Seattle Reads is also called a “one book, one city” program. During the program, people throughout the region are encouraged to read and discuss the same book. The program is designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion of the work.
Everyone is invited to participate in Seattle Reads by reading the featured book, joining in a book discussion, and/or attending readings with the featured writer. It is a unique opportunity to be exposed to new ideas through community engagement. (Note: The program is about literature. It isn’t a program or discussion about civics, politics, or culture. It’s about the book.)
The annual Seattle Reads book title is announced in spring. Then follows a series of book group discussions in libraries and stores throughout the Puget Sound region. Many local book clubs participate year after year, and hold a space in their spring calendars for the Seattle Reads title.
Find more information about Seattle Reads and this years book selection below.
About Seattle Reads
Since 1998, Seattle Public Library has partnered with local independent book stores and other organizations to bring the city together for “Seattle Reads” and to read one book.
The Seattle Reads event was started by Nancy Pearl at Seattle Public Library’s Washington Center for the Book. The first program was called “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book”. The book chosen that year was ‘The Sweet Hereafter’ by Russell Banks.
Washington Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library. The Washington Center promotes literacy and a love of books, reading, and libraries, which can help strengthen communities and foster civic engagement.
Since that first event, other cities across the country have started “one book, one city” programs and readings.
2019 Seattle Reads book selection
Seattle Public Library announced the 2019 Seattle Reads featured work: “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui (Abrams ComicArts 2018). The award-winning book is on “best of” lists everywhere.
The graphic novel is a haunting memoir pulled from the details of Thi’s riveting life: her family’s daring escape to America after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s and the difficulties her family faced in building a new life in a foreign land.
The story is told through the eyes of a child leaving a country and a war she doesn’t remember by an adult searching for her identity using graphic art to explain the unexplainable.
Copies of Bui’s book are available at library locations across the region. Books are also available for informal borrowing from The Wing Luke Museum and Northwest African American Museum. Seattle Public Library cardholders can download Digital copies for streaming or download and a Study Guide for The Best We Could Do (PDF). The book is also available in paperback or hardcover at bookstores across the region.
For a list of Seattle Reads library events, visit the Seattle Public Library Seattle Reads Calendar. A selected list of Seattle Reads events are listed below.
- May 5, 2019. 7:00 PM. Third Place Books Seward Park
- May 8, 2019. 7:00 PM. Seattle Central Library
- May 14, 2019. 12:00 PM. Seattle Central Library
- May 21, 2019. 6:30 PM. Queen Anne Branch Library
- June 28, 2019. 2:00 PM. Greenwood Branch Library