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Washington Reads Spring 2009 - Washington Works

Today's headlines are proclaiming high unemployment rates and Washington residents are worrying about the future of their jobs. This is an ideal time to reflect on work in this state with a variety of current and historical books.

Washington jobs have been shaped by our substantial natural resources, our unique geology and geography, our distinctive climate zones, and our innovative spirit. Our work also reflects the history of company towns and family-run industries in Washington which include logging, fishing, farming, and winemaking, to name a few. This history includes Hanford, which employed thousands of workers, located in a sagebrush desert considered so remote that it could be a secret wartime site.  Finally, there is a wow factor in our work; from our fondness for technology which gives birth to unique and useful inventions, to our sensitivity to the environment establishing sustainable farming practices.

Clements, Andrew. Double Trouble in Walla Walla. Illustrations by Salvatore Murdocca. Carolrhoda Books, 1997. 1 volume.

Double Trouble will have readers young and old laughing at Lulu’s antics with catchy two-word phrases that perplex her teacher, principal, and school nurse. The rhyming double words, comical illustrations, and ensuing fun are a hoot and a hit for children and adults alike.


Young Adult
Hartinger, Brent. Project Sweet Life. HarperTeen, 2009. 282 p.

When their fathers determine they must get summer jobs, a trio of 15 year olds decides to embark on Project Sweet Life to avoid work and dupe their parents. The project will allow them to savor a summer of freedom, which they believe will be their last before having to work for the next 50 years. As they scheme to raise money without working, these three boys learn valuable lessons about themselves and life.

NW 813.6 HARTING 2009; R 813.6 HARTING 2009


Borg, Shannon, and Lora Lea Misterly. Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts. Skipstone, 2008. 205p.

This book links the seasons to the earth and connects the food from the earth to the table. This is not only a remarkable recipe book.  It is a warm history and practical guide to sustainable farming, and a glimpse into agrarian life in northeastern Washington State.

NW 641.5636 BORG 2008; R 641.5636 BORG 2008

Carlson, Linda. Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, 2003. 286 p.

Carlson's research reveals everyday life in the company towns of the Northwest as well as their significance to the economy and social history of this region. The author looks at all aspects of these "intentional towns," including what happened when the people, jobs, or entire company had left

NW 307.767 CARLSON 2003; R 307.767 CARLSON 2003

Guterson, David. East of the Mountains. Harcourt Brace & Co., 1999. 279 p.

This is a thought-provoking tale of one man's search for significance in his life as a son, husband, father, and retired surgeon, as well as his reflections upon his own imminent death. He wanders from the verdant and misty side of the state to the more austere and thirsty landscape of his roots for what he thinks will be his last trip and discovers much about life along the way.

NW 813.54 GUTERSO 1999; R 813.54 GUTERSO 1999

McGee, Jerry. The Lewis River High Scalers and the Dam Kids. EsJay Press, 2004. 192 p.

This novel portrays the lives of the High Scalers and their families who traveled from one construction job to another in the 1950s. McGee captures the drama and brings to life the stories of the great dam building era in the Pacific Northwest.

NW 813.6 MCGEE 2004; R 813.6 MCGEE 2004

Sanger, S.L. Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford.  Living History Press, 1989. 191 p.

Reprinted by Continuing Education Press, Portland State University, 1995. 264 p.

This is the story of America's top secret plutonium manufacturing project, based on the oral histories of those who worked on it.  Historic photos and firsthand accounts from workers and scientists tell the pivotal role that Hanford played in the success of the war effort.

R 355.8251 SANGER 1989

NW 355.8251 SANGER 1995; R 355.8251 SANGER 1995

Woog, Adam. Sexless Oysters and Self-tipping Hats: 100 Years of Invention in the Pacific Northwest. Sasquatch Books, 1991. 256 p.

The new spirit of inventiveness in the Northwest is captured in this delightful book, with many inventions based on our climate, geography, and natural resources.  Each page amazes and delights with its fresh, innovative, and often distinctly Northwest inventions.

NW 609.795 WOOG 1991; R 609.795 WOOG 1991