Karen is a bookseller and Author Events Co-Coordinator at Elliott Bay, and you'll also see her selling books at our events around the city. She has worked in bookstores since 1989 and in 2017 won a Seattle Arts and Lectures Prowda Literary Champions Award. She has served on numerous jury and awards panels for a variety of literary organizations, including Hedgebrook Writer's Retreat, the Washington State Book Awards, the NEA Big Read Book Review Committee, the NEA Literary Translation Fellowships, the Kiriyama Prize, and the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Most recently, she served as judge for the 2018 National Book Award for Translated Literature panel. Favorite books? Today they are The Emperor of All Maladies and A Little Life.
Reviews & Recommendations
How free are we as Americans if we are living under a justice system that is fundamentally unfair? Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative, is an attorney who has successfully defended some of society's most vulnerable and oppressed people in landmark cases before the Supreme Court. In Just Mercy, he asks us to contemplate a system in which children, the poor, the developmentally disabled and African Americans receive the harshest punishments, including the death penalty. This book touched me and made me think about what is being done to "make America a safer place." We are not safer in a system this unjust.
Why are old wars fought over and over and how does war related violence, trauma and displacement affect families and communities? American War will make you think about this, understand it better and care.
Big Cat shows the ropes to his new roommate, Little Cat and they become best friends. After many years together, the Big Cat passes on and after some very lonely days, Little Cat is introduced to a newcomer and takes a new role. A sweet and sad book that can be used to help children understand and talk about loss, whether of a pet or of a beloved elder family member or friend. Not too much is said here in the very simple words and pictures but it's just enough.
When you read Bill Hayes' book, you'll understand exactly why Oliver Sacks fell in love with him. Includes photos taken by the author. A sexy, sad, exuberant love story about people who are not 25. And it's set in New York!
This essential collection of recent essays by feminist writer Rebecca Solnit should be on everyone's bookshelf. Crack it open and read "A Short History of Silence' or "Men Explain Lolita to Me."
I'm ecstatic that The Plague and I is back in print! Many readers will know Seattle writer Betty MacDonald (1907-1958) for her bestselling memoir, The Egg and I, but my my favorite is her second memoir, in which she endures 8 months in a TB sanitorium in the 1930s--a time in which TB was often fatal and those taking "the cure" had to try to lie as still as possible for weeks and months, mostly in silence. Betty's observations about this very odd situation and her cast of characters make this book a delightful read. (Her lively, roommate "Kimi" was actually the writer Monica Sone, who went on to write her own memoir, Nisei Daughter, which is about growing up Japanese American (and spending time incarcerated in Minidoka during World War II). Betty MacDonald fans should also check out Paula Becker's new biography, Looking for Betty MacDonald: the Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Pigglewiggle and I.
How do our neighborhoods shape who we are and who we aspire to be? Read on. This warm and gentle novel, set in an old fashioned yet gentrifying Tokyo neighborhood might spur you to slow down, look around and take in what's around you. Probably my favorite of Banana Yoshimoto's many books.
This collection of stories from the early days of LA punk rock, edited and compiled by John Doe of X and Tom DeSavia, is told from the points of view of many who were there, including musicians, writers, artists and scenesters You'll read about the Vex (always my favorite venue), of the many Latino punks, of the Plungers and the Wierdos, Claude Bessy and Philomena and Darby Crash, of course. . You'll want to read it if you were there (and maybe more if you were late to the party). Also available on CD and as a digital download, with essays read by many of the writers.
Marie Mutsuki Mockett's family has deep roots in Zen Buddhism and in the countryside so devastated by the 311 Tsunami/Fukushima disaster. Her story is takes us into Buddhism as it is llived and practiced in Japanese families. Bonds endure between the departed and those who remain. Beautiful.
Oh, the sky countries, by which pilots naviagate!. Pilot/philosopher Mark Vanhoenacker takes us on a grand and beautiful adventure into his life and on his journeys on the long haul routes he flies. I'm a happier, more comfortable and much more knowledgable flier now, thanks to him. Extraordinary.