The Local Literary Scene

Scribes and bookworms unite to geek out
Orca-Books---Olympia

Orca Books

By Jackie Fender

The South Sound has a surprisingly lush literary scene housing solid library systems and a plethora of indie bookstores. There also is a diverse community of scribes in the area. Bookish-themed festivities flourished in 2014 and show no signs of ending.

As the weather changes from bad to worse, what can be better than cuddling up with a hot cup of tea and your favorite book? Or attending a literary event with other people who love the smell of old paper and ink? Here’s a sampling of some of the places book lovers go.

1. Online arts and culture magazine Post Defiance, features a diverse collection of Tacoma-centric stories in regards to the city’s happenings and culture. One of its most popular literary events is called SHUT IT. S(ilent) H(appy) U(ninterrupted) T(ime) for I(ntoxicating) T(exts) happens on the first Monday of every month at 5:30pm and encourages bookworms to read together, quietly, in the elegant ambiance of Hotel Murano’s Tacoma lobby. It’s a silent reading party. If guests decide to talk, they must use their library voices.

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King’s Books

2. King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, has been hosting all things bookish since its inception, including poetry readings, guest appearances and book signings by established authors and an array of book club meetings. Seriously, the book-club group selection is diverse, ranging from classic literature, LGBT titles, foodie finds, graphic novels and the popular “banned book club.” King’s also can be found offsite at literary events selling copies of popular titles for author appearances at local libraries and more. Check out its website to stay up to date on monthly events and featured titles.

3. Creative Colloquy, is a South Sound literary site that aims to share Tacoma’s rich literary talents and foster relationships built upon the mutual admiration of the written word. This is done with bi-weekly online publications of short stories, essays, novel excerpts and poetry. There also is a podcast featuring bookish chitchat, author interviews and readings. Every month they host reading events at B Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma and local author meet-and-greets. Noteworthy Northwest authors who have made an appearance include Marissa Meyer, a Pacific Lutheran grad who wrote Cinder.

4. Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo has concocted a compelling collaboration of poetry and music with his monthly event, Live at the Auricle, hosted at B Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma, 706 Opera Alley, on the last Friday of every month. Live at the Auricle gathers spoken-word artists and musicians for a fusion of creative energy followed by an open mike every month. Check the coffee house for upcoming events.

5. Nearsighted Narwhal, 2610 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, sells books, zines and art created right here in the Pacific Northwest and hosts a variety of events for all lovers of the written word including zine and comic collaborations and live readings. Stay up to date online.

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Destiny City Comics

6. Destiny City Comics, 218 St. Helens Avenue, is located next to King’s Books in Tacoma and hosts a variety of events for people who love graphics and comics. Many of the events highlight local talent and bring artists and word lovers together.

7. Orca Books, 509 E. 4th Ave., Olympia, is city’s largest independent book store. It offers bookworms an excellent selections of new and used books and gifts, plus plenty of items made by local artisans. Do you love to write? Orca holds a monthly writing group called “Orca Writes.” It’s 2:30 to 4:30pm every fourth Sunday of the month, except for November and December. Orcas Writes is free and open to all and features writing exercise and opportunity for feedback.

Photos courtesy “Orca Books,” © 2010 brewbooks, used under a creative commons attribution license; Shawn Kinney; Michael Fitzgerald

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