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: Longtime Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Gossett and Girmay Zahilay, who is running against Gossett in the November general election, share their literary picks.

Larry Gossett, Metropolitan King County Council member

(photo courtesy of King County)
(photo courtesy of King County)

What book are you reading now?

“The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson.

What book have you reread the most?

Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

What book do you recommend other people read and why?

I recommend people read “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates because of his knowledge and strong analysis of race relations in the U.S. His book inspires people of all backgrounds, it has sold millions of copies and remains a popular read.

— compiled by David Gutman

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Girmay Zahilay, attorney and candidate for Metropolitan King County Council

(photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
(photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

What book are you reading now?

I recently started reading “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond.

What book have you reread the most?

My honest answer is the “Harry Potter” series. I am not ashamed. 

What book do you recommend other people read and why?

Everyone, especially those who want to shape policy, should read “The New Jim Crow.” I have had friends in my life who didn’t understand race, racism and the state of our country until they read this book. Michelle Alexander, the author, draws a clear line from slavery, to Jim Crow, to the war on drugs and mass incarceration and how each is a form of social control based on race. It’s an illuminating book and a great first step for understanding institutional racism and shaping just policies.

— compiled by Marcus Green