5 Must-Read Books By Seattle Authors

June 25, 2012 6:00 AM

Seattle breeds and breaths creativity as its citizens produce some of the most stellar art that the inland Northwest has to offer, and literature is no exception. These are the top five must-read books to come out of Seattle within the past seventy-years, so give them a read because you will not be disappointed.

(credit: Del Rey)

“Dante’s Equation” – Jane Jensen
Price: $15.95
At The Elliot Bay Book Company

Phillip K. Dick is one of the most renowned science-fiction authors of the past century. His passing in 1983 left a void in the genre, but is carried on in the form of the eponymous-named “Phillip K. Dick Award.” This prestigious award is only given to the best science-fiction novels of the prior year and is one of the highest honors that a science-fiction author can receive. Seattle author Jane Jensen was nominated for her 2003 novel, “Dante’s Equation,” receiving a special citation for her momentous work. “Dante’s Equation” seamlessly blends science fiction and speculative fiction in a thrilling plot that spans such topics as history, religion and science. This is a superb romp through the surreal that should not be passed up by any Seattle bibliophile.

(credit: Random House)

“Snow Crash” – Neal Stephenson
Price: $15
At The Elliot Bay Book Company

“Snow Crash” (1992) is Neal Stephenson’s third novel and represents a leap forward in maturity and content during the height of the cyberpunk movement. He manages to coalesce history, politics, the computer sciences and philosophy in a solid novel, which at its heart is a satire of the cyberpunk genre. Stephenson drives the reader through the virtual and physical worlds by combing traditional cyberpunk elements with meta-humor and Sumerian history—his vehicle of choice: addiction. Seattle’s Neal Stephenson has penned some of the best speculative fiction in the past thirty-years, and “Snow Crash” is the perfect jumping-on point for anyone interested in the genre.

Related: Best Independent Bookshops in Seattle

(credit: terrybrooks.net)

“The Elfstones of Shannara” – Terry Brooks

Price: $7.99
At The Elliot Bay Book Company 

“The Elfstones of Shannara,” by Seattle author Terry Brooks, is his second novel in “The Original Shannara Trilogy.” The first (“The Sword Shannara”) is similar to Tolkien’s high-fantasy “The Lord of the Rings,” but by the second novel, Brooks hit his stride and began to find his niche within the fantasy market and genre. “The Elfstones of Shannara” provides an enlightening narrative upon the history of the elves and features the grandson of the original protagonist found in Brooks’ first novel. This trilogy is an excellent compliment to any fantasy buff, especially those who enjoyed “The Lord of the Rings.”

(credit: alexsteffen.com)

“Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century” – Alex Steffen
Price: $40
At The Elliot Bay Book Company

“Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century” (2006) by Alex Steffen is a practical design and guidebook that acts as a compendium of ideas, forethought, practical solutions and cutting-edge technologies and inventions. It serves to help a generation achieve sustainability by living more intelligently and efficiently. “Worldchanging” was awarded the Green Prize and has been translated into numerous languages due to its popularity and credibility. Al Gore’s foreword is highly intriguing and only adds to an already-stellar guidebook. Considered to be one of the best design books to emerge out of Seattle in the past decade, this is a must read for anyone interested in the Green Movement and the environment as a whole.

(credit: Prime Press)

“The Torch” – Jack Bechdolt
Price: $15
At Amazon.com

Seattle journalist, Jack Bechdolt, published “The Torch” in 1948. Originally printed by Prime Press in limited quantity, “The Torch” is a science-fiction novel that delves into the realm of atomic warfare, specifically the aftermath along the Eastern seaboard. Along the vein of Pat Frank’s “Alas, Babylon,” Bechdolt’s novel centers on the survivors of a nuclear holocaust living in a demolished New York City. A myriad of novels with similar subject matters hit the presses during the 1940s and ‘50s, but Bechdolt’s journalistic prose, social commentary and strong plot have stood the test of time, remaining one of the best novels to ever come out of the Emerald City.

Related: Best Culture On A Budget In Seattle

Anthony Schultz resides within the historic Brownes Addition of Spokane, WA. In his off time, Anthony enjoys copious amounts of reading, pages upon pages of scribbles, which he dubs his writings, and absorbing as much pop culture as humanly possible. His best days end with discussion with his longtime girlfriend, a book in hand, and an obese black and tan Dachshund (by the name of Norman) at his feet. His work can be found at Examiner.com.