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Ijeoma Oluo, Kate Harding and Samhita Mukhopadhyay at Seattle First Baptist Church
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

On the night of November 8, 2016, many writers and journalists were preparing pieces on what it would mean for the United States to elect its first woman president. Those works obviously didn’t make it to print.

When you buy cheap, someone pays

Oct 12, 2017
Author Raj Patel said that, among other things, we don't pay enough for our food.
Flick Photo/Jo Ann Deasy (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7E5ZEP


Seattle (or Amazon-town, if you prefer) is ground zero for cheap things. Amazon has built a world-altering business out of discounting products online.

 

And author Raj Patel says that’s not a good thing.

Author Celeste Ng at KUOW in October, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Celeste Ng’s sophomore novel, "Little Fires Everywhere," is set in her hometown of Shaker Heights, Ohio. But she sees more than a few commonalities between her town and ours.

“Seattle, like Shaker Heights, tries to live with its eyes on the world,” Ng said, speaking with Bill Radke on KUOW's The Record

Inviting a cat to live in a distillery is like offering a child free room and board at a Disney World theme park. In a distillery, there are tall stacks of shipping pallets to climb, oak barrels to jump on, pipes to nimbly tightrope-walk across and — of course — a steady supply of rodents to hunt.

Owner JB Dickey says owning a book store is a 'very honorable way of making a living.'
KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Another independent brick-and-mortar bookshop is closing its doors: This week is Seattle Mystery Bookshop’s last after selling mysteries in Pioneer Square for almost 30 years.

Courtesy of Nation Books

Who are the most dangerous people in America? According to author John Nichols, the answer to that question includes the following: Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Elaine Chao, Kris Kobach and Rex Tillerson.

The list goes on to include over 40 members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Ben Blum about his new book "Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family, and Inexplicable Crime." The book tells the story of his cousin, Alex Blum, and how he turned from an Army Ranger to a bank robber.

Courtesy of Andrew Bannecker

Does anyone not know Nancy Pearl?

For years she’s told NPR and KUOW listeners what to read with a kind of care and insight that’s made her a household name. There’s also a decent chance her action figure is on your desk or bookshelf right now. 

Flickr Photo/Daniel Hartwig/(CC BY 2.0)https://flic.kr/p/6eDGEA

Jeannie Yandel speaks with NPR music critic Ann Powers about her most recent book, "Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music."

Latoya Peterson is a gamer, a SJW, and Deputy Editor for Digital Innovation at ESPN's The Undefeated, where she produces stories about the intersection of race, sports and culture.

"You're just data and data doesn't bleed."

Author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie waits with dancers backstage for his turn on stage as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at Seattle's City Hall.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Who better to talk sex with than self-described "old, gray-haired dads" Sherman Alexie and Daniel Handler? KUOW’s Bill Radke sat down with the two authors to talk about how adolescence has gone from treehouses in the woods to porn on phones.

The author Salman Rushdie has set his books all over the world. His most famous novels — Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses — take place in India and the United Kingom, both countries where Rushdie has lived. His latest, The Golden House, is set in the city he now calls home, New York, and its themes are deeply American.

KUOW's Marcie Sillman with book hugger Nancy Pearl.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

KUOW's Marcie Sillman speaks with Seattle librarian and author Nancy Pearl about her first novel, "George and Lizzie."

Marchers held signs at the Black Lives Matter rally in Seattle on Saturday, April 15, 2017.
Daniel Berman for KUOW

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit rebellion, Seattle Public Library hosted a discussion of the factors that create inequality, repression and resistance.

Courtesy of Ben E. King / HBO

Author Tom Perrotta made his name in 1998 when, still unpublished, one of his manuscripts was picked up for movie treatment. The quirky tale told in “Election,” starring Mathew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, became a surprise hit. 

Author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie waits with dancers backstage for his turn on stage as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at Seattle's City Hall.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Sherman Alexie, author and friend of KUOW, posted this letter to his Facebook page on Thursday.

Courtesy of Jenny Jimenez

Author Claire Dederer was 44-years-old and living a successful life — literary accomplishment, comfortable marriage, family and home — when something caught up to her. 

Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Yes, you were promised a jet pack. Your disappointment around that may still sting, or you may be more concerned about global warming, or a robot taking your job, or finding affordable housing. Or you might be reasonably concerned that the digital revolution will leave you somewhere on the global trash heap of history.

A new book will help you find out what’s happening now and next in technology and maybe how to stay ahead of the curve.

Mathematical physicist and educator Robbert Dijkgraaf on the importance of the 'pursuit of useless knowledge' in both the sciences and the humanities.
Courtesy of Andrea Kane/Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ USA

In 1939 the influential American education reformer Abraham Flexner published an essay in Harper’s Magazine titled “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.” In it he promoted the well-funded, free pursuit of scientific inquiry, arguing that great scientists were “driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.”

In an essay on Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf observed, "Of all great writers she is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness."

To that double-edged and astute assessment, one can add, she is also the most difficult to catch in the act of tea-time.

This observation might seem irksomely contrarian to the legions of Janeites in hats and bonnets gathered around tea and scones to pay fealty to the novelist on the bicentenary of her death, which falls today.

Arundhati Roy in 2017.
Flickr Photo/Chris Boland (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/www.chrisboland.com

When an acclaimed novelist publishes their first new work in 20 years, people take notice.

When the first book was Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things,” the interest is especially intense. She was awarded the esteemed Booker Prize for the best novel in the English language in 1997.

Roy’s new work is “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” The novel concerns, as she suggests in the text itself, “the vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation.”

KUOW Illustration/Kara McDermott

Some of us will do almost anything to avoid boredom. No, really — anything.

A University of Virginia study put a bunch of people in a room that was empty except for an electric shock machine. What they found was rather, well, shocking.

Courtesy of Democracy Now!

Journalist Amy Goodman has been an influential voice in independent media for the past 20 years. Her efforts to inform, defy and edify resonate with many audiences. She co-hosts the award winning program Democracy Now!, where she is often seen reporting from the front lines of progressive action.

Courtesy of Paul Bongaarts

One of the truisms about living in the Great Northwest is that wherever you are, it doesn’t take long to get out into the mountains. Whether we’re from here or migrated here, we crow about the natural beauty and adventure that surround us.

When Kelly Barrales-Saylor was a new mom, she got a lot of children's books as gifts. Most were simple books about shapes, colors and letters. There were none about science — or math.

"My editorial brain lit up and said there must be a need for this," says Barrales-Saylor, who works as an editor for a publishing company outside Chicago.

Halfway across the world, Chris Ferrie was similarly unsatisfied.

When reading to his kids, Ferrie noticed that most books used animals to introduce new words. In today's world, that just didn't make sense to him.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Naomi Klein move past their shock at Trump's election at the Neptune Theatre
Courtesy of Debra Heesch

Journalist and author Naomi Klein is famous for her 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” The shock she explored there was the manipulation of international crisis situations to implement so-called neo-liberal, free market policies.

On a recent stop in Seattle, Klein considered another kind of shock. She read from her new book, “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need.”

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

Courtesy of The Hachette Book Group

It’s still a little hard to believe, but 17 years ago a comedian famous for his contributions to Saturday Night Live ran to become a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, and won, barely. At first it appeared he had lost, but after a recount and a protracted legal dispute, Senator Al Franken went to Washington. And not because he’s such a funny guy.

Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he'd found on the floor of a parking garage.

"It was a government ID for someone from the intelligence community, and he gave it to me since I write about that subject, and he's like, "I figure you can get this back to this guy,' " Graff recalls.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut#/media/File:Kurt_Vonnegut_1972.jpg

 

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was grim about the future in a hilarious way.

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