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Nancy Pearl on Nancy Pearl

That Stack of Books listeners, I am back with an interview with none other than Nancy Pearl. Nancy has written her first novel, "George and Lizzie." It's a love story, with one partner, Lizzie, trying to figure out just how committed she is to George, who seems to be going along with a heart full of love and a head full of patience. We met in Seattle at the Bryant Corner Cafe, our ongoing book club haunt, to talk about her foray into fiction.


Don't Be Afraid of Science Fiction or Why Nancy Hates Lumping Books Into Categories

Classic cover of a classic book Don’t Reject Science Fiction or Books That Take You Outside The Box or Why Nancy Hates Categorizing Books! Again we are dealing with the basic issue that rankles Nancy Pearl. When you put books into categories or label books as this but not that, too many readers skip over wonderful reading experiences. She knows some people just can’t relate to the science fiction genre. We had a lot of folks around the table who felt sort of “meh” about sci-fi and...


Teens Eating Pizza and Reading Books

Nancy and Steve had the opportunity to spend some time with King County Librarian Aarene Storms and a great group of young readers at the Teen Pizza and Books group at the Lake Forest Park Library meeting room. You should drop by. The next one at the Lake Forest Park Library is scheduled for June 7th. By the way, there are numerous reading groups for teens offered throughout the King County Library System Of course, a quick search for Pizza, Teens and Books brings up similar offerings...

Stewart O'Nan, "City of Secrets," and the Work of Writing

Stewart O'Nan's newest novel. “In post-World War II Jerusalem, a concentration camp survivor becomes involved in the underground resistance movement against the British.” That is the straightforward description of Stewart O’Nan’s newest novel, “City of Secrets.” Brand, the camp survivor navigates between loss and hope in violent Jerusalem. Stewart O’Nan is an award winning American novelist. Beginning with the release of his 1993 debut novel “Snow Angel,”O’Nan’s spare, precise...

Sad Books For A Summer Read

Last week we talked about books that make us happy. For balance, we take up books that make a reader sad, that take the reader into the darkest places of the human experience. Here are some books that are such an emotionally tough read, they might best be read In the sunny days of summer. The Bryant Corner Cafe is a warm and cozy place. The sunshine comes streaming the big south facing windows. Steam rises from fresh baked goods and hot off the grill meals. The world looks pretty good. We...


Books That Make You Happy

We have had some remarkably wonderful spring days here in Seattle. Record April high's in the 80's have put smiles on our faces and have us thinking happy thoughts and reaching for books that make us happy. We have tasked ourselves, those of us sitting around the table at the Bryant Corner Cafe and those of basking in the weather in our homes, on the bus, secretly listening at work ( oh we know you are. Keep it up.) We are tasked with coming up with a short list of books that make us...


Toure: What is it Like to Be Black In America Now?

Toure Toure, the writer, TV commentator and social critic, was the Signature Speaker at the University of Washington lecture series on Equity and Difference . Steve spoke to Toure about his work, including his book, "Who is Afraid of Post-Blackness: What it is Like to Be Black In America Now." Here is a short excerpt from the interview. For the entire conversation-from Trump to Fox news, go to At Length with Steve Scher. Toure had a reality TV show from 2008-2011. You can find it on...


How Would You Imagine an American Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Nancy and Steve talk about two books that look at the history of the American civil rights movement. But one book sparks another suggestion. Carry Me home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution,” by Diane McWhorter. Nancy says that if you are going to read one book about how young people challenged Jim Crow institutions in the early 60s, this is the book to read. Nancy is also recommending books by Lewis Norden, a southern white writer. She says that...


Who was Rasputin? (Audio- author interview extra)

Why do we know the name of an early 20th century Russian mystic? Why is it that the story of Rasputin has become a mini-industry of myth and folklore, well into the 21st century? Here is a That Stack of Books Extra, an author interview about a forthcoming book. Steve Scher talked to historian Douglas Smith at Folio, the new independent library and cultural center in downtown Seattle. So why do we know the name Rasputin? Oh, right, it may have something to do with the story that he had...

Where Were You When Mount St. Helens Blew?

When Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980, 57 people were killed. What were they still doing in harm's way on the mountain, after months of warnings by scientists and rumblings from the volcano? Steve Olson has gone back to tell their stories in his new book, "Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens." We spoke at Town Hall, in Seattle. If you haven't been to the mountain in a while, it is well worth a visit. The recovery of nature is an incredible sight. Check out these...

Political Reads

A few books for your consideration in the Twilight Zone that is the current American political season

New Books From Northwest Writers.

Steve had the chance to talk to a few Northwest based writers who have new books on the way. That prompted Nancy to share a few new books by Northwesterners that she is reading right now too. “Lovecraft Country,” by Matt Ruff. Nancy says Ruff takes the thriller into new and surprising territory. This story begins as a very realistic novel, set in 1954, when a young black man is stopped by a white policeman and told to leave town. But soon enough we are sucked into a story of horror, power...



The rigors of the mystery test our panel. We debate authors, series, and definitions. And we have quite a list. Before we got started on our mysteries, Nancy Decided to add to our stack of sad books. “The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams “The House of Mirth,” Edith Warton “Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White “When Breathe Becomes Air,” by Paul Kalanithi. This book is an account of the death of the author, a surgeon who wrote about his late stage cancer. Nancy says the writing...


Cocoon Of Cancer Author Abbe Rolnick Talks with Steve Scher

When that diagnosis comes, how will you react? This short book of essays and poems between Abbe Rolnick and her husband Jim Wiggins reveals how they dealt with Jim's cancer by embracing the possibilities and the pain with love and support.

This Is The Love Story List You Need For Real Romance.

What is the difference between a love story and a romance? Which do you prefer? We sat down at the Bryant Corner Café to talk about love. Valentines Day had everyone thinking about it, but we got into a pretty substantive discussion about the difference between love stories and romances. Finally, different kinds of love, between different people emerge as our main theme. Nancy started out, however, by calling our attention to a recently published novel she found remarkable by an...

Eli Sanders, "While The City Slept"

Eli Sanders delved into the failures of US Criminal Justice and Mental Health that led to a horrific crime in Seattle. Steve Scher interviews"While the City Slept" author about the people grappling with the aftermath.


At "Martha's Place," Martha Hawkins Finds Her Soul

Martha Hawkins Martha Hawkins serves soul food at Martha's Place in Montgomery, Alabama. Born poor in a Jim Crow State, Hawkins is now a successful restaurateur and speaker. She uses her story to try and inspire people to stretch their sense of their own worth. Her book is “Finding Martha’s Place: My Journey Through Sin, Salvation and Lots of Soul Food,” “We are eating Southern soul food. We are eating sweet potatoes. We have some sweet corn, lima beans and black-eyed peas. Carlton...

Sad Books

Books have a special power to make a reader sad. We often come back to them for their honesty and power.

2016 New Novels

Back from a trip to India, Nancy Pearl brought out a list of new novels coming out early in 2016 that she is pretty excited about. Here are a few of the novels we discussed in this episode. “My Name is Lucy Barton,” the new novel by Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer-prize winner for “Olive Kitteridge.” “The Portable Veblen” by Elizabeth McKenzie “Why We Came To The City,” by Kristopher Jansma. (Nancy choice was inspired in part by “Then We Came to The End,” by Joshua Ferris) “The...


TSOB Extra- Author Interview with Nick Licata

Nick Licata set out to be a citizen activist long before he took his politics into the Seattle City Council. He continues the work now that he is retired, writing, raising alarms and encouraging the next generation of activists. Licata believes you can fight city hall, and you can join it. Elected politicians respond to citizens who organize, rally and compromise. Licata fought and lost a lot of battles during his 5 terms on the council but his voice shaped many debates and policies. He...