This week saw the release of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” a follow-up to her beloved book “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But for Alice Randall, a professor of African-American and diaspora studies at Vanderbilt University, the first novel still has a lot of relevance today.

Scholar Amy Kittelstrom argues that being liberal doesn't mean not being religious or spiritual.q
Flickr Photo/Madison (CC BY NC 2.0)

When we call someone liberal, do we imply that they are not religious or spiritual? Today’s speaker says we shouldn’t.

In her new book “The Religion of Democracy,” scholar Amy Kittelstrom chronicles seven liberals who influenced early American democracy and helped guide its progress -- and did so with their religious values firmly in tow.

Editor's note: spoilers ahead.

I don't remember how old I was when I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. But I do know that I loved it — which is why I was thrilled in February at the news that another manuscript penned by Harper Lee, previously unknown to the larger public, existed and would be published this summer.

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman discusses this week's reading recommendation with librarian Nancy Pearl. For very young readers, Pearl has chosen "Walter the Lazy Mouse," by Marjorie Flack.

Bookmarks commemorating Phinney Books for this year's Independent Bookstore Day.
Facebook Photo/Phinney Books

David Hyde speaks with author Jeopardy Champion and Tom Nissley, owner of Phinney Books, about Amazon's mixed impact on booksellers in Seattle. 

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with Nancy Pearl about "Foolscap," by Michael Malone, which she thinks would be a good pick for fans of academic satires like Jane Smiley's "Moo" or Richard Russo's "Straight Man."

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl about a Scottish mystery novel that's finally available in the U.S. called "Strange Loyalties," by William McIlvanney.

David Brooks at the 2011 TED Conference in Long Beach, California.
Flickr Photo/Vasudev Bhandarkar

Author and journalist David Brooks says that he gets paid to be a “narcissistic blowhard” and that he has to work harder than most people “to avoid a life of smug superficiality.”

As far as blowhards go, he seems fairly humble. He told NPR “the turning point in a life toward maturity is looking inside yourself and saying, 'What's the weakness that I have that leads to behavior that I'm not proud of?”

Marcie Sillman talks with book maven Nancy Pearl about a more subtle offering from the science fiction genre: "The City & the City," by China Mieville. It's the story of two worlds that take place simultaneously, in the exact same geographic spot.

Judy Blume (right) speaks with Nancy Pearl at Town Hall Seattle in June 2015.
Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Certain people tend to “erupt into squeals” at the prospect of an appearance by author Judy Blume. For the uninitiated, Blume’s books are among the top bestselling children’s books ever published. She has sold over 80 million books for children and young adults.

Chris Hedges at the 2012 Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia, PA
Flickr Photo/Steve Rhodes (CC-BY-NC-ND)

During his career as a journalist, Chris Hedges has seen first-hand the workings of revolution around the world. On a recent sweltering night at Town Hall Seattle he talked about the prospects for social upheaval right here in the United States.

Hedges’ latest book is “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.” In it he tells stories of rebels throughout history, and what it takes to stand up to powerful forces of injustice and oppression.  

Spiegel & Grau

Long before a policeman shot to death an unarmed young black man in Ferguson, Missouri, reporter Jill Leovy was exploring murder in Los Angeles.

She posted every murder on a blog and examined how many involved young black men.

Nancy Pearl tells KUOW's Marcie Sillman about the book that resulted from Leovy's investigation for the Los Angeles Times: "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America."

The cover of Mishna Wolff's book, "I'm Down," about growing up as a white girl in South Seattle.

Before there was Rachel Dolezal, there was Mishna Wolff’s dad.

In this 2009 interview, comedian Mishna Wolff tells Steve Scher about her dad, a white man, and how he became a part of Seattle's black community. 

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with book hugger Nancy Pearl for this week's memoir recommendations: 

  • "Raising Demons" and "Life Among the Savages," by Shirley Jackson
  • "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," by Jean Kerr
  • "Quiet! Yelled Mrs. Rabbit," by Hilda Cole Espy
  • "The Egg and I," by Betty MacDonald.

Seattle Is Getting A Poetic New Post

Jun 9, 2015

Marcie Sillman speaks with Elizabeth Austen, Washington state poet laureate, about a new poetry post in Seattle. The city will name a civic poet for Seattle by early August.