David Brewster has been a teacher, journalist and publisher. He remains a civic starter-upper. Since moving to Seattle in 1965 to teach English at the University of Washington, he has helped launch Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, Eastside Week, the Mark Tobey Pub, Town Hall Seattle, and Crosscut.com. Brewster’s current venture, set to open this autumn in a wing of the Downtown YMCA, is an independent library called “Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum.”
What books are on your nightstand at the moment?
Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett's new book Carolina Israelite, a biography of Harry Golden (American Jewish writer and newspaper publisher). The author is a friend and former colleague at The Weekly and Crosscut, and I know how funny and shrewd a writer she is and what a great match of author and subject we have here. Also The Teacher Wars, by Dana Goldstein. Both our daughters are teachers, and this book makes the case that nearly all the reforms of today have been tried and found wanting in U.S. history. We just can't get education right.
Then there’s Simon Schama’s The American Future: a History. Written in the flush of excitement around Obama's 2008 election, it mines the American past for hopes of rebirth. Schama is a compelling and original writer, and I'm busy trying to find the way forward for our politics.
Have you read a truly great book lately?
Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel focuses on one Henry James masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady. But it’s about all of James and all of that era. Literary criticism in the fine old manner -- free of jargon, passionately in love with the work.
What publications/blogs/webpages do you rely on to stay informed about what’s going on in our corner of the world?
I read the Seattle Times, in print, each morning and feel it's improving notably. I start each day reading three print papers: the Seattle Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Also Crosscut, of course; KUOW; Real Clear Politics and Arts Journal for aggregation; Puget Sound Business Journal; and Publicola, are the main sources.
Valerie Easton started her career as a librarian shelving books at Lake City Library when she was in high school. Now
she writes full time, and has authored five books, includingThe New Low Maintenance Garden and her newest title Petal & Twig. She writes a weekly column and feature stories for Pacific Northwest magazine in the Seattle Times.