Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Nancy Pearl was born in Detroit. She tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman that first-time novelist Angela Flournoy gets the city just right in her book, "The Turner House." It traces the history of a family through the civil rights era and beyond in a struggling city.  

Ross Reynolds interviews Larry Gossett and Bob Santos, two members of Seattle’s "Gang of Four." In the social turmoil of the 1960s and 70s, four Seattle political activists came of age: Roberto Maestas from the Latino community, Native American activist Bernie Whitebear , Bob Santos of the Asian community, and African American leader Larry Gossett.

Santos is the co-author of “Gang of Four: Four Leaders. Four Communities. One Friendship."

Lovincer from Uganda works managing her fresh banana business to support her family.
Facebook Photo/Kiva

Jessica Jackley was a liberal arts major who stumbled her way into the Stanford MBA program.

Philosophy and business came together for her in 2005 when she helped start Kiva, the world’s first person- to-person microlending website. Kiva facilitates lending to poor and underserved entrepreneurs and students in 83 countries.

Special, important, brilliant: That’s the rave review from Nancy Pearl for this week’s reading pick, and she doesn’t use those words lightly. The book is “The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen,  an associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicities at USC who was born in Vietnam and came to the United States as a refugee in 1975.

His novel follows an unnamed main character from South Vietnam who acts a spy for the North around the end of the war.

Pearl told Marcie Sillman on KUOW’s The Record that it should be on everyone’s must-read list, but it’s not an easy read.

“It is laugh-aloud funny in many places and terrifying and harrowing to read in other places,” she said. “But it took a lot for me to read it. It took a lot of compartmentalizing on my part.”

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with Nancy Pearl about this week's reading pick: a new graphic biography of the famous Apple co-founder called "Steve Jobs: Insanely Great," by Jessie Hartland. Pearl says it rivals even Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs," which is considered the definitive biography of the tech leader.

When the New York Times published a Sunday spread on the author Raymond Carver in the spring of 1981, his stark stories about loneliness and bruised relationships had already earned him a Guggenheim fellowship and a nomination for a National Book Award. He’d won the most prestigious prize in short story writing three times. So a high school classmate of Carver’s brought the newspaper clipping to share with friends on a trip back home.

Scotts Bluff National Monument along the Oregon Trail.
Flickr Photo/Kent Kanouse (CC BY NC 2.0)

Ross Reynolds interviews Rinker Buck about his new book,“The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey.” Buck and his brother took a mule-drawn wagon more than 2,000 miles over the path of the trail that brought the first mass migration of white settlers to the Pacific Northwest.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with Nancy Pearl about this week's reading recommendation: Rinker Buck's first hand account of recreating in the 21st century the famous treks of the 19th century in, "The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey." Pearl says it's perfect fodder for your next summer road trip.

Ross Reynolds interviews former Stranger writer Paul Constant about why he created Seattle Review of Books. Constant says he intends to reflect the typical Seattle reader. And he's paying reviewers.

Jimmy Hoff and Robert 'Bobby' Kennedy.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was heard to say, “Bobby Kennedy is just another lawyer now.”

The animosity between Hoffa and the Kennedys dated to a famous 1957 Senate investigation, the so-called Rackets Committee, led by Robert Kennedy. That very public hearing began a lifelong feud between two powerful and dedicated adversaries.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about this week’s reading recommendation: artist Sally Mann’s memoir “Hold Still.” Mann is a photographer with an MFA in creative writing. Pearl says that her memoir will delight even people who aren’t aware of her work. 

A photo of Ann Rule in 1976 from her official website. Rule was the author, most famously, of The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy before he was caught.
Leslie Rule/

Marcie Sillman talks with The Stranger's Eli Sanders about bestselling true-crime writer Ann Rule, who died on Sunday at age 83. Sanders wrote an in-depth profile about Rule for The Seattle Times.

A view from inside a Boeing factory.
Courtesy of Boeing

Ross Reynolds interviews journalist Russ Banham about the history of the Boeing company, which turns 100 this year. Banhan is the author of “Higher: 100 Years of Boeing.”

It begins with the story of how Bill Boeing went from the timber business to boat building to airplanes. Banham also tells the story of how at the end of World War II a Boeing executive found plans for a swept wing jet aircraft while touring a liberated German factory. This led to the Boeing 707, the plane that secured Boeing's pre-eminence in the U.S. airline industry.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about a pick that's aimed at teens, but great for readers of all ages: "The Game of Love and Death," by Martha Brockenbrough.

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