New & Notable Northwest Nonfiction

A dozen new and updated books about Seattle and the great Northwest, past and present, are coming to shelves at a library near you.

Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels by Rose Marie Wong. This history of the International District is told through the neighborhood’s single-room occupancy hotels. Continue reading “New & Notable Northwest Nonfiction”

Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition


One of the highlights of the 1939 World’s Fair was a massive exhibit called “Futurama,” created by General Motors. It promised that within twenty years the working man would live in a glorious future filled with friendly suburbs, gleaming skyscrapers, and extensive highways—all of this made possible by the comfort and convenience of the personal car.

More than 75 years later, most of us are living in the car-centric future prophesied at the World’s Fair, but it is not quite the utopia GM envisioned. Pollution, traffic congestion, and the looming end to fossil fuels leave us wondering: What comes next?

The international exhibition Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars offers fascinating answers to this question. Continue reading “Futurama Redux: Urban Mobility After Cars, a Traveling International Exhibition”

Book Bingo: Nonfiction

Join The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our 2nd annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category. 

Fancy a walk in the countryside?

The English love a long walk through the rainy countryside– much like Seattleites! We here in Seattle tend to like our countryside a bit wilder, and not so much molded by human hands, but there are plenty of rugged and untamed landscapes in England as well. The other thing we in Seattle and our friends in England have in common is our connection to our weather; misty and mysterious or sunny and sociable, we appreciate its ups and downs and the way it supports growth of all kinds. Continue reading “Book Bingo: Nonfiction”

Don’t forget the sunscreen – or the rain gear!

Here’s hoping you’ll need the sunscreen. Whether it is a destination lake, a stroll along a creek or an adventurous climb, there are lots of places nearby where you can let the city noise fall to the trailside and sleep in your own bed by nightfall. How do you locate the day hike that fits your style?

Day Hike! Mount Rainier – The visitor centers may be crowded, but a short distance down a trail you just might find yourself alone in a field of wildflowers. This guidebook provides nice trail descriptions, maps and pictures of features you might see along the way.

Day Hiking Central Cascades – This little book packs in a lot of great hikes near Seattle. The “Hikes at a Glance” grid at the beginning helps you compare trail features, distances, difficulty ratings and much more.

Hiking Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness – There are some breathtaking hikes in the Alpine Lakes wilderness. I’ve found that they tend to be steep. If you are looking for more strenuous trails with rewarding destinations, this has some great ones. There are a couple shorter jaunts in the book too.

For a selection of less vigorous walks, try Take A Walk: 110 Walks within 30 Minutes of Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound. It features some city trails and a few lowland hikes.

Trail conditions change, roads wash out and trees come down. In addition to the books, I like to consult a website like Washington Trails Association where people post their trip reports.

Of course, I’ve gotten many a good recommendation at the ranger station. They even have one inside the Seattle REI. Before you go, it is a good idea to see if the trailhead requires a permit.

Got any other suggestions of how you locate a good day hike?

Let’s start walking …….

people walkingHas someone mentioned New Year’s resolutions to you? When listening to TV or radio stations in the past week, it has been hard not to hear someone chirp about or mention getting more exercise in this new year.  Where does one begin? I have heard before to start small and be realistic. I would look out of place in a fitness room, so I am going to think about ….. walking.

Being an organized, urbanite librarian, I google “seattle exercise walking.” The first link is a site called See Seattle Why Walk? which shares ten compelling reasons to walk. Continue reading “Let’s start walking …….”