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: Kate Lebo — the Spokane-based author, poet and “Pie School” instructor who will on April 6 release a collection of food-inspired essays entitled “The Book of Difficult Fruit” — tells us what’s on her bookshelf. The multitalented Lebo was raised in Vancouver and earned degrees from Western Washington University and the University of Washington.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Kary Wayson’s “The Slip” right now. This book of poems came out in 2020 right around the time we were going into lockdown, but a new book from Wayson is always a yearlong event in my life. I’ve been reading, rereading and burrowing inside the rhythms and images and lives of each poem ever since getting it last March. I’ve never heard a voice like hers on the page. She’s one of our very best poets.
What book have you reread the most times?
I reread “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson every summer. I love this novel so much, I barely know how to talk about it. I love the way it explores the tension between clinging to worldly things and letting everything — and everyone — go, and the way that conflict is rooted in a house where the marks and artifacts of each person who has ever lived there remain present for the narrator, Ruth.
What book would you recommend people read and why?
If people haven’t yet read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, go read that now. The way Hurston plumbs the quietude and power of her main character’s inner life is profound and beautiful. There’s a fantastic scene early on with Janie and a pear tree that’s been a touchstone for me since I was a teen reader. It captures the feeling that made me write a book about fruit.