Outside of wrangling books at Elliott Bay, you can find Julia peddling stories on Seattle stages as an actor, and behind the mic as a voiceover artist. Her favorite reads generally have something to do with food, gardens, imagination, and the sheer joy of a well-turned phrase.
Driving Hungry charts Layne Mosler’s adventures in spontaneity and personal discovery when she decides to explore her surroundings by asking taxi drivers, “Where is your favorite place to eat?” Mosler (creator of blog Taxi Gourmet) engagingly dishes on her journey as she learns to tango in the milongas of Buenos Aires, navigates New York City as a novice cabbie, and explores what it means to be a Lebenskünstler—life-artist—in rapidly-transforming Berlin. Full of vivid observations, humorous mishaps, and a dash of romance, Mosler’s debut memoir is a flavorful delight to be savored by hungry readers and travelers alike. –Julia
What if your perfect small town was also the home of a cursed monster? In Alice Hoffman's latest YA offering, Nightbird, that is a real possibility. Until this summer, lonely Twig Fowler has lived a remote life in Sidwell, Massachusetts. When changes start occurring—new neighbors, cryptic graffiti, and purported sightings of the Monster of Sidwell—it's up to Twig to ask questions, take risks, and learn to trust her friends and herself. Nightbird is a shimmering and darkly mysterious tale of family, community, and the incredible power of true friendship. -Julia
Life from Scratch is—in short—not your average food memoir. As food writer and blogger Sasha Martin (of Global Table Adventure) embarks on the culinary project of cooking, in 195 weeks, a meal from every country in the world, she and the reader are plunged into an unexpected and wrenching exploration into Martin's difficult past, and her struggle to reconcile and heal from it. Martin combines unflinching and insightful candor with artful and skilled recipes (I recommend trying her Kabeli Palau) to take us on a journey through taste, memory, and the people closest to us. -Julia
After putting a foot wrong one too many times in Catholic school, young Martha O'Doyle finds herself pressed into service as a maid in the wealthy and troubled Sewell household on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The other servants—who include Martha's strict mother—don't say much, but Martha begins to realize that all is not well between controlling Mr. Sewell and his reclusive, art-fanatic wife, Rose. Navigating the challenges of family, class, and a difficult employer, Martha finds herself in the middle of a mystery that will take all of her wit and boldness to solve.
A gentle inquiry into the science of forested tree life, which evokes an almost mystical level of discovery about the most minute behaviors of these flora giants. Peter Wohlleben writes out of his experience of forest management in the ancient woodlands of Germany, where decades of undisturbed forest life allow significant observations of the complex, interwoven functioning of tree life cycles and plant communities. Wohlleben's writing has a questing, thoughtful tone, and it's a welcome invitation to explore the inner lives of our perhaps-not-so-silent leafy neighbors. A perfect tome to ponder under your favorite bough.