Next in our ongoing series of 20 books that capture the essence of Seattle, we look at a variety of titles that capture a sense of our city and its environs. Whether you’re new in town, just passing through, or you’ve lived here all your life, these titles will enhance your awareness of and appreciation for the misty charms of this city on the Sound.
The bluest skies that you’ll ever see are in Seattle, unless of course they’re hidden by fifty shades of grey. While less extreme than many other areas of the country, our soggy maritime weather has always been a big part of our identity and outlook: not for nothing are Puget Sound natives called “mossbacks.” Given that weather forms a lion’s share of our small talk, reading Weather of the Pacific Northwest, by local climate celebrity Cliff Mass will up your game when it comes to discussing convergence zones, onshore flow, and our Seattle specialty, the “occasional sunbreak.”
Here at the library, we’re often asked by both locals and newcomers, “What books are must reads for Seattleites?” While we’re not much for ‘must’ or ‘should,’ we thought we’d list twenty titles that capture essential aspects of the history and culture of this place. Not a definitive list: a jumping off place. Our first post looked at Seattle’s history, and in today’s post we revisit that history through the lens of diversity.
There are many excellent books about the Internment of Japanese Americans during the second World War, but one of the earliest – and one that holds special significance for Seattleites – is John Okada’s 1957 novel No-No Boy. After two years in an internment camp and two years in federal prison for declining military service and a loyalty oath, Ichiro Yamada returns home to Seattle to find himself alienated on all sides. For another view of experiences of Seattle’s Japanese Americans before and during the War, check out Monica Sone’s 1953 memoir Nisei Daughter. Continue reading “20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity”
With Seafair just around the corner, ever wonder about the history?
The Seafair Beginnings article on HistoryLink,org writes, “The first Seafair took place from August 11 to 20, 1950. Hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed more than 100 events throughout King County. The events ranged from a 25-mile bicycle race around Lake Sammamish to a decorated-boat parade on Lake Washington with 350 participating boats. Spectators witnessed a Police Pistol Contest at 106th Ave S and East Marginal Way, a steamboat race on Elliott Bay, a Coast Guard lifeboat race, also on Elliott Bay, a “husband calling” contest at Seward Park, and an operetta called “The Desert Song” at Volunteer Park attended by 10,000. Continue reading “A Little History of Seafair”