A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

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The Best SAL Books For Every Reader in Your Life

By Rachel Bachler

Unless you’re a direct descendant of the Oprah Winfrey gifting gods, chances are that around this time of year, you’ve found yourself hyperventilating in a) the hour-long line at the Starbucks register, waiting to pay for that same souvenir mug you bought Aunt Helen last year, or b) the labyrinth of Best Buy, searching for the wrong sequel to that video game franchise your nephew doesn’t actually like.

At SAL, we don’t think it needs to be that complicated. If you ask us, the perfect gift is always a book. And the trick to picking the perfect book is simply asking: what kind of reader am I shopping for? We did the work for you by pairing SAL books with types of readers, so now all you have to do is head to your local indie bookstore . . .

Bonus: the books are all by SAL authors, so if you really want to impress your gift recipient, slip in some tickets, too!



The Financial Guru | The Passion Economy, by Adam Davidson

Did your brother marry a walking podcast of budgeting tips? Or, do you know a recent college graduate who has no idea how to apply their new major? Easy. From Adam Davidson, the beloved New Yorker staffer and co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money, comes The Passion Economy, a refreshingly optimistic take on our twenty-first century market and the career options it provides. Exploring the era of entrepreneurship and making money doing what you love, Davidson helps readers navigate redefining success in their own terms and thriving in an unprecedented economy.



The Classicist | Nightingale, by Paisley Rekdal

Know someone whose Netflix “Watch Again” list is filled with period dramas like Rome and whose bookshelf is overflowing with Madeline Miller’s novels (Circe, anyone?)? Turn them into a Rekdal reader! Nightingale is Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal’s newest collection. A contemporary-yet-classically-inspired exploration of what changes spring from trauma’s wake, Rekdal radically rewrites Ovid’s violent myths from The Metamorphoses, the speakers in her poems changing again and again in gorgeous—but nightmarish—lines. This contemporary glimpse into the human experience addresses the impact change can make across a lifetime.



The Climate Activist | The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

For the co-worker who pushed your workplace to adopt a zero waste policy, and who might already know everything about the five mass extinctions in Earth’s history: buy this book, read it yourself, iron out the bent pages, wrap, then re-gift it to them. Elizabeth Kolbert, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this excellent piece of environmental journalism, chronicles field adventures from reefs to rainforests with botanists, biologists, and geologists to examine how humans are doing what Kolbert calls “reassembling the biosphere”—and what we can do about it.



The History Major | One Person, No Vote, by Carol Anderson

For that cousin who shares the “Today in History” post every morning at exactly 7:00 am, or your friend who is up to their neck in history finals, this book will be a late-night binge read. Following a new era of voter suppression in the United States after a 2013 Supreme Court ruling to invalidate the Voter Rights Act of 1965, New York Times-bestselling historian Carol Anderson tracks all the major measures of voter suppression in America for the last century and a half, which, surprise, surprise, is a direct result of systemic racial discrimination in American voter policy.



The Artsy Entertainer| My Favorite Things, by Maira Kalman

For the person with a flair for design who always has a rotating display of art books on their coffee table, anything by Maira Kalman will do. We recommend My Favorite Things. Examining the significance we place on the objects in our lives, author and illustrator Kalman invites us into a exploration of everything from Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch to a pair of Toscanini’s pants with this whimsical bit of creative nonfiction, which includes fifty original paintings.



The Impossible to Shop For | SAL’s 4-Part Flex Pass

We all have that one person on our list. That one person that has everything (or, even worse, “hates stuff”). They own seemingly every book, or only e-books, yet you fear a gift card will seem too impersonal. You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, trying to come up with something creative that will make you their Christmas hero. To those people: you know who you are. To those still searching: a 4-Part Flex Pass could easily be your solution. A Flex Pass includes four vouchers to any SAL event(s) of one’s choosing, to be shared or split in any way. (If that doesn’t work, socks are always a safe bet.)

An advocate for the arts, Rachel trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and went on to earn her teaching certificate with American Ballet Theatre, later receiving their Affiliate Teacher Award. Rachel holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Hope International University.

Posted in 2019/20 Season