Summer Reading: Reviews from Beacon Hill Readers

The World in Half by Christina Henriquez

A young woman searches for her Panamanian father. Raised by her American mother, she has thought she was the result of an affair. Heartbreak/triumph, self-discovery, bi-culturalism — Very good!      ~ Suzanne

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

A deceptively subtle book, masterfully describing the inner life of a young Irish woman who emigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950s. Rarely is daily life, thought and feeling evoked so compellingly. ~ Lynn

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A gripping story of love, obsession, perseverance and unlikely ultimate triumph. A journey from youth to adulthood to old age. Never-ending hope bears fruit even in the worst of times. ~ Sally

The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter

A book very much of its time and place – post mortgage crisis America. It traces the funny/sad/desperate decline and fall of a middle-aged financial journalist. ~ Lynn

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

An emotional and scary journey into early onset Alzheimer’s Disease from the patient’s point of view. A story of family strength, unity and love. ~ Sally

What are you reading this summer? Sign up online for our summer reading program for adults — or drop by a branch and fill out a quick review form. For each three books you read and review, we’ll enter you in a drawing for a Kindle. We have 20 Kindles to give away to teen and adult readers this summer!

Wild and Green

During the recession of my youth there was one summer when I ate a lot of wild Image of miner's lettuce courtesy dalefarwalker via Flickr Creative Commonsgreens gathered in what was then a very new Discovery Park. My favorite was miner’s lettuce in salads, which would probably be even tastier now that I can afford the EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) to dress it. Now weedy greens are in, and you can buy seeds for miner’s lettuce and purslane. Farmers’ market vendors also sell wild mountain blueberries, and wild mushrooms. If you have a yard you may already have nutritious weeds at your doorstep, and if time allows you can still gather these delicacies and more yourself.

I’m very happy to see that the book I used long ago, Doug Benoliel’s Northwest Foraging has been updated and reissued this year. Another title that covers a wider range of plants, both edible and those with other uses, is Janice Schofield’s Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest. And for the wider ranging omnivore, Langdon Cook’s Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager also covers fish and shellfish, and has an anecdotal style better for reading cover to cover.

As part of The Seattle Public Library’s Urban Self-Reliance series, Cook will be giving a lecture and slideshow at the Beacon Hill Branch on Wednesday, October 26th at 6:00 p.m. Cook usually charges for his presentations, but this one is being sponsored by 4Culture, and like all library programs it’s free. Copies of his book will also be available for purchase courtesy of Elliott Bay Books.

                                ~Ruth K., Beacon Hill Branch