Summer Reads from PNW Authors

By Sabrina Nelson

June 9, 2016

6 new picks from Seattle-area authors to add to your summer reading list


If you’ve been falling behind on your reading lately, rejoice: summer is the perfect time to snag a book and immerse yourself in a new world. And with these new titles from local authors, you’ll have more than enough material. Full of mystery, heart, insight and adventure, these works have something to offer for almost any reader.


My Last Continent by Seattle author Midge Raymond. Penguin researcher Deb Gardner is on her way to spend a few weeks in Antarctica with her colleague and sometimes lover when she discovers that the cruise ship he is on may have been lost in the icy sea. This grand story of adventure, love and survival takes you as deep into the heart of the characters as it does into the remote, frigid Antarctic. Raymond will read on June 30 at Elliott Bay Books. 

Marrow Island by Portland author Alexis Smith. Twenty years ago, an environmental disaster rendered Marrow Island uninhabitable, forcing protagonist Lucie Bowen and her mother to relocate. Now, Lucie’s journalistic instincts are sparked when she gets a letter from her old best friend telling her that Marrow Island is now home to a mysterious new colony. Smith (author of Glaciers) creates a rich, eerie world and fills it with deep characters, crafting a completely immersive experience. Marrow Island speaks to loss–of loved ones, of plans, of environments–but it also to human connection and resilience. Hear Smith read at Elliott Bay Books on June 17.

Before the Wind by Jim Lynch. When a scattered, volatile family unexpectedly comes together to compete in an important sail boat race, fates unfold and secrets are revealed. Lynch simultaneously unwinds the past and the present, blending and connecting narratives to reveal the story of a household torn apart and then thrust back together. Before the Wind ultimately tells the story of a strange family with plenty of compassion, humor and honesty. The Olympia-based author will read at the Queen Anne Book Company on June 10

In Another Life by Olympic Peninsula native Julie Christine Johnson. After the death of her huband, Historian Lia Carrer returns to southern France, seeking the peace and solace of the countryside. Instead, she finds love with Raoul, man clouded in intrigue and mystery. As he reveals more about his past, Lia finds herself embroiled in the legacy of an ancient murder, taking her on a journey that is anything but peaceful. Part suspenseful mystery, part unexpected love story, part romantic history, In Another Life is an enchanting mediation on love and loss. Johnson will be at the Queen Anne Book Company on June 23.


Life Without a Recipe by Diana Abu-Jaber. Torn between different cultures and differing advice from the two sides of her family, Abu-Jaber had to learn to find her own voice and create her own path. Filled with all of her signature heart, humor and wit, (Portland-based Abu-Jaber is the author of several other books, most notably The Language of Baklava), this memoir is the celebration of her occasionally rocky journey of honest self exploration and personal growth.

The Art of Blissful Parenting by Sharon Ballantine. Seattle-based life coach and parenting expert Sharon Ballantine learned how to create the ideal relationship with her children by becoming a master of what didn’t work. Now, she’s sharing that knowledge with others in her first book, The Art of Blissful Parenting. The book highlights different events from her life and teaches parents how to help their children find their our internal guidance system, their inner voice that will guide them and bring them into alignment.

At the center of her philosophy is this: “We are here to guide and inspire our kids,” Ballantine says. “Not to tell them their path of control them.” The whole book is based on Ballantine’s own experiences, and even features sections written by her three children. It’s for everyone from expecting parents to parents of grown children, guiding from a place of love and compassion.

“I want people to know that there is a way to trust yourself and to know your own path, and learn to trust that our kids can follow their own path and their own guidance.”


Entering a Period of Discovery