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.

This month: Rep. Marilyn Strickland, former mayor of Tacoma, University of Washington graduate and U.S. representative for Washington’s 10th congressional district. In January, she became the first Black woman from Washington state elected to Congress, the first person of both Black and Korean heritage in Congress, and one of the first three Korean American women elected to Congress, alongside Young Kim and Michelle Steel, both of California.

What book are you reading now?

Ezra Klein’s “Why We’re Polarized.” “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” by Yossi Klein Halevi — it talks about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in a way that most of us don’t see it. It’s a gentleman who’s a professor and he writes poignant letters to his Palestinian neighbors. 

What book have you reread the most times?

I’ve reread “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. When I think about England, England looks just like you imagine. When Dickens writes and he describes what it was like at that time, it’s just so vivid in my mind, the writing and the way it’s described. 

There’s another book I reread too — “Sula” by Toni Morrison. I love that book. I love everything about that book, and every time I reread it, I’m older and I view it with a different set of eyes. 

What book would you recommend people read and why?

There’s a book called “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee that I read. I read it a couple of years ago. It’s just a beautiful story about the history of Korea. It’s a really really good read. It talks about colonial Japan and the relationship that Korea had with Japan at the time, and that’s a part of history that doesn’t get told very much. So I just think it’s a really good story. It’s one of the books that I could not put down. I read it from cover to cover over like five days. It was so good. Just beautiful, sweeping writing. 

— compiled by Crystal Paul

What We’re Reading

More