Seattle-area booksellers, librarians and authors share their summer-reading plans.

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Lit Life

What do people who read for a living plan to read this summer? We asked nine Seattle book lovers — authors, booksellers, librarians and others — to find out:


Tom Nissley, proprietor of Phinney Books

Summer Reading 2017

New book: Tamara Shopsin’s “Arbitrary Stupid Goal,” a memoir of life in 1970s Greenwich Village (forthcoming in July). Nissley said it “has everything I could ask for in deciding whether to read a book: an odd and hilarious title and cover, a fresh and compelling first page, and … my wife just read an early copy and loved it.”

Classic: Nissley said that it’s time for Ivan Turgenev. “Our bookseller Liz has been on a Turgenev kick, and has taken to calling him ‘the Russian Jane Austen.’”


Laurie Frankel, Seattle author of the novel “This is How It Always Is”

New book: The novel “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “which promises love, war, migration, and magic portals — so the perfect summer read.”

Classic: Frankel will be rereading all three books in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, “this time aloud to my eight-year-old. A new one is set for October, so we have to get ready.”


Ruth Dickey, executive director, Seattle Arts & Lectures

New book: “The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying,” by Nina Riggs (forthcoming in June). Riggs wrote The New York Times Modern Love essay “When a Couch is More Than a Couch.”

Classic: M.F.K. Fisher’s “How to Cook a Wolf,” a food-writing classic published in the World War II years.


Garth Stein, Seattle author of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and “A Sudden Light”

New book: “Borne” by Jeff VanderMeer. “A post-apocalyptic world filled with bioengineering? I mean, that’s practically Seattle right now!”

Classic: “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. Stein’s friend, Seattle writer Charles Johnson, “told me it’s especially relevant at the moment, and Joe Morton narrates the audio book, so while I read it thirty years ago, I’m excited to listen to it again.”


Karen Maeda Allman, author events coordinator, Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co.

New book: Danzy Senna’s new novel, “New People” (forthcoming in August). “Her first novel, ‘Caucasia,’ is one of my all-time favorite novels.”

Classic: James Baldwin’s novel “Giovanni’s Room.”


David Brewster, executive director, Folio Seattle:

New book: “A World in Disarray” by Richard Haass, “an overview of the crisis of the old order, as it affects American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.”

Classic: “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. “I just visited the pond and the new Thoreau museum nearby, and am working on a reading list of classics of environmental writing.”


Kirstie Cameron, adult services librarian, King County Library System

New book: Bainbridge Island author Claire Dederer’s memoir “Love and Trouble.”

Classic: “There’s so much attention to classic film noir right now, that I want to go back and reread James M. Cain’s ‘Double Indemnity.’”


Brad Craft, bookseller, Seattle’s University Book Store

New book: Arundhati Roy’s new novel, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” (forthcoming in June).

Classic: “I’m reading my third translation of ‘Les Miserables,’ by Victor Hugo. This could take a while.”


Linda Johns, reader services librarian, Seattle Public Library

New book: “The Shark Club” by Ann Kidd Taylor. “A debut novel with an environmental mystery, marine biology, love, humor — and sharks” (forthcoming in June).

Classic: “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, “because I’ve never read Henry James.”