Big act of goodness: New Miller Park little library pops up ‘overnight’

IMG_1541Thanks to Andrew Taylor for this picture of a little good news in the Miller Park neighborhood.

After a February arson destroyed its predecessor, there is a new Little Free Library on 20th Ave near the Miller Community Center. Taylor tells us the new library appeared “overnight.”

Thanks to the unknown little free librarian who created it and restored a community asset. Let us know how we can thank you!

How you can help Hugo House return to Capitol Hill

Hugo House, these days, operates in exile on First Hill as construction continues on the six-story, mixed-use apartment building on the corner the writing center is slated to return to when the project opens in 2018. But state money lined up to help Hugo House return to Capitol Hill and pay for its new home is still a question mark, is an unfinished story er, might go to some other worthy project… here, let’s let somebody better with words handle this. Here is a call for support from Hugo House director Tree Swenson:

Please help Hugo House realize a long-held dream to have a permanent facility of our own! We have been recommended for a grant from Washington State through the Building for the Arts program. This funding is critical. However, the State has many funding needs this year, and this grant is far from assured. As a friend to Hugo House, we know you understand that the arts matter. You can make a big difference by contacting your State legislators to let them know why you think it’s important to have public support for a new and permanent home for Hugo House. Below is an example of a note to legislators with a brief statement about why Hugo House matters. Your own words are even more important, but any contact helps. Please take a minute right now to call or email. Time is short; the budget is in progress. You can find your State legislators and their contact information here.

For those of you in the 43rd, you’ll want to fire up your email machine for,, and

Here is somebody else good with them words at the Seattle Review of Books to help inspire you:

You can find a sample email and a link to a site that will tell you who represents you in the state legislator right here. If you’ve bemoaned the loss of important institutions during the Seattle real estate boom, this is your chance to speak out, to ensure that one piece of Seattle that’s been around for decades continues to have a new life in the decades to come. Go make yourself heard.

In 2018, Hugo House is slated to return to Capitol Hill in a new 10,000 square-foot writing center on the ground floor of the six-story apartment building under construction at the site of its longtime home at 11th and E Olive St. The new new center will include six classrooms, offices, two performance spaces, and space for writers to, um, write.

The interim Hugo House is located at 1021 Columbia. You can learn more at

Puny act of evil: Little Free Library burns outside Miller Community Center

Someone’s weekend shenanigans included a destructive act of puny evil on 20th Ave E. The Miller Community Center’s Little Free Library went up in flames — likely sometime Saturday night, one neighbor tells CHS.

"RIP" :( Thanks to Andrew Taylor for the picture

“RIP” :( Thanks to Andrew Taylor for the picture

CHS wrote here about the book donation box’s World Book Night 2013 debut. “I think it’s a great way to connect the community and promote literacy and a love of reading,” a community center rep told CHS at the time. In the years since, the Little Free Library movement has taken off and you now find book boxes on many blocks across Seattle — and the world.

There aren’t many details on the fire that destroyed the box just north of the community center. From Seattle Fire records, it doesn’t appear than anybody saw the fire in time to call the department in. We’ll check with SPD to see if there were any calls to police. We’ve also asked Seattle Parks if there are any plans yet for their center to rebuild the small but popular community resource and how people might be able to help.

UPDATE: We get the feeling this crime might not ever be solved. SPD tells CHS the fire was reported well after the incident Sunday morning around 10 AM. Police didn’t find much to go on besides a lighter found near the scene. It was checked for fingerprints but nothing useful turned up.

UPDATE 2/14/2017: The parks department is taking a hands-off approach, it sounds like. The library was “a community-led initiative,” a spokesperson tells CHS. “We didn’t take the lead on building the box and don’t have information on how the community can replace the box.” Your move, community.

Ada’s Technical Books adding event space and cocktail bar The Lab to 15th Ave E

Three years ago Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe moved to 15th Ave E. One year after that it added The Office, a space for coworking. In a few weeks, owners Danielle and David Hulton will open their newest addition to the busy commercial village — The Lab at Ada’s, an events, party, meeting and learning space.

“If we get the idea to do something, it’s hard not to do it,” Danielle said.

Danielle said they plan to put on workshops and learning events and make the space available for rent to private groups. The space also gives Ada’s the option to have two events at the same time — one in The Lab and one in the cafe. The Hultons have been working on possible events and have a launch series planned for January.

Continue reading

CHS Pics | The Boss on Capitol Hill

In New York City, Bruce Springsteen did his book event at a Barnes and Noble. New Jersey, too. In Seattle, the American rocker came to the basement of Capitol Hill’s indie bookseller the Elliott Bay Book Co. for his “selfie” tour where fans got a chance to pose with The Boss and some were lucky enough for a kiss. Tickets for the event which included a pre-autographed copy of Springsteen’s new autobiography, Born to Run, were snapped up as soon as they were made available online weeks ago. Some paid hundreds of dollars for their place in line. Some paid $37.50. Springsteen didn’t perform or read at the event but he did draw quite a crowd with lines wrapping around the block. Continue reading

Novel Laddy Groove based on days as a mod kid on Capitol Hill

"Dive into the world of new kid on the block Trevor, king of the mods Andy, and goth princess Lucy, for a wild ride through the Seattle youth scene on the tip of the grunge explosion."

“Dive into the world of new kid on the block Trevor, king of the mods Andy, and goth princess Lucy, for a wild ride through the Seattle youth scene on the tip of the grunge explosion.”

Scooters, parties and music made up the Seattle mod scene in the ’80s and ’90s.

Jerry Boak lived it — much of it on Capitol Hill — and wrote about it in his new novel, Laddy Groove.

“I have some great memories of that time and some really incredible friends,” Boak told CHS.

The narrator of the book is the principal character’s younger brother, who shares stories his brother, Trevor, told him.

Readers follow Trevor, who recently moved to North Seattle from Los Angeles with his recently divorced father. He hates the rain and suburbia, but digs a smart, back-talking, goth girl named Lucy. Trevor meets up with Lucy at a party, who takes off with Andy, king of the mod crowd with his suit, scooter, and flock of followers. The coming of age story follows Trevor as he joins Andy and the mods and the escapades that ensue, which include a stolen car and Swedish mobsters. Continue reading

Elliott Bay Book Co. gets digital audio book upgrade


The new service will also move Elliott Bay’s curated lists, recommendations into the world of e-books

When people go into Elliott Bay Book Co., they know about Amazon, explains Mark Pearson. Shoppers realize they could get the same book, often for less money at the Internet giant, but they choose to go to their local, independent bookstore for a neighborhood experience and neighborly recommendations.

“They want to shop local, and they believe in the value of the store,” Pearson said.

So Pearson, who runs, is teaming with Elliott Bay and other independent bookstores to offer audio books digitally.

Pearson said that digital audiobooks are growing at a rate of 30% to 40% annually, while sales of CD-based audio books are drying up. Without a physical product to sell, independent bookstores have been mostly shut out of that growth. So he started his company, based in the U-District, and began partnering with independent stores around the country. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A Hogwarts Reunion on Capitol Hill

Inside Elliott Bay Saturday night (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Inside Elliott Bay Saturday night (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Some old friends got together at Elliott Bay Book Company last Saturday night to keep each other company through an excruciating wait for midnight. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Neighborhood entrepreneur creates ‘Swear Word’ coloring book for grown-ups

From John T:

sp-sample-censoredJohn T is a creative and entrepreneur based on Capitol Hill in Seattle. He has lived on the Hill for more than 3 years. He has a background in graphic design and art direction.

His latest project is a Swear Word coloring book titled: Strange Paradise: A Collection of Swear Word Coloring Pages for Adults. 

The adult coloring book features a variety of over 35 designs including swear words and phrases.

The book will be available Tuesday March 8 on

John T is a member of the Adult Coloring Worldwide FB group Sweary Words where he has garnered a following.

More info about the book is here. Continue reading

A Capitol Hill bookseller’s list: best books of 2015

By Hilary Lawlor / Special to CHS

As a bookseller at one of the most famous bookstores in the country, the Elliott Bay Book Company, I see a lot of books come and go. It gets to the point where it seems overwhelming. How could anyone ever read all of these? What’s the point of writing anything, if the market is flooded with so many great choices? Well, the point of writing, and encouraging authors to continue to write, is that once in a while, a book appears that is so fantastic, so memorable, so great that it eclipses all the others, if only for a moment. This is my list of the books that came out in 2015 that I think accomplished that difficult feat.51npiQtVa-L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

  • 15) Too High and Too Steep by David B. Williams

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the entire topography of downtown Seattle was reshaped. As hilly as Seattle-ites may think the city is now, the landscape was once much more varied, particularly in the downtown area. In Too High and Too Steep, WIlliams describes the processes that leveled Denny Hill and erased cliffs and tide flats from Seattle’s waterfront. He evokes the setting the way it used to be, and you won’t believe it now, but you might wish you could have seen a hillier Seattle.

  • 14) Stories in the Stars by Susanna Hislop

In this beautiful volume, Hislop combines beautifully designed illustrations of constellations with page-long histories concerning the legends behind them. Or sometimes, when they’re not interesting enough, she makes up new ones, and her prose is warm, funny, and engaging. After laying out Hercules’s to-do list (including items like “Snatch Hippolyte’s snazzily-decorated girdle” and “Go to Crete and deal with a white bull”), for instance, she includes a note-to-self at the bottom: “Urgent: Buy Life Insurance.”

  • 13) Seattle City of Literature: Reflections from a Community of Writers

In this awesome book from local publisher Sasquatch Books, several of Seattle’s best-known writers combined their powers to create Captain Planet a work that embodies the history of literature and growth in this great city. Advertised as a “bookish history of Seattle,” the little red paper-over-board volume boasts essays and stories from the likes of Tom Robbins, Sonora Jha, Garth Stein, Frances McCue, and Karen Finneyfrock, among many others. Pick this one up if you want to feel a little bit more connected to the ground beneath your feet, or at least to the history behind it. Continue reading