Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Kim Fu shares recent favorites

Our guest blogger today is Kim Fu, author of the forthcoming novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, in which a group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls—Nita, Andee, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan—through and beyond this fateful trip. Fu will be appearing at Elliott Bay Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

I’ve kept a list of every book I’ve read since 2010. It’s been interesting to see patterns that align with events in my personal life: interests that crop up and fade, what and how much I read in a year of mourning versus a year of celebration. Like many people, I also discovered that what I thought of as my own capricious, wide-ranging taste was instead reflective of what books get published and hyped in a particular year, and that I needed to make a conscious effort to read more diversely. I was especially inspired by this list by R.O. Kwon, Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Kim Fu shares recent favorites”

Omar El Akkad, author of American War, on reading and the radical act of empathy

Our guest blogger Omar El Akkad has been garnering rave reviews for his powerful, thought-provoking debut novel, American War. Set during the Second American Civil War of 2075, American War lays bare our own fractured cultural and political existence in a dystopian fantasy that rings all too true for many others struggling in war-torn places of the world. Today he shares three books you probably haven’t read, and why you should. El Akkad will be appearing on Monday, April 17 at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Catch his recent NPR Interview.

Empathy, which these days feels more and more like a radical act, has become as of late the primary criterion for inclusion in my reading list. More than beautiful writing or technical merit or imaginative flair, I find myself most urgently in need of fiction’s ability to transpose, to immerse me in the thick of strangers’ lives. In this isolationist era, run and overrun by men whose worldview relies on exclusion and deliberate unknowing, it seems an obligation to seek out writing that chronicles other cultures, other histories, other lives. Continue reading “Omar El Akkad, author of American War, on reading and the radical act of empathy”

Nightstand Reads: Jane Wong

Our guest blogger today is Seattle poet Jane Wong, visiting Assistant Professor at Pacific Lutheran University and author of Overpour, shares with us her current project and a few books of inspiration. She will be at MadArt at 7pm on Nov. 8 for the event “The Poetics of Haunting.”

Dear Readers,

My project, The Poetics of Haunting, considers how social, historical, and political contexts “haunt” the work of contemporary Asian American poets. How does history – particularly the history of war, colonialism, and marginalization – impact the work of Asian American poets across time and space? How does language act as a haunting space of intervention and activism? The digital site insists on invocation: a deliberate, powerful, and provocative move toward haunted places. It is my hope that you will explore the website, which features audio and video conversations, poetry, photographs, and multi-modal ephemera. And join me on November 8th, 7:00pm with poets Don Mee Choi, Pimone Triplett, and Diana Khoi Nguyen at MadArt for a powerful performance.

Below are a few of the books I am currently reading and returning to when I think about the poetics of haunting: Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Jane Wong”

A note from Brit Bennett, author of ‘The Mothers’

the-mothers-by-brit-bennettWhen I was sixteen, I started my first job at the Oceanside Public Library, a job that I, naturally, assumed would entail sitting at a desk, answering the occasional question, and spending the rest of my shift powering through as many books as I could. Little did I know what being a library page actually requires: pushing a heavy cart of books from shelf to shelf, feebly explaining to patrons that I was not a librarian and therefore unqualified to answer their research questions, and climbing into the dusty book-drop bins each evening before closing where I became increasingly paranoid that I’d reach for a book and instead pull out a spider or a snake or any other creature that might have found its way inside. Continue reading “A note from Brit Bennett, author of ‘The Mothers’”

Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Sharon H. Chang shares from her bookpile(s)

Our guest blogger today is Sharon H. Chang, author of Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children in a Post-Racial World. Sharon H. Chang is a writer, scholar and activist who focuses on racism, social justice and the Asian American diaspora with a feminist lens. She serves as a consultant for Families of Color Seattle and is on the planning committee for the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference. Join us for her book talk, along with local mixed-race guest speakers and performers, on Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at the Central Library.

Dear Readers,raising-mixed-race

First. Truth. I’ve got books on my nightstand but I don’t read at night. I mostly read in the early, early morning before the sun comes up; when the air outside is quiet, still and fresh; when cars are parked, the hustle bustle of the day hasn’t begun and most people are still sound asleep; most importantly my six-year-old son is still sound asleep. And I keep books all over the house. On my nightstand yes. But also on shelves, counters, in book bags, unopened and opened boxes, upstairs and downstairs, half-read, read twice, never read, will read later, reading now. In my head I have a rule “one book at a time, finish first then the next.” But in reality that never works out. There is – to simply put the simple truth – just too much exciting stuff to read and not always the perfect time to read it in.

So what’s in my for-the-morning nightstand/all-over-the-house piles right now? Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Sharon H. Chang shares from her bookpile(s)”