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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Isabel Wilkerson: Facing up to a “Culture of Cruelty”

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In response to the Black Lives Matter protest movement, American historians and philosophers have been examining the tenacious roots of endemic racism in the United States and pointing to a potential model for a long-overdue reckoning: Germany’s recognition of the crimes of the Holocaust and atonement for its victims.

New Bio: Eleanor Roosevelt, the “People’s Proxy”

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Family ties initially brought Eleanor to Seattle. Anna, her only daughter, and her husband John Boettiger lived and worked here after he was appointed Seattle Post-Intelligencer publisher in the mid 1930s. Anna served as the paper's Women's Page editor.

Gift of Age: Reading With Almost Perfect Clarity

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I can read almost perfectly. I can walk into Proust and be more pleased in a moment than had I won a thousand awards. I can hear a pop song, "Midnight Train to Georgia," and tell my son, it must have been wonderful to write the lyrics -- "I would rather live in his world than live without him in mine."

Unforgotten: Ron Chew’s Seattle

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"Home" was Chinatown International District where his parents worked -- his father as head waiter at the Hong Kong Restaurant, his mother holding down two jobs as a seamstress.

The Whitman Tragedy: Into the Land of the Cayuse, Masters of the Columbia Plateau

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The book, Unsettled Ground: The Whitman Massacre and its Shifting Legacy in the American West, sheds new light on the legend-shrouded story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

“Promised Land” is Arguably the Best Presidential Memoir Ever

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At times the book reads like a bromance. No surprise then when, late in his first presidential year, Valerie Jarrett pulls Obama aside to tell him of the deepening dissatisfaction among senior women in the White House. Obama responded by inviting a dozen women staffers to join him over dinner and heard their complaints.

How the Doggerel went Digital

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To me, interactivity with a book used to mean turning the pages. In a digital book it's that and more.

Insta Unfiltered, a Tech Tale

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The book is especially strong on the personalities and motivation of the founders such as Kevin Systrom, an aesthete and lover of fine bourbon, and tech whiz Mike Krieger, who launched the photo sharing app in 2010.

America – the Past is never really Past

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"What was is never over.  There have been moments in our history, brief ones, where the meaning of the Civil War has seem settled. ...

Novelist Jess Walter Sets a Story in Early Spokane, Beset With Radicals

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Labor is a theme, but Spokane doesn’t really have a labor force—just rootless workers who can’t drive a fair deal. Then the Wobblies come to town.

Former Mayor Norm Rice’s new Book: Bringing People Together to do What

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The focus of the book is the 1989 race for mayor, which Rice won handily. The city sent a mixed message, narrowly approving the anti-busing initiative, while electing the first black mayor in a city with only 10 percent black population.

Good Counsel for Hard Times

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You may think yourself rightminded when it comes to clumsy thought and slipshod reasoning, but reading him is to discover what’s slipshod and clumsy in your own thought. You don’t just learn about how “the enemy” thinks and acts, you discover how your own compromises and oversimplifications help him get away with it.

A Dog’s Take on The Lewis & Clark and on that Black Dog Depression

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The book is narrated by Meriwether Lewis’ dog, Seaman, a Newfoundland. As such it is a great introduction to this important chapter in American history. And there really was a “Seaman.”

Review: ‘Caste’ Explores the Underlying Structure of Racism

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The author quotes race historian George M. Fredrickson: “American laws were the main foreign precedents” for Germany becoming a “full-fledged racist regime.” What laws? U.S. miscegenation laws, also known as Blood Laws, that defined who could and could not marry.

Which Trump Books Should you Read?

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It's been my lot to end up reading a number of the more prominent books about the Trump era, so I can give some advice. "Rage" (backed by 17 tape recordings of interviews with Trump) is the number-one enduring read.

Stirring The Imagination: The Majestic Great Gray and Snowy Owls

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Baby owls are fluffy, wide-eyes and irresistibly cute, as Bannick records in his nesting pictures. A very different picture is provided when the great birds are plunging downward and dismembering prey.

“Managing Chaos”: Michael Cohen Dishes on his Mob Boss

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Cohen writes that, if you want to understand how Donald J. Trump became president, "you have to know the biggest influence by far was the media. Donald Trump's presidency is a product of the free press. The free press gave America Trump -- that's who elected Trump and might well elect him again."

Bob Woodward’s New Book: All The President’s Deceits

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Jared Kushner said the key to understanding Trump is the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland who famously said, "If you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there." Kushner describes his father-in-law variously as "crazy, unpredictable, stubborn and manipulative."

Unsettled Ground: The Whitman Massacre and its Shifting Legacy

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The Cayuse were openly social, giving gifts and moving freely among each other’s lodges. The Whitmans built fences, locked their doors, and had no gifts to give. The missionaries, had a rigid belief system; the Cayuse, Tate writes, “were religious synthesizers willing to graft new ideas onto old beliefs.”

Book Review: The Apocalypse Factory

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The 560-square mile Hanford Reservation manufactured plutonium for nuclear weapons for more than four decades. Its mishaps, and cleanup of the nation’s largest concentration of high-level nuclear waste, have been a major Northwest news story for 40 years.

Mindy Cameron’s New Book: Struggles in a Newsroom

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As a newsie myself, I appreciated her early struggles at the Times where she worked in a male-dominated atmosphere and answered to at least one unsympathetic editor.

Vitamin W: Health Benefits Of that Nightly Glass of Wine

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Research conducted by Serge Renaud of the University of Bordeaux discovered that although the French smoke and eat more dietary fat than Americans, they suffer half the mortality rate from coronary disease. Renaud argued that the French’s regular red wine consumption accounted for the difference.

Reading: The Plague During Plague

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This spring I decided to take a zoomed book class offered by Alliance Française Seattle. The assigned book was “La Peste” by Albert Camus. It...

How to fight racism and anti-black violence? Another reading list

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Books may not have the answers we seek to confronting and understanding racism and anti-black violence. But maybe they can help.

What Can Existentialism Teach Us About Today?

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All of the Existentialists are philosophers of life who refuse to spin systems of ideals, insisting instead, like the American Pragmatists, that philosophies are only truly tested in lived experience.

Ten Books To Read in the Pandemic

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Looking for insights on our current circumstances from other times and writers? Here is a basket full of books that speak to our time from the past.

Rebecca Solnit’s Book: Remaking Our Lives Amid Major Disasters

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Disasters are “extraordinarily generative,” Solnit contends. From them emerge new ways of seeing the world and one another. Fruitless preoccupations suddenly fade away. Hitherto un-imagined possibilities emerge.

A Plague Reader – From Florence to Seattle

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The onset and turbulent passage of Seattle’ influenza epidemic matches our present experience, and its history may serve as a route-guide. The "Spanish" Flu orphaned Emmett Watson and Mary McCarthy who, arguably, became writers as a result.

Nation Divided: Of Social Distancing And Polarization

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Here’s my question. Have we not been demanding social distancing, admittedly of a different type, for some time now? Another word for “social distancing” is “polarization.”

Books: International Intrigue – A Handful of Current Thrillers

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The Names of the Dead Kevin Wignall  Abandoned by his CIA colleagues when an anti-terrorism operation in Europe goes wrong, Wes Wesley serves out his...