books

File photo: diver swimming with dolphins
Flickr Photo/Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0) bit.ly/1MhxdP5

Bestselling author Susan Casey was a former competitive swimmer with extensive experience in ocean swimming. So it surprised her when she realized she had never swum with dolphins.

That changed when she unexpectedly encountered a pod of Spinner dolphins during a solo swim off Maui. Casey was so affected by the experience that she spent the next few years researching dolphins around the world. The result is her latest book, “Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.”    

Marcie Sillman talks to book maven Nancy Pearl about an unusual take on the late culinary guru Julia Child's life: a graphic biography from Jessie Hartland called "Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child."

Over the weekend, vampires were afoot in a small town on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Fans of a bestselling teen vampire romance series flooded into the town of Forks from all over the country.

Ross Reynolds interviews Bainbridge Island writer Jonathan Evison about his fourth novel, “This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!," which centers around a mysterious phone call about an Alaska cruise made to a 79-year-old woman. Evison also talks about the influence of fellow Northwest novelist Maria Semple on his work and what it’s like to have Paul Rudd play him in the upcoming film based on his last book, “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving."

Jason Schmidt and his dad around 1976 at their house on Hayes Street in Eugene, Oregon.
Courtesy of Jason Schmidt

Marcie Sillman gets the week's reading recommendation from librarian Nancy Pearl: "A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me," by Seattleite Jason Schmidt. Pearl says there's usually too much "me" in memoirs, but this one defied her expectations in a good way. 

Read an excerpt from Schmidt's book as part of KUOW's Seattle Stories Project: "I Couldn't Save My Dad From AIDS, So I Saved Myself Instead."

Nancy Pearl
KUOW Photo

First-time novelist Elisabeth Egan spent most of her career writing about other people's books as a literary editor for magazines and websites. That provided the fodder for Egan's "A Window Opens," about a literary editor who finds what she thinks might be the job of her dreams.

Nancy Pearl talks with KUOW's Marcie Sillman about the novel and what makes an author's first book great.

Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and best-selling author of books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died of cancer today in New York City at the age of 82, a longtime friend and colleague has confirmed.

The London-born academic's 1973 memoir Awakenings, about his efforts to use the drug L-Dopa to bring patients who survived the 1917-1928 encephalitis epidemic out of their persistent catatonic state, was turned into a 1990 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He was the author of a dozen other books.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

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.

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