A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Faces of SAL: Jennifer Duval

Our thankful list grows daily at SAL, and our volunteers are definitely a large part of that list! In this post, SAL volunteer Jennifer Duval shares with us her gratitude for books, writing, and most importantly—the amazing people in her life, along with a few great book recommendations to read. Can you guess what Jennifer’s New Year’s resolution was for 2018? Hint: it was inspired by Ann Patchett.

What’s been your favorite SAL event?

My favorite SAL event was hearing Ann Patchett read from and discuss her novel, Commonwealth, in 2016. I have been a Patchett fan for years, and this particular novel was her most autobiographical, so hearing her speak about it felt like getting to know her that much better. She seems to live my dream life–being a successful author, owning a small local bookstore, and traveling around the world to research her books. She was also my inspiration to “buy nothing” for 2018, which has been an excellent experience–Patchett wrote about doing this for a New Year’s resolution last year. There have been so many amazing SAL events over the last few years, but this one does rate as one of the top.


Why did you decide to volunteer for SAL?

I had attended some SAL events with members of my book club, and really appreciated the chance to hear some of my favorite authors talk about their process. I ran into some old friends who were volunteering at an event and they suggested I try it. Within a few months, I was ushering my first SAL event! It feels like such a gift to get the “behind the scenes” peek into these events and to be around other people who love reading, writing, books, and talking about books as much as I do.


What are you reading right now?

I take full advantage of the Seattle Public Library’s “Peak Picks,” borrowing new bestsellers every couple of weeks. Right now, I’m reading Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, which is an interesting account of a young woman’s coming of age in a survivalist home-schooling household and eventually studying at Harvard and Cambridge. I also always have at least one book of short stories sitting on my bedside shelf; right now, it’s A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin, who was an incredible writer I didn’t discover until years after her death.


What’s your hidden talent? 

That’s a tough question…parallel parking, pumpkin cheesecake, and packing light don’t really qualify as great talents. I guess that if I had to name one it would be gratitude. As tough as the days have been recently, I feel incredibly grateful for the many amazing people and circumstances in my life. Being a part of the SAL community is honestly another example of something for which I am grateful.


Posted in SAL Volunteers