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Washington Reads Summer 2010 - Washington as Place

This broad and wide-ranging topic led me to discover a number of intriguing books that grew from Washington as place. A sense of place is developed through experience and knowledge of an area, its history, geology, sociology, and geography; it is also further defined by the lens or filter each person brings to a place. Its definition has many layers, blending the land with stories, art, and personalities. Our state lends itself to diverse subjects within the broad theme, opening the door to a myriad of interesting subjects, such as architecture, adventure, tourism, environmental activism, and more.

We all come from somewhere, and for now we are blessed to call magnificent Washington as our place.

Shapiro, Ann Leda. My Island

Through her love of her home and concern about environmental harm to Vashon and Maury islands, Shapiro has created a colorful and meaningful picture book that tells the story of one island’s effort to maintain its environmental wellbeing.  The island known as Dancing Man and its people work to defeat a company that is intent on shipping gravel through an aquatic reserve.

Skewes, John and Robert Schwartz. Seattle ABC

Lovable and a bit excitable pooch, Larry, and his owner, Pete, explore Seattle from A to Z, visiting the Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, Lake Union, and more.  A fun romp as Larry the dog gets lost and we learn about the alphabet, Seattle-style, including hydroplanes, monorails, and viaducts.

Beahm, George with the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Twilight Tours: an illustrated guide to the REAL Forks

Teens and their families will appreciate this armchair visit to Forks, prominent as a result of the Twilight series.  Gorgeous photographs, essays, local facts, and information as well as a guided tour will prepare you for your visit or provide you with a great substitute for an actual visit. 


Browne, Susan Colleen. Little Farm in the Foothills: A Boomer Couple’s Search for the Slow Life

The Browne’s foray into slower living in Whatcom County is an enjoyable read.  Their delightful, yet very real, experiences in making the big leap toward their dreams make for a humorous and charming book.


Dykstra, David C. Lake Washington 130 Homes: A Guided Tour of the Lake’s Most Magnificent Homes

This is a fun read, with gorgeous photographs and interesting statistics about each home.  People will be drawn to the information about the homeowners and their businesses.  This equivalent to “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” will have a magnetic draw for the curious.  


Hoelting, Kurt. The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life

The author sets out on a yearlong experiment to take a sabbatical from fossil fuel by traveling no further than 60 miles using his feet, his bike, and his kayak.  Hoetling’s keen observations, his humor, and his reflections as he circumnavigates Whidbey Island and the nearby area are coupled with rich narrative.  This is a timely read and a remarkable story.


Kahn, Lloyd.  Builders of the Pacific Coast

Kahn, a gifted photographer and storyteller, has created a beautiful book about natural human shelter made by ordinary, yet clever, hands.  He lets the photos, most of which involve water, wood, and the sea, tell their own stories in an odyssey to builders and their creations along the Pacific coast of North America.

  Kreisman, Lawrence and Glenn Mason.  The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest

This well-researched and thorough book captures the true essence of the movement and Pacific Northwest locale, and the photographs of historic buildings and unearthed treasures are superb.  Sweeping in scope, it covers everything from bungalows to ceramics to textiles and more.


Romano, Craig.  Columbia Highlands: Exploring Washington’s Last Frontier

The rugged Columbia Highlands lie east of the Cascades and north of the Columbia plateau.  A hundred spectacular and breathtaking color photos of people, animals, and the landscape reveal the area’s role as an important wildlife link between the Cascades and the Rockies.  Hikes, scenic drives, and points of interest are included.