central Library on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. to talk about his newest book, The Attention Merchants. Get a bit of the inside story here and be sure to join us for his free presentation on Thursday evening!

tim-wu-the-attention-merchants-book-coverQ: What is an Attention Merchant?

A: An Attention Merchant is anyone whose business is attracting human attention to resell for profit. The category is broad and includes ad-based TV channels, celebrities, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and so on. Basically, it is business of gathering a crowd by creating something so allur­ing, sensational, or even useful that you can’t help but pay attention—and the crowd itself can then be sold to advertisers.

The Attention Merchants drive what the book calls the “Attention Harvest,” namely, a process of gath­ering as much human attention as possible to sell to the advertising industry. This book is mainly the 100+ year long story of the attention harvest. Once small and obscure, it has grown to become a major part of our lives.

Today, on average, Americans spend about three hours with their phone, nearly five hours with television, and some other hours with their computers. Throw in some sleep, and that’s basically our lives. So policing the bargains is really important. Continue reading “A conversation with Tim Wu, author of ‘The Attention Merchants’”

Seattle Author Bernadette Pajer Reads at Fremont Library

Seattle mystery writer Bernadette Pajer will read from her latest book, The Edison Effect: a Professor Bradshaw Mystery at the Fremont Library on Tuesday October 14th at 6:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Edison_Effect_CoverThe Edison Effect: a Professor Bradshaw Mystery is the fourth book in the series of University of Washington Professor Bradshaw mysteries set in early 20th Century Seattle.

In three earlier books, University of Washington electrical engineering professor Benjamin Bradshaw has established a reputation for solving mysteries  involving the science of electricity. Now, Thomas Edison has come to Seattle trying to discover a mysterious and dangerous invention that was lost years earlier in Elliott Bay. When an electrician at the Bon Marché department store is found dead clutching a string of one of Edison’s new Christmas lights, Professor Bradshaw is reluctantly drawn into helping solve the murder. Continue reading “Seattle Author Bernadette Pajer Reads at Fremont Library”

2014 A. Scott Bullitt American History Lecture presents George Packer

Click here to view The Unwinding in the SPL catalog~posted by Carl K. 

George Packer has a disconcerting point of view about the United States. The New Yorker journalist, who will be the speaker for The Seattle Public Library’s 2014 A. Scott Bullitt American History Lecture, looks through the lens of individual Americans to see the state of the nation in his book, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.

Click here to view U.S.A. in the SPL catalogIs the United States a nation on the rise or on the decline? The book’s title tells the conclusion—we are not winding our way up; we are unwinding. Loosely based on the John Dos Passos’ Depression-era classic fiction trilogy, U.S.A., Packer’s nonfiction look at a new America tells the story by giving portraits of people ranging from the working poor to fabulously wealthy and privileged people, stopping off to briefly sketch celebrity icons and give context through cultural markers like headlines, song lyrics and advertising. Continue reading “2014 A. Scott Bullitt American History Lecture presents George Packer”