Nightstand Reads: Author Will Taylor Shares Some Favorite Middle Grade Books

We’re delighted to have Seattle author Will Taylor, whose debut middle grade novel Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort came out last month, here to share with young readers and parents five novels he can’t wait for you all to read. But first, let us tell you a bit more about his novel: 

Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort is “a rollicking good time” says Booklist (confirmed!) and “Ridiculously irresistible,” according to Kirkus Reviews (also confirmed). In this first book in a series, Maggie has eagerly waited for her best friend Abby to get home from Camp Cantaloupe, only to find that all Abby wants to talk about is camp things. When Maggie discovers that a pillow in the back of her fort mysteriously leads into the one Abby built, the two friends are just an arm’s length away — and set for adventure. Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Author Will Taylor Shares Some Favorite Middle Grade Books”

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: Michael Engelhard shares his favorite Nature Writing.

Our guest blogger today is Fairbanks author and wilderness guide Michael Engelhard, whose latest book Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon, was just released by University of Washington Press. 

As a “nature writer” myself, I read voraciously in this field. In part, this is research for my own nonfiction projects. I’d also like to know what fellow writers are up to, and about new developments. Lastly, I read these books for inspiration, to be reminded of some of the things that truly matter to me and that should to our society as a whole. With my seasonal outdoor work, my reading largely clusters around the months when daylight wanes and temperatures plummet. Fortunately, and in line with my convictions, I can draw on two excellent public libraries here in Fairbanks, borrowing books instead of buying them and thereby saving the odd tree or two.

 

Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Michael Engelhard shares his favorite Nature Writing.”

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”