The Pacific Northwest likes to read, and what better way to get book suggestions than to ask around? In this monthly feature, we ask prominent Northwest residents what books they’re reading, rereading and recommending — and why.

June is Pride month, so who better to ask than the director of Seattle Pride? Besides being a mother of four and a former Burien City Council member, Krystal Marx is a writer herself — and she could “talk about books all day.” In between getting ready for the Pride parade and Pride in the Park events, Marx shared what she reads and recommends with us.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading “Leah on the Offbeat” by Becky Albertalli. Is it young adult fiction? Yes … but it is one of only a small handful of books that has a body-positive heroine who also happens to be bisexual. Reading this book feels like an act of kindness to my 17-year-old self, as I remember the feeling of exploring my own bisexuality in the midst of general teenage angst and contemplation of the future. I loved Albertalli’s other hit book, “Love, Simon” [and the resulting movie], and how both of these books show us a world where parents show love and acceptance to their LGBTQIA+ kids. As the stepmom of a transgender teen, I’m loving every page!

What book have you reread the most?

I have read and reread the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire more times than I can recall. It is an urban fantasy set in San Francisco that plays with traditional fairy mythology, which I love, a heroine with the odds stacked against her, political machinations, and as realistic consequences as you can expect in a work of fiction. What I like best, however, is how matter-of-fact the queer relationships are in these stories; no fanfare or huge “coming out” moments, just relationships laid out all the same, regardless of gender or sexual identity or expression. These books are what I turn to when I need a break, and McGuire’s world-building is so all-encompassing that I haven’t found anything better. 

What book do you recommend other people read and why?

With all that is happening in our society and to our rights, our bodies, and even our very time, I think everyone, especially millennial women, should read “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger” by Soraya Chemaly. I had a visceral reaction while reading page after page as I came to accept how anger is OK to feel, and that it can be a valuable tool to lean on in a world where women are often expected to swallow that particular emotion in favor of more pleasing ones. When so much feels like it is happening to us instead of by us, Chemaly’s book provides a good understanding of why we feel the way we do and, most importantly, what we can do about it. 

— compiled by Scott Greenstone

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)