WA Secretary of State Blogs

Tips and recipes for the Pacific Northwest fish fanatic

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Good fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast. By Becky Selengut. Seattle, Wash. : Sasquatch Books, 2011. 255 p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

For those who love to eat fish and seafood; for those who love to cook; and for those who are interested in sustainable harvesting and farming of fish and seafood, Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes is a must read.

Chef Becky Selengut has written a book that appeals to a broad audience. Now a resident of Seattle, Selengut, a native of New Jersey, journals her life that led to becoming an advocate for sustainability of fish and seafood. She writes that her most formative culinary experience was cooking at the Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville, Washington.

Good fish is filled with definitions, information about harvesting seasons, buying tips, questions to ask before you pay, caring for good fish, farming, harvesting and wonderful vignettes. The major sections of the book are shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters, Dungeness crab, shrimp and scallops), finfish (wild salmon, Pacific halibut, black cod, rainbow trout, albacore tuna, and Arctic char), and littlefish & eggs (sardines, squid, and sustainable caviar).

Don’t expect this to be a quick read. While the text is easily read, the richness of the book will take a while to plough through. This is a great home reference.

ISBN-13: 978 1570616624

Available at the Washington State Library,  NW 641.692 SELENGU 2011
Available in an eBook edition
Not available as a talking book, or as a Braille edition.


Celebrate one of baseball’s greats as summer comes to a close.

Friday, September 14th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Hutch: Baseball’s Fred Hutchinson and a Legacy of Courage. Written by Mike Shannon; Illustrated by Scott Hannig. (Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2011. 216 p.)

Recommendation by:
Sean Lanksbury, NW and Special Collections Librarian, Washington State Library

Mike Shannon and Illustrator Scott Hannig’s graphic novel biography of professional baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson is a detailed graphic novel, complete with bibliography, index, and copious notes.  The duo trace Hutch’s entire life: his family history and childhood  in Seattle’s Brighton neighborhood, his up and downs in both major and minor league baseball (including two stints with the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League), enlistment in the United States Navy for the majority of World War II, return to a mostly winning career as baseball manager, and his battle with cancer that ultimately took his life in 1964.

To many readers, Hutch’s name is synonymous with the Cancer Research Center founded in 1975 by his brother, Seattle Surgeon Dr. William Hutchinson.  Thoroughly researched and cleanly illustrated, this quick read will delight sports fans and fill in the outline for those unfamiliar with one of the Pacific Northwest’s early professional sports heroes.

ISBN-13: 978 0786446254

Another book on Hutch, Fred Hutchinson and the 1964 Cincinnati Reds, by Doug Wilson was released in 2010 and is also recommended reading.

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 796.357 SHANNON 2011
Available as an eReader edition.
Not available as an talking book, or as a Braille edition.

New Billy Frank Jr. Biography from the Washington State Legacy Project

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | 1 Comment »

Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank, Jr.  By Trova Heffernan. (Olympia, Wash.: The Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project; Seattle: in association with University of Washington Press, ©2012.)

With his father, Nisqually elder Billy Frank Jr. reaches back 10 years before statehood. The long history of Indian people in the Northwest inspired Frank to help unite the state and Indian tribes in the battle for fishing rights. Roughed up and thrown in jail for decades, Frank emerged as a visionary and a bridge builder.  At 81, Frank continues a global crusade to protect indigenous people and salmon.

Drawing from oral history interviews with Billy and those best acquainted with him, Legacy Project Director Trova Heffernan traces Billy’s development from angry young man on the banks of the Nisqually to passionate elder statesman and chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The book is filled with photographs and contains an extensive family tree.

ISBN: 978 0295991788

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 979.7004 HEFFERN 2012
Available as a free eReader edition.
Not available in Braille or Audiobook editions.

Read more at the Legacy Project’s Oral History site.

Discover Olympia, Washington and its history through postcards.

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Olympia (Postcard history series). By Jill Bullock. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2010. 127 p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

This unassuming book of black and white photos with minimal text packs an amazing amount of history in its 127 pages. The history of my adopted town, Olympia, WA, is told through images of postcards collected by author Jill Bullock. Many of the postcards are, in the collectors’ vernacular, “real photo postcards” or RPPCs. Through these images we learn about steamboats, downtown Olympia, early public schools and businesses, the Capitol of Washington, the brewery that made Tumwater famous and the history of logging.

We also learn the place of Olympia in the State’s history. The territorial capitol, Olympia struggled to retain the same role when Washington gained statehood in 1889. The first vote failed and Olympia faced a second vote in 1890. “Fate intervened in the form of the great Seattle fire that threatened to consume the city. The Olympia city fathers were quick to act. They sent the town’s fine, new steam-pumper fire engine the Silsby to stricken Seattle on the fast steamer Fleetwood. In spite of grumbling amongst the townspeople, $500 of taxpayers’ money was also given to Seattle to aid in their recovery. Seattleites, feeling indebted, showed their appreciation by supporting Olympia as the site of a permanent state capitol.”

This is the kind of history that arm-chair historians like me enjoy, a quick easy read filled with photos. Thanks is given by the author to Mary Hammer and (recently-retired) Dave Hastings of the Washington State Archive for their assistance with the book.

ISBN-13: 978 0738580364

Available at the Washington State Library,  NW 979.779 BULLOCK 2010
Not available as an eBook, talking book, or as a Braille edition.

View a vibrant world under the water’s surface in David Hall’s images

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. By David Hall; foreword by Christopher Newbert; introduction by Sarika Cullis-Suzuki.  Vancouver: Greystone Books; Seattle: University of Washington Press, c2011. 160 p.

Sean Lanksbury, NW and Special Collections Librarian, Washington State Library

This recently released book of photography is an absorbing and rewarding read and Hall’s thoughtfully composed and beautifully executed photographs.   The images reveal a world filled with color lying just beyond the sandy shores of the oft-muted Pacific Northwest that is above sea level.  It is hard not to appreciate this glimpse into a relatively alien aquatic world.

The introductory essays compel readers to consider the effects of environmental change upon the life contained therein and to appreciate the difficulties involved in creating these hard-won images.  The vignettes interspersed throughout add to understanding these marvelous seascapes, while outline the photographer’s method, serve to remind us what our seas stand to lose, and places of this magical realm equal in investigation to the alien worlds beyond this earth.

ISBN-13: 9780295991160

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 778.73 HALL 2011
Not available as an eReader edition.
Not available as an talking book, or as a Braille edition.

Get Growing with Edible Gardening for Washington and Oregon

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 Posted in Washington Reads | 3 Comments »

By M Tullottes (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsEdible Gardening for Washington and Oregon: Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits & Seeds. By Marianne Binetti. (Auburn, WA : Lone Pine Publishing International, 2010. 240 p.)

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

Another in a series of books on gardening in the Pacific Northwest by gardening expert Marianne Binetti, most co-authored with Alison Beck, Edible Gardening for Washington and Oregon focuses on vegetables, herbs, fruits and seeds appropriate for Northwest gardens.

From Arbutus (Strawberry Tree) to Watermelon, the main part of the book is a detailed listing of plants arranged alphabetically by common name as opposed to botanical name. This makes this book easier to use by lay-gardeners. Each entry describes starting and growing the plants, harvesting, tips, recommendations, and problems and pests. There are numerous color photos showing the plants growing in the ground and harvested. A lengthy but interesting introduction discusses aspects of growing edible gardens in the Oregon and Washington. The book includes glossary and index.

This is a great book for public, academic and horticultural libraries as well as the home gardening library.

ISBN-13: 978 9766500481

Available at the Washington State Library,  NW 635.0979 BINETTI 2010
Not available as an eBook, talking book, or as a Braille edition.

Celebrate the art of a Northwest School master

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Richard Bennett. Untitled, ca. 1940s, tempera on paper. MOHAI, 2006.38.1

The Art of Richard Bennett. By David F. Martin. Seattle, WA : Museum of History & Industry: University of Washington Press, ©2010. 80p.

Recommendation by:
Rand Simmons, Acting Washington State Librarian, Tumwater, WA.

For those unfamiliar with Richard Bennett, Martin’s book  gives a quick introduction to the artist’s life and contribution to Pacific Northwest art. The book was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle that ran August 28, 2010 to March 27, 2011.

The biography is easily read and tells the story of this painter, printmaker, author and illustrator who began his life in southern County Cork, Ireland, later hobnobbed with New York City artists, and became one of the nation’s leading illustrators of children’s book. He authored seven books including children’s books such as Skookum and Sandy (1935) and Shawneen and the Gander (1937). Bennett illustrated over 200 books, including several by bestselling and noted writers.

The Art of Richard Bennett includes 30 pages of plates of Bennett’s works. The section on publications and illustrations may be of interest to researchers. Sadly, the book is not indexed.  Bennett was born in 1899 and died in 1971.

ISBN-13: 978-0939806072

Available at WSL, NW 760.092 MARTIN 2010
Not available as an eBook.
Not available in talking book or Braille editions.

“A most peculiar book”

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

The Clear Cut Future. Edited by Clear Cut Press (Astoria, Oregon: Clear Cut Press, 2003. 528 p.)

Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.

This is a most peculiar book, to misquote singer songwriter Paul Simon. First off, there’s its unusual size: 5 ¾ inches by 4 inches, and about an inch thick. Second, the contents. The book is a wild mélange of essays, criticism, short stories, excerpts from novels, poetry, photo essays, and the like by a variety of authors, whose only commonality appears to be that they are mostly from the Pacific Northwest, although that is never stated, and may not even be true. But many of the items contained in the book have NW settings, themes, or connections.

The quality of the various components arbitrarily concatenated here also varies wildly. The most entertaining and thought provoking include the title piece, which is a photo essay by Robert Adams, Corrina Wycoff’s short story “The Adjunct” and Pravin Jain’s essay “Capitalism Inside an Organization.” The latter provides an insightful glimpse into the workings of the Enron Corporation and some of its NW connections. “The Adjunct” describes the nightmarish existence of an instructor of first-year college writing courses who has to shuttle from campus to campus with never enough hours to complete her work, all to earn a barely subsistence-level “living.” The “Clear Cuts” photography consists of photos depicting exactly what the title says.

Also rich in NW verismo is Casey Sanchez’s “As Bad as It Comes, as Good as It Gets: Canning Salmon in Alaska,” which describes the social and economic phenomena, as well as the actual day to day rigors of traveling to the north country and working in a fish packing plant. The least readable, for me personally, were the academically absurdist writings of The Office for Soft Architecture.
If you are a fan of anything and everything NW, or if you like experimental writing and the good old fashioned avant-garde, you’ll definitely want to check out this book. Otherwise, you needn’t bother.

ISBN: 0-9723234-1-4

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.5408 CLEAR C 2003
Not available in eReader, Braille, or Audiobook editions
View other works by Clear Cut Press

New to NW Collection: Stone Projectile Points Of The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Washington Reads | No Comments »

When you visit the local history museums, do you find yourself wishing you knew more about those mysterious chipped points under the glass? Perhaps you are a collector, but are not entirely sure where or who certain parts of your collection came from. If so, then the State Library has added a new reference that will pique your interest.

Stone Projectile Points Of The Pacific Northwest: An Arrowhead Collector’s Guide To Type Identification. By E. Scott Crawford (Carrollton, Tex.: Black Rock Publishing, ©2010. 130 p.)

This work is the lifelong achievement of the author, an expert collector who began his journey in 1962.  It identifies 62 different arrowhead, dart, and lance points, with full descriptions and illustrations to help you learn more about these historic indigenous hunting tools.  It covers the geographic regions now occupied by the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, with northern portions of California and Nevada, and western portions of Montana and Wyoming.

This book contains an introduction to identifying points and a glossary of terms.  It then proceeds to a discussion of the geographic features and the lithic (stone or rock) resources for each of the four Pacific Northwest regions named in the book.  The chronological and temporal location of the point types are wonderfully illustrated in the following section, and then an entire section is dedicated to describing the manufacture of projectile points. The index of projectile points are organized by general shape, then by primary characteristics.  This is an essential guide to both the hobbyist and the casual collector, and a fascinating read for those curious.

ISBN-10: 1453798471

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 979 CRAWFOR 2010
Available as an eReader edition.
Not available in Braille or Audiobook editions

New Gorton Biography from the Washington State Legacy Project

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 Posted in Washington Reads | No Comments »

Slade Gorton: A Half  Century in Politics.  By John C. Hughes.  (Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Legacy Project, Washington Secretary of State, 2011)

As a state legislator, attorney general and U.S. senator, his 50-year career in public service put him on the front lines of a host of controversial issues—from redistricting to fishing rights disputes, the battle over the spotted owl and dam breaching. His service on the 9/11 Commission revealed his tenacity to find the truth. Often characterized as an icy intellectual, Gorton emerges as a complex, thoughtful man.

Read more at the Legacy Project’s Oral History site.

Some reviews have already started pouring in.  Consider this one from John Dodge, Environment Reporter for The Olympian.

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 979.7043 HUGHES 2011
Available as a free eReader edition.
Not available in Braille or Audiobook editions.