Shops Close Too Early, a book of ‘transit-oriented’ poems from a Capitol Hill writer

By Jadenne Radoc Cabahug, CHS reporting intern

Shops Close Too Early is Josh Feit’s new book of poetry inspired by urban jungles around the world, including Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood — and a manifesto to better public transportation and affordable housing in Seattle.

Former editor of The Stranger and and co-founder of Seattle’s news site PubliCola, Feit published what he calls a “transit-oriented poetry” book. Feit uses his two decades of experience as a Seattle city hall reporter covering city planning, housing and transportation policy as inspiration for his poems.

“I realized as I was writing about it, I just wanted to say more and more iIn ways that went beyond news stories, and that just felt more magical and a little philosophical,” Feit said.

Originally from the suburbs of Washington D.C., Feit says Capitol Hill is one of more urban parts of Seattle, since he feels the city as a whole is largely suburban in comparison to other cities around the world. Continue reading

Nook and Cranny Books: What if you read about a Capitol Hill bookstore for sale — and bought it?

(Image: Nook and Cranny Books)

A chef hoping to someday mix her worlds of food and books is starting with the book end of things on Capitol Hill.

“I joke that it was, ‘I guess I’ll just go buy this book store,'” Maren Comendant tells CHS.

It kind of was.

Comendant is the proud new owner of Nook and Cranny Books, a tiny shop along 15th Ave E. CHS reported on the decision in March by Kari Ferguson to find a new owner to take over Oh Hello Again after just over a year of business at the little bookstore where she introduced the idea of retail bibliotherapy to Seattle with a shop organized by topics — “mental health, everyday problems, bettering yourself, relationships, travel, and many more.”

Comendant bought the business including Ferguson’s stock and set about shaping her own shop. She has stuck with the the bibliotherapeutic organization saying she and Ferguson share “a very similar literary aesthetic.” Continue reading

Signs of Capitol Hill normalcy: Little Oddfellows set to reopen inside Elliott Bay Book Company

A sign of normalcy — and a sign of the times — Little Oddfellows, one of Linda Derschang’s remaining Capitol Hill joints, is making tentative plans to reopen Friday inside 10th Ave’s Elliott Bay Book Company.

Even one of the city’s longest running food and drink entrepreneurs is being challenged by the pandemic’s ongoing impact on the labor force. Derschang says Friday’s opening is pending last minute hiring including an assistant manager and a line cook.

While the cafe has remained dark, the Elliott Bay store has continued to serve customers through the pandemic and is now a union shop. Retail on 10th Ave has also gone through some changes. Macklemore’s golf fashion play Bogey Boys stopped through for a temporary stay before teeing off again in University Village. New era furniture retailer Joybird is lined up to take over the former Everyday Music space across 10th Ave. Last summer, Glossier restarted its global beauty retail ambitions with a new store on the street. Continue reading

‘Show me the person, I’ll show you the right book for them’ — Twice Sold Tales begins 35th year on Capitol Hill

Jamie Lutton started selling used books out of a cart on Broadway. Thirty five years later, she’s in a brick and mortar building on Capitol Hill. Resident at 1833 Harvard Ave since 2008, Twice Sold Tales has survived every kind of change in the book.

“I used to be able to charge more because Amazon didn’t have penny and postage books…they took about 3/4 of my income. People like to sit quietly at home and get a box rather than venture out,” Lutton says, though she does sell on Amazon. “I joined the enemy.”

Lutton at work

Her bookseller origin story starts in February 1988 when Lutton said she was scolded by a city official because she didn’t have a vendor’s license for her burgeoning book cart business. The rest is her story. Now, Twice Sold Tales is starting its 35 year on Capitol Hill.

Lutton remembers days when there were there many more used bookstores on the Hill. “There was one down Olive that just sold science fiction, besides Horizon, there was one down the street on 15th, there was me, and there was Colin’s Rare Books, that’s what I remember from the early ’90s.”

“Now they’re all gone”, Lutton said, “rents and internet, that’s my memory of the Hill, more bookstores, lower rents, happier people.”

Continue reading

Here’s your chance to own a Capitol Hill bookshop

(Image: Oh Hello Again)

Amazon is getting out of the meat space bookstore business. Here is your chance to get into it.

Born 15 months ago at the start of the first winter of the pandemic, 15th Ave E bibliotherapeutic bookshop Oh Hello Again is searching for a new owner:

This neighborhood bookstore has received a great deal of local, national, and global hype and needs a new owner! Located near Kaiser Permanente on Capitol Hill, the shop receives a ton of foot traffic. We have loyal neighborhood customers and the option to take over an online store selling books and monthly subscription boxes. All store fixtures, technology (point of sale system, speaker, etc.), shipping materials, and inventory is included with the sale.

Continue reading

Bookkeeping | Reaching for good reads amid Cafe Lago’s top shelf flavors

(Image: Rod Huntress)

By Kimberly Kinchen

For our final edition of Bookkeeping and a look at the books local businesses love so much they keep them in easy reach, CHS ventures to Montlake for another chat with a member of the Lago family. Way back in July, we stopped through Portage Bay for a perusal of the shelves inside Little Lago. At  sibling Cafe Lago in the lowlands of Montlake, owner Carla Leonardi and chef Lucas Neve reach high to draw on Italian classics served in an accessible style.

How does a book make it onto these shelves? Neve: A lot Carla has collected over the years. A number are the pasta chef’s [Justin Dissmore]. Most of mine stay at home…. Sometimes we need recipes that we borrowed from in the past. A lot of them are just reference points, especially pasta and bread books. We bake our own bread here so we need to troubleshoot sometimes or find a new pasta shape for this week’s special …. They are mostly all purchased for home use. You’ve read it a couple times, and then it ends up on our shelf here. Continue reading

Bookkeeping | Cross referencing the voices of the herb world at Capitol Hill’s SugarPill apothecary

(Image: CHS)

By Kimberly Kinchen

Bookkeeping is an occasional series touring some favorite places from Capitol Hill and the nearby via bookshelves, covers, and spines

Since opening in 2011, SugarPill has been Pike/Pine’s stop for herbal remedies and time-honored health wisdom. CHS Bookkeeping made a visit to the Hill’s apothecary where Karyn Schwartz’s homeopathic prescriptions sometimes include book leaves.

How does a book make it onto the shelf? Half of them are books and texts that I used in school. I studied herbs informally by apprenticing with people and taking workshops and going to gatherings. That was very hands-on, like learning a language when you move to a place where that language is spoken. But homeopathic medicine I went to school for and so this whole [left] side is all my homeopathic texts.

The right side is all herb books. This is a fraction of what I have, but these are ones I refer to frequently. I always wanted to actually have a book section here, but I’ve never had room. And there’s always new stuff coming out. And since the bookstore is right around the corner, I’m like, let them sell the books. And we’ll give the advice. Continue reading

Bookkeeping | Little Lago’s books bind together tasty mediums on Portage Bay

(Image: Rod Huntress)

By Kimberly Kinchen

Bookkeeping is an occasional series touring some favorite places from Capitol Hill and the nearby via bookshelves, covers, and spines

The two shelves of cookbooks at Portage Bay’s Little Lago are easily missed, stacked as they are back past the restroom and above gleaming cake pans and cookie sheets and plastic tubs of foundational ingredients like flour and salt. In this rendition of Bookkeeping, we talk to owner Will Steinway about the current go-to volumes that flavor his kitchen.

How does the book make it onto that shelf? For the most part, it’s books that we use on a more constant basis. Most come from my house library that we’ll bring in, and if we find we’re using it more than once or twice, then it’ll stay on the shelf.  Sometimes they come back and then go back to the store. But for the most part, those are just our go-to books.

If you had to choose a favorite, which one would it be? Well, I guess it depends on what is being done, but I would say that my favorite book is The Flavor Bible, which is much more of a resource than anything else. When it comes to baking, I would say Bake, which we have all four volumes of. Continue reading

Seattle Public Library says Capitol Hill branch to reopen Sunday after more than a year of COVID closure

Busier days at the Capitol Hill Library (Image: Seattle Public Library)

In the annals of pandemic history, some might trace the true reopening of Capitol Hill to July 11th.

The Capitol Hill Branch of the Seattle Public Library will reopen to visitors Sunday, according to the system’s latest “Road to Reopening” updates.

As its libraries return to in-person service, SPL requires everyone to remain masked and some resources like meeting rooms remain unavailable. Other vital resources like computers, wifi, and charging stations will be online and available along with the library’s vast collections. Continue reading

Bookkeeping | Cycling through the bookshelf at Capitol Hill’s Good Weather cafe

(Image: Rod Huntress)

(Image: Rod Huntress)

By Kimberly Kinchen

Bookkeeping is a new, occasional series touring some favorite places from Capitol Hill and the nearby via bookshelves, covers, and spines

Small bookshelves are tucked into establishments all over Capitol Hill. What’s on them, and why? In Bookkeeping, CHS asks small businesses on and around the Hill to open their books to us. For this inaugural post, we spoke to Brandon Waterman, co-owner, with Jason Marqusee, of Good Weather in Seattle, one of the Hill’s collection of bike shop-slash-cafes. You can find Good Weather’s book collection on their bookshelf just inside the front door of their Chophouse Row shop.

How does a book make it onto this shelf? Most of those books are mine. Some aren’t there — we have more in the back — because not all cycling books feel inclusive, so to speak. Bike shops have traditionally been male and fast, and that space is really negative. And some of the books were all about how to be a dedicated, perfect cyclist. And it’s like — “Maybe it’s not about that.”

The bookshelf doesn’t get used much now that we don’t have indoor seating. Which will come back soon, hopefully. But the way that books show up, each one has their own unique story. It’s a little bit like looking through your closet….I can look at every single garment that’s in my closet and know where it came from and have like a story behind it like, “Oh, I got that at Crossroads, I got that when I went on vacation to Japan.”….Some of them come from friends. Some of them come from collections that we’ve had for a long time. And then some of them just magically showed up. There’s a series of maps, because a lot of cycling is finding your way around. And while there’s really good resources for that online, there’s also a huge amount of printed and interesting material….A lot of those maps came from a guy who was touring in the Pacific Northwest, from here up into British Columbia. He had a bunch of maps sent here before he arrived from Europe. And when he came back through to fly out, he left them with us. Continue reading