Birds of the Pacific Northwest: Photo Essay

Birds of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Guide is the all-in-one regional field guide for birding enthusiasts of all levels. Bird experts Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings, and Hal Opperman illuminate key identification traits, vocalizations, seasonal status and distribution, habitat preferences, and other behaviors for the species that call the Pacific Northwest home.

There are more than four hundred bird species in Birds of the Pacific Northwest, but here are a few of our favorites:

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Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), Male, WA (King County). Photo by Gregg Thompson.

Wood duck (Aix sponsa): A unique, short-tailed duck with a long, broad tail. The males are spectacularly multicolored. The population was depressed a century ago, but is now recovering thanks to managed harvest, nest boxes, and forest regrowth. Continue reading

Behind the Covers: Make Books, Not War!

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“If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there.”

So say many people who were in fact there and must have had a pretty interesting time. Fortunately, actual evidence exists in the form of archived book covers published by the University of Washington Press throughout that era. The decade saw an enormous output of lushly artistic and unabashedly hand-made designs that have not been documented before.

By the end of the 1950s, the press had begun defining itself as a modern publisher with a range beyond purely academic monographs. Forays into regional and trade books were made, and the need for visually striking covers converged with a burgeoning creativity and new production methods that facilitated expression. Reliable budgets and an atmosphere of growth contributed to a fertile environment for these explorations. The prolific work of Dianne Weiss and Audrey Meyer exemplify this, though contributions by Veronica Seyd, Roz Pape, Diana Bower, and uncredited others also enriched the output of the era.

The documentary Graphic Means explores graphic design production of the 1950s through the 1990s:

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Walking Bellingham

Inspired by Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History: Ten Cities, our staff is going on a series of history walks of featured Washington State cities (see a similar series at Northwest Public Radio). In this guest post, 2016-2017 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins explores Bellingham.

Learn more about Washington’s urban history and celebrate the publication of Walking Washington’s History at these author events:

Thursday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m., REI Olympia, Olympia, WA

Tuesday, August 23 at 7 p.m., REI Seattle

Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m., KCLS-Renton Library, Renton, WA

Wednesday, September 7 at 7 p.m., Leschi Community Council, Central Area Senior Center

Thursday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m., REI Issaquah, Issaquah, WA


In keeping with the summer plan to try out the various walks featured in Judy Bentley’s book, I volunteered for the next outing. Since I’m new to Washington State and have a car, my colleagues suggested Bellingham. Bentley wrote that Bellingham is a combination of four villages, Whatcom-Sehome-Bellingham-Fairhaven, that “grew along the waterfront of Bellingham Bay and rode every boom and bust that swept the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s and early 1900s.” The villages eventually merged together and took the name of the bay as their own. The cornerstone markers along the route, like the one between Whatcom and Fairhaven, highlight the historical boundaries of where one town ended and the other began.

The Bellingham Loop is seven miles roundtrip (may be done in parts) and the Extended Walk: South Hill and Western Washington University is three miles one-way, with elevation gain. As luck would have it, this walk is the longest one in the book. Along with two family friends, I opted for the middle part of the loop.

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Welcome to Seattle…

…the best literary, outdoorsy, artsy, techy, coffee-loving, dog-friendly, mountain-viewing, whale watching, ferry-riding, Sasquatch-sighting, beer-drinking, farmers market-strolling, rainy/misting/drizzling (but wow the summers and the green!), reading city in the world!

My favorite thing to do when I arrive in a new city is to find the closest local bookstore. Not only are they great spaces for relaxing or meeting people, but they often lead to the discovery of local authors and events and provide a sense of the histories, nuances, and people of the city.

Whether you’re new to Seattle, just passing through, or a local looking for new adventures, the University of Washington Press has an expansive array of books to help you discover our city. They cover everything from Seattle’s intertwined urban and Native histories, the evolution of Seattle’s gay communities, growing up Japanese American during World War II, local activism and civil rights, the plight and reclamation of our river, the history of music in Seattle, of animalstopography, food, art and architecture, and weather! We hope you’ll consider stopping by your indie bookstore and checking for our W logo in the stacks of books.

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And once you’re ready, here are some fun places to read while exploring your new city!

Read: The Deepest Roots

Where: On the ferry heading over for a day trip to Bainbridge Island.

Read: Too High and Too Steep

Where: What used to be Denny Hill in South Lake Union.

Read: Classical Seattle

Where: At Benaroya or McCaw Hall during intermission.

Read: Once and Future River

Where: Before or after a kayak trip on the Duwamish.

Read: The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag

Where: Beneath the shadow of the industrial landmark at Gas Works Park.

Read: Shaping Seattle Architecture

Where: On a bench in historic Pioneer Square.

Read: Walking Washington’s History

Where: On the water taxi on route to an Alki walk.

Read: Birds of the Pacific Northwest

Where: Discovery Park, the largest city park in Seattle.

Read: Northwest Coast Indian Art

Where: wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House on the University of Washington campus.

A History of Dissent at National Conventions: Lessons from 1968’s Festival of Life

Based on the media coverage so far, the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions are looking to be among the most divisive and controversial in over fifty years. In this guest post, Craig J. Peariso—author of Radical Theatrics: Put-Ons, Politics, and the Sixties—revisits the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and how it might inform this month’s events.

At the turn of 1968, Abbie and Anita Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Nancy Kurshan, Paul Krassner, and Ed Sanders began making plans to hold a music festival as something of a counterpoint to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that summer. It would be a “Festival of Life,” as they called it, in opposition to the Democratic “Party of Death.” The friends envisioned rock bands playing as America’s youth demonstrated not just their opposition to the war, but the version of liberation that the counterculture offered. To bring young people to Chicago, they would call their sponsoring organization the Youth International Party, a name that stressed their core constituency, of course, but also served as a bit of a pun. For those accustomed to traditional Party politics, the name would sound somewhat official, but for those who weren’t interested in politics-as-usual, the word “Party” could be read differently. Much as the mainstream political Parties tended to involve drudgery and compromise, the Festival of Life and the Youth International Party would be about celebration, a fact the group emphasized in the preferred way of pronouncing their acronym: Y.I.P. became “Yippie!”

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From the Desk of Rachael Levay: Fall 2016 Sneak Peek

While everyone is hitting the beach or the open road for a summer road trip, the book world is getting ready for fall, our biggest season. Sales reps are currently calling on accounts from coast to coast—independent bookstores, museums, and galleries—and we are working on events, ads, direct mail, and exhibits to ensure our titles reach the broadest audiences possible.

So in the spirit of summer, I’d like to share a few highlights from the Fall 2016 season, books that have already garnered some exciting feedback from buyers, reps, and readers.

Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture, edited by Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez, explores how visual media has shaped our ideas of diasporic imaginings of the individual and collective self. Featuring a broad range of scholars and artists, this powerful volume features 21 color illustrations and its oversize trim has made it very popular with buyers at museums, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and has led many buyers to look more deeply at our backlist titles in African and African American art.

DeepestRoots_AlcalaThe Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, by Kathleen Alcalá, explores relevant questions about food and place by looking closely at how the cultural history of Bainbridge Island contributed to its culinary and agricultural makeup. More importantly, though, Alcalá uses this unique place to examine our current relationships to food and show how we can make savvy decisions about our present that will sustainably honor the future. It’s a smart and moving book that should be read by everyone interested in the ways in which food shapes our lives.

My personal favorite from this list is Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I, by Paula Becker. Yes, it’s funny and sweet and illuminates a part of the Pacific Northwest’s history that may be fresh to our region’s newcomers, but what’s made it such fun to work on is the sheer delight of my contacts when they remember their first experiences with The Egg and I or the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. A major library wholesaler buyer sent me pictures of her beloved childhood copies of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, an events coordinator for one of the country’s best independent bookstores talked at length about the emotional resonance of The Egg and I, a librarian in Illinois wrote to say she recommends MacDonald to patrons every week. We in university presses often get the chance to showcase important topics and spread scholarship that changes academia, but I don’t think I’ve worked on another book that has elicited such delight from early readers. It makes us feel like we’re part of the excitement!

Check out our full list of forthcoming titles in our Fall 2016 catalog.

Exhibitions on View: ‘Bhupen Khakhar’

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Khakhar painting “Paan Beedi Shop” at Documenta IX, Kassel, 1992. Photograph by Benjamin Katz.

“I think your own weakness should also be reflected in painting. One can’t hide oneself behind a painting. It is standing naked in front of everyone—what you are.”—Bhupen Khakhar, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1983

The University of Washington Press recently copublished Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All, edited by Chris Dercon and Nada Raza, with Tate Modern in London. The book accompanies an exhibition on display until November 6, 2016. Bringing together Khakhar’s paintings and some of his ceramics, Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All is a rare opportunity to discover Khakhar’s work and his inspirational story. Continue reading