The most recommended books about Seattle

Who picked these books? Meet our 83 experts.

83 authors created a book list connected to Seattle, and here are their favorite Seattle books.
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Book cover of All the Things I Know

Karen M. Cox Author Of 1932: Pride and Prejudice Revisited

From my list on that bring Jane Austen into modern times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Austen-inspired works are nothing new (think the movie Clueless or "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" vlog) but unless you’re walking around the Austen fan world, you might not realize just how many books are out there. I became immersed in that world around 2006, and since then, I’ve written four Austen retellings, one Austen-inspired original novel, and several short stories. I’ve read countless other works (both published and on the internet,) and now run a little website called Austen Through the Ages. Below I list 5 Pride & Prejudice-inspired novels that ring true for me—they bring Austen’s themes and characters into modern settings, each putting a unique spin on the classic tale. 

Karen's book list on that bring Jane Austen into modern times

Karen M. Cox Why did Karen love this book?

Audrey Ryan’s debut novel joyfully leaps off the page, shouting, “I wanna tell you a story about some Millennials!”—in all the best ways. I’m always up for a well-written coming-of-age story, and this one made me, a jaded GenXer, once again feel the bittersweet hope (and fear) of figuring out your life on your own terms. 

By Audrey Ryan, Zorylee Diaz-Lupitou (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Things I Know as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lizzie Venetidis is confident in her decisions. Moving to Seattle with her sister Jane after she graduated from Stanford, for instance, was a no‑brainer. Adult life, however, turns out to be more difficult to navigate than she expected.
What career should she pursue with a bachelor’s degree in art history and no marketable experience amongst a tech-heavy job market? How responsible is it to drink that fourth cocktail while out with friends? And what should she do about Darcy — the aloof yet captivating guy she met her first night in town?
"All the Things I Know" is a one-mistake-at-a-time…


Book cover of Orgy at the STD Clinic

David Jackson Ambrose Author Of Unlawful DISorder

From my list on people trying to keep their shit together.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an ‘expert’ when it comes to books because I've been ‘reading’ books since before I could talk – even at two years old, holding the books upside down, but somehow still immersed. I presume all of you are experts, too. Your love of books has brought you to this site. Books became my escape when the world seemed too large and too cruel to cope with. But what makes me even more of an expert, was my dedication to books….that two-year-old loved books so much he would tear out pages and eat them, he would stuff pieces in his nose….Grossed out?  Well, what can I tell ya’, I was dedicated lol.


David's book list on people trying to keep their shit together

David Jackson Ambrose Why did David love this book?

This book takes us on various modes of public transportation through Seattle, following an overweight, diabetic grocery store cashier struggling to make ends meet after losing his boyfriend to mob violence during a BLM rally. I love the way this book mirrors the moments of hilarity and the moments of sleaze that anyone who has ridden a bus in a metropolitan area will immediately recognize. It took me back to my own trips on the New York City subways, reading a book while a homeless man sang "Sexual Healing" in the aisles, lol. This book is totally of our moment, as the passengers argue about wearing masks vs. not wearing masks, or ride the light rail to the latest rally advertised on Facebook.

The book is broken into short little vignettes, moving us (seemingly) randomly through unconnected encounters with a rag-tag group of fellow passengers. The joy is that the…

By Johnny Townsend,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Orgy at the STD Clinic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Todd Tillotson is struggling to move on after his husband is killed in a hit and run attack a year earlier during a Black Lives Matter protest in Seattle.

In this novel set entirely on public transportation, we watch as Todd, isolated throughout the pandemic, battles desperation in his attempt to safely reconnect with the world.

Will he find love again, even casual friendship, or will he simply end up another crazy old man on the bus?

Things don’t look good until a man whose face he can’t even see sits down beside him despite the raging variants.

And asks…


Book cover of Old Scores

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

No list about mysteries involving missing art can exclude Aaron Elkins! He is the author of several art history mystery novels revolving around a museum professional searching for artwork lost during World War II. Old Scores is no exception. This borderline cozy mystery novel is a clever art history mystery about forgeries, the worth and perception of art, and what some will do to 'make it' in the art world. 

By Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Old Scores as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A notorious French art dealer is murdered in this "thoroughly entertaining" mystery by the Edgar Award-winning author of the Gideon Oliver series (Kirkus Reviews).

It is a headline-making story: the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt. Rene Vachey, the iconoclastic art dealer who claims to have uncovered it, wants to make a gift of it to the Seattle Art Museum, but curator Chris Norgren is wary. Vachey is notorious in art circles for perpetrating scandalous shams; not for profit but for the sheer fun of embarrassing the elite and snobbish "experts" of the art establishment. And thanks to the web…


Book cover of Comeuppance Served Cold

Walter Williams Author Of Johnny Talon and the Goddess of Love and War

From my list on paranormal noir from someone who loves noir.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love noir fiction and the hard-boiled detective novels that often best exemplify the genre. Both Dashiel Hammet’s Sam Spade and Raymond Chander’s Marlowe are two men who will sacrifice everything for the truth, no matter the cost. There is a stark beauty in that. Fantasy, the genre of myth, carries the deepest, most poignant truths. These are the hard truths that can break a hero’s heart, as in Gilgamesh, or give you the bittersweet ending of The Lord of the Rings. Blending them produces some of my favorite stories, stories I love to read as the fog rolls in, listening to the music of heartbreaking jazz. 

Walter's book list on paranormal noir from someone who loves noir

Walter Williams Why did Walter love this book?

Not all noir fiction are detective stories, and this is one of the best.

Dolly is a thief with a past who has promised to turn over a hard to acquire a magical mask to pay her debts. As she tightens her noose on her mark for the con she’s going to use to pull off the theft, she must face the biggest danger any con artist must face, getting emotionally involved. The price of failure will be more than just her life, but the lives of people she wishes she didn’t care about.

I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t put this book down.

By Marion Deeds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Comeuppance Served Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marion Deeds's Comeuppance Served Cold is a hard-boiled historical fantasy of criminality and magic, couched in the glamour of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

"[A] beautifully constructed magical heist in turn-of-the-century Seattle."-Mary Robinette Kowal

Seattle, 1929-a bitterly divided city overflowing with wealth, violence, and magic.

A respected magus and city leader intent on criminalizing Seattle's most vulnerable magickers hires a young woman as a lady's companion to curb his rebellious daughter's outrageous behavior.

The widowed owner of a speakeasy encounters an opportunity to make her husband's murderer pay while she tries to keep her shapeshifter brother safe.

A notorious thief slips…


Book cover of Season of the Body: Essays

Cassandra Lane Author Of We Are Bridges: A Memoir

From my list on lyrical memoirs from the soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing background started in the newsroom where, as a reporter, my job was to interview and tell the stories of others. At one point in my career, my editors assigned me a bi-monthly column, and while I used this space to write about a variety of issues happening in the community, I also used it occasionally to write personal essays. I love this form because the personal story helps us drill down on an issue and, in essence, make deeper connections with the collective. When I left the newsroom, I continued to study and write in essay and memoir form. In my MFA program, I was able to focus on this form exclusively for two years, and I have spent many years crafting my first book-length memoir into form. 

Cassandra's book list on lyrical memoirs from the soul

Cassandra Lane Why did Cassandra love this book?

Brenda Miller, a former professor of mine, was one of the first people whose work opened up for me the endless possibilities in creative nonfiction and memoir. Season of the Body is a sumptuous collection of lyric essays that can teach the close reader how to come at a subject “sideways”. A flash essay offered by Creative Nonfiction magazine had a subtitle that reminds me of the genius of Miller’s book, “Distill experiences, big or small, into their purest essence.” Whether she’s writing about heartbreak or meditation, Miller’s poetic attention to detail and philosophical tone act as distiller.

By Brenda Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Season of the Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A memoir in essay form, with the body as its central reference point.


Book cover of The Queen of the Tambourine

Alison Jean Lester Author Of Lillian on Life

From my list on keeping it real about older women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Literary agents often say they are looking for books about ‘quirky’ female protagonists. I’m more entertained by female characters who feel real to me. When I write, I make myself uncomfortable a lot of the time, trying to express the many ways people both disguise and reveal the truth. I blame my devotion to my parents for this because when I left home in Massachusetts for college in the foreign land of Indiana, studied for a year in China, then studied in Italy, then worked in Taiwan, then moved to Japan, and later to Singapore, I wrote them copious descriptive, emotional letters. My parents are gone now, but in a way, I’m still doing that.

Alison's book list on keeping it real about older women

Alison Jean Lester Why did Alison love this book?

Misguided do-gooder Eliza Peabody lives in wealthy South London. In her middle age, Eliza is not just dedicated to volunteering in charities but also to volunteering her unsolicited advice to her neighbours in notes through their letterboxes. The book is consistently reviewed as both hilarious and poignant, but my memory of it above all includes one scene that was neither of those things. Instead, it seared me. The reveal crept up on cats’ paws, and I wasn’t at all prepared, which made the moment true for me, and unforgettable. If I read it when it came out in 1992, I would have been 26 years old. I must read it again now, at 56. No doubt I’ll remember the funny bits this time.

By Jane Gardam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queen of the Tambourine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel of the Year: “Gardam’s portrait of an insanely imaginative woman in an elusive midlife crisis is impeccably drawn” (The Seattle Times).

With prose that is vibrant and witty, The Queen of the Tambourine traces the emotional breakdown—and eventual restoration—of Eliza Peabody, a smart and wildly imaginative woman who has become unbearably isolated in her prosperous London neighborhood. The letters Eliza writes to her neighbor, a woman whom she hardly knows, reveal her self-propelled descent into madness. Eliza must reach the depths of her downward spiral before she can once again find health…


Book cover of The Mezzanine

Daniel Orozco Author Of Orientation and Other Stories

From my list on the existential violence of work.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first story I ever wrote was set among warehouse pickers and stockers; the second, a bridge maintenance crew; the third and fifth, office workers, and the sixth, cops on the beat. I’m fascinated by the drama of work. For most people the workplace is a highly structured environment—you can’t wear what you want, you can’t say what you want, you can’t avoid that guy who drives you nuts. Who-You-Really-Are and Who-You-Are-At-Work are not always in harmony, and the tension between those two identities is richly revelatory. I live and write in Moscow, Idaho, and have taught creative writing at the University of Idaho, Stanford University, and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Daniel's book list on the existential violence of work

Daniel Orozco Why did Daniel love this book?

This is the drama of a twenty-second escalator ride, during which the narrator, returning to the office from lunch, ponders his morning at work and his just-ended lunch hour, and reflects upon just about everything that he has observed or handled on this day (sunlight, shoelaces, staplers, doorknobs, carpet, rubber stamps, popcorn, and yes, escalators), and on every seemingly insignificant and fleeting human activity he has engaged in (tying his shoelace, signing a co-worker’s get-well card, replacing a wastepaper basket bag, avoiding another co-worker, ending a conversation). Though an office drone with a boring job, he remains undefeated, and engages the mundane and the routine around him with joy and renewal and wonder. A very funny and heartfelt book.

By Nicholson Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mezzanine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Mezzanine is the story of one man's lunch hour. Pondering life's littlest questions - why does one shoelace always wear out before the other? Whatever happened to the paper drinking straw - our narrator interrogates the inner-workings of corporate living as he traipses his way down escalators to the first floor and through the mundaneness of office life.

Mixing humour with the existentialism that surrounds all our working lives, The Mezzanine is a classic work of modern American literature.


Book cover of Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix

Corey A. Washington Author Of Jimi Hendrix Black Legacy (A Dream Deferred)

From my list on the genius of Jimi Hendrix.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an educator, author and Jimi Hendrix Historian who has been studying Jimi Hendrix for over 20 years, with a concentration on promoting him to the youth and people of color. One of my prime objectives is to ensure that Jimi's ENTIRE legacy is covered and given the proper respect. Once you incorporate my two books on Jimi (Nobody Cages Me, and Jimi Hendrix Black Legacy) and my forthcoming documentary into the research that already exists on Jimi, only then, can you get a fuller picture of the complexities of Jimi Hendrix. I had to sift through many books, magazine articles, and a wide variety of multi-media to try to get a grasp on the REAL Jimi Hendrix. I started seeing holes in what was being presented, so I decided to talk to people that were there. Many of these people didn’t appear extensively in these source documents. This list is just a start. In order to TRULY understand the genius of Jimi Hendrix, you must dig a lot deeper.

Corey's book list on the genius of Jimi Hendrix

Corey A. Washington Why did Corey love this book?

Some people consider this the second serious biography about Jimi Hendrix after David Henderson’s bio. Charles Cross had a great budget and the benefit of being based in Seattle. Since it was published in 2006, it also had the huge advantage of a treasure trove of updated information, culled from decades of numerous people doing research on Hendrix, who had a huge renaissance in the late ’90s, when his family won the rights back to his catalog. This Jimi bio was just a tune-up for his more successful bio on another Seattle Rock legend, Kurt Kobain, which was entitled, Heavier Than Heaven.

By Charles R. Cross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Room Full of Mirrors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Charles R. Cross has got as close to the truth as anyone yet in his exhaustive and ground-breaking account of the life of the greatest guitarist in the history of rock.' Observer

'Meticulously researched' Mojo

Jimi Hendrix continues to fascinate, and sell huge quantities of albums, even 35 years after his death. Quite apart from his influence on musicians and fans, a large part of the appeal of his sensational life story lies in the thrill of the era whose values he came to stand for. The Sixties still exert a massive pull over pop culture and this is genuinely…


Book cover of American Junkie

Theresa Griffin Kennedy Author Of Talionic Night in Portland: A Love Story

From my list on to help you discover what makes people tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of who I am, as a writer and a human being, I remember the words of prolific Portland poet Dan Rapheal, who wrote the foreword to my book of poetry, Blue Reverie in Smoke: “...the reader must look carefully to get a full picture of the poet herself—tender, no nonsense, quietly observing and juggernauting to make things as she thinks they should be.” I’ve never forgotten Dan’s astute appraisal of me, and it surprised me. It seems that's how I’ve always beensomeone who quietly observes, never unmoved by what I see, just trying to make sense of it, sometimes successful in that endeavor, and oftentimes, not successful at all. 

Theresa's book list on to help you discover what makes people tick

Theresa Griffin Kennedy Why did Theresa love this book?

American Junkie is a brutally honest tour de force you will never forget! The life of a young and intelligent musician with the promise of success in the 1990s Seattle Grunge scene slowly morphs into the sad reality of a man slipping into addiction and melancholy. In this memoir, Hansen struggles, but does find that his humanity is tied up in more than just addiction. Hansen was a gentleman heroin dealer, not a thug or bully. He mixed with celebrities and those unseen ghosts of the street that end up unnamed and forgotten. He had a code of ethics he lived by. Cleverly written in intimate second-person narrative voice, I loved this book because as you read, you are at once a part of Hansen’s story and in the end, you feel moved by his honesty and the unsparing way he shares the details of his life. When his final…

By Tom Hansen, Tom Hansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Junkie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A non-stop trip into one man's land of desperate addicts, failed punk bands, and brushes with sad fame, as he sells drugs during the Seattle grunge years.

In American Junkie, Tom Hansen maps his heroin addiction, from the promise of a young life to the prison of a mattress, from budding musician to broken down junkie, drowning in syringes and cigarette butts, shooting heroin into wounds the size of softballs, and ultimately, a ride to a hospital for a six-month stay and a painful self-discovery that cuts down to the bone. Through it all he never really loses his step,…


Book cover of God: A Human History

Mahmoud Elsayed Author Of The Bitter Truth of Reality: The route to skepticism and the case against objective reality

From my list on to understand humanity and the universe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mahmoud Elsayed has always been interested in finding rational answers to the big existential questions. This could clearly be noticed in his writings and philosophy. He has also worked in various and somehow diverse fields of engineering and science which allowed him to smoothly, flexibly, and knowledgeably jump from a field of expertise to another in order to make his philosophical arguments comprehensive. 

Mahmoud's book list on to understand humanity and the universe

Mahmoud Elsayed Why did Mahmoud love this book?

Whether you are religious or not, whether you like it or not, religions and God/Gods have been a part of the human civilizations as far as we started documenting, writing, and recording history and perhaps even as far as we existed. To understand the part that religion played in our history and how it had and still could have a significant effect on how we perceive the world and reality in general, it may be crucial to understand the history of religions and how they originated. Raza Aslan gives a wonderful presentation on that in this book. 

By Reza Aslan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary." (Huffington Post)

In God, Reza Aslan sheds new light on mankind's relationship with the divine and challenges our perspective on faith and the birth of religion.

From the origins of spiritual thought to the concept of an active, engaged, divine presence that underlies all creation, Aslan examines how the idea of god arose in human evolution, was gradually personalized, endowed with human traits and emotions, and eventually transformed into a single Divine Personality: the God known today by such names as Yahweh, Father, and Allah.

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, God…