Jim McDermott: The Good and Bad of Serving in Congress

The book is a sharp, spot-on critique of Capitol Hill’s current clumsy dysfunction. Congress used to be collegial, with friendships across the aisle and a transactional culture of accommodating varied interests. No more.

Flay and Flatter: Tina Brown Does the Royals

Tina Brown is at heart a royalist. The former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor is a Brit who moves in upper crust circles. But she is also a wickedly funny and perceptive writer. 

Clyde Ford’s New Book: The Role of Black Labor in Building White Wealth and...

Under slavery, a privileged few benefited from the unpaid labor of many.

The Ambassador Recalled: Marie Yovanovitch’s Warnings on Ukraine

The United States lost an honest and dedicated representative of our democracy when Trump deposed her for standing up for what is right.

Too Much of a Good Thing? How Over-consumption is Dulling our Happiness

The problem is that if you keep hitting the pleasure button too often, everything goes to shit. Not only that, but you need more of whatever it is you are pleasured by to get that sensation.

Book Bans are on the rise. Why Now?

There's a not-so-subtle racism and sexism, not to mention homophobia, to book banning.

Total Compromise: How William Barr Sold his Soul

Memoirs by America’s political nabobs are designed to embellish or restore the author’s reputation. Clearly Barr has work to do on both fronts.

That’ll Never Sell! (Why You Still Shouldn’t Judge a Book by its Cover)

A naked woman on the cover? I said to myself.  This won’t be appearing in bookstores.

Lost Boys: “We Lose Enough of our Young Men”

From a new novel set in Ireland: "Young men don’t know what to be doing with themselves at all."

David Guterson’s New Novel: Elegiac and Touched with Seattle Noir

Guterson's first novel in 10 years. As usual, he sets his story close to his heart and lived experience.

Dan Evans’ New Autobiography: An Uncommon Republican

The Republican Party was moving right, while Evans stayed loyal to the moderate-liberal Rockefeller wing and went down with that leaky ship.  Reagan forces denied Evans, a sitting GOP governor, a delegate slot to the 1976 national convention. 

Did the Pandemic Help Save Independent Bookstores?

For many of us, the forced downtime at home during the pandemic has heightened our need for books. Bookstores are here to stay, maybe.

Avatar: Richard Hugo’s Murky Murder Mystery about the Detective who Wanted to be a...

The hero of Hugo’s one and only mystery is Al “Mush Heart” Barnes, a 40-year-old former Seattle cop who quits the SPD after three near-fatal gunshot wounds and lights out for the Rocky Mountains.

Jonathan Franzen’s New Novel and the Unsuspected Down-Turning of the 1970s

It is, in retrospect, as if we came to a crossroads in our nation’s life. One way leads to life as we had known it. Another way is marked “Here be Dragons.”

How Boeing went from “Making 20th Century Cathedrals” to being Driven by the Bottom...

If airplanes are complex, so are human relationships.  The 787 program outsourced chunks of the 787 to “partners,” thereby rupturing much of the web of relationships central to the culture of safety.

Three Books Out of COVID

I am thinking about some books I've read that use the pandemic as a main character

New Book Argues that our Approach to Homelessness Won’t Work

The book is at its best detailing the success stories of other cities. Shellenberger holds up Amsterdam, Lisbon, New York City, and Miami as cities to consider as much better models than the failed west-coast models.

Former Chief Carmen Best’s Book: Why I Quit

Best asks, "l couldn't help thinking: Are they dismissing me because I am a Black woman or is the city council refusing to include me because they don't want to be seen as working with the police?" 

There at the Beginning: Tom Alberg on How Seattle Became a Tech Dynamo

One way or another, I’ve worked for or brushed shoulders with most of our leading companies. I’ve represented, advised, and invested in Boeing, McCaw Cellular, Amazon, Immunex, Alaska Airlines, and many smaller tech companies.

Old News: Robert Hitchman, Armchair Historian

Hitchman's cherished overview was a 360-degree sighting of whatever emerged from the presses holding content about the Pacific Northwest.  And like a perched crow, he intended to see and describe whatever caught his sharp eye.

The “Year of Wise Fools”: Nick Licata and the Rise of Campus Activism

Licata argues that the student power movement, too often packaged along with civil rights and anti-Vietnam War actions, deserves to stand as a separate entity. The movement involved more than just gaining student rights at individual schools. It fostered social justice beyond the campus.

America’s Guidebooks: The Way We Were

The guidebooks themselves provided a unique survey of Americans at a pivotal point in their history – a state-by-state, town-by-town glimpse of a growing nation that was emerging from the Great Depression, and about to plunge into a world war that promised to change everything. 

Some History Lessons for Today’s Polarized Politics

There is a tide in American politics where things jump forward in a sweeping way, rather like "punctuated equilibrium" in evolution. We may be in such a moment now, as the Biden team seems to believe, even with its slim majorities. Jayapal's Moment?

How America Survived the ‘Peril’ of an Enraged Donald Trump

One little-noticed incident in the book describes what Seattle Rep. Adam Smith heard from the insurrectionists on the plane returning to SeaTac. Scary, anti-Semitic stuff.

What Happens When Your College Uncovers the Deep Dark History of its Namesake?

When we lack a story or theological world-view that allows us to see ourselves, and our forebears, more clearly and honestly, we tend to fall back on self-justification, pointing to our record of achievement and service.

On a Tour with a Cartooning Librarian

Equipped with her trusty pencil (maybe a pen now) she irreverently cartoons everything she spots during her strolls across the city: from vintage fire hydrants (would you believe we have 18,000?) to company logos stamped on the bricks that paved Seattle streets.

How a Dogged Miami Reporter Bagged Her Big Story on Jeffrey Epstein

Without Julie Brown's reporting and without her painstaking reexamination of justice gone astray, Jeffrey Epstein might still be flying high, consorting with the elite, and abusing young women.

The Case Against the Climate Change Consensus

In addition to providing a detailed critique of the climate science “consensus,” the book offers a fascinating and detailed technical explanation of how climate science actually works -- its limits, possibilities, and what this science really tells us about the future of our planet.

Beneath the Surface: New Book Explores the Hidden World of Puget Sound

"The most important animals in Puget Sound, as in the oceans at large, are neither the most obvious nor the most beloved."

The Efficiency Trap

Rendering yourself more efficient — either by implementing various productivity techniques or by driving yourself harder — won’t generally result in the feeling of having ‘enough time,’ because all else being equal, the demands will increase to offset the benefits.