Interested in reading a good book? Join us at the SEAPAX book club. Check out the next book, when and where we meet on this page:
Feb. 5th, 2018 3pm - 5pm
Tougo Coffee Co
1410 18th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
“Notes on a Foreign Country: An American in a Post-American World” by Suzy Hansen
Suzy Hansen left her country and moved to Istanbul and discovered America
In the wake of the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Suzy Hansen, who grew up in an insular conservative town in New Jersey, was enjoying early success as a journalist for a high-profile New York newspaper. Increasingly, though, the disconnect between the chaos of world events and the response at home took on pressing urgency for her. Seeking to understand the Muslim world that had been reduced to scaremongering headlines, she moved to Istanbul.
Hansen arrived in Istanbul with romantic ideas about a mythical city perched between East and West, and with a naïve sense of the Islamic world beyond. Over the course of her many years of living in Turkey and traveling in Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, she learned a great deal about these countries and their cultures and histories and politics. But the greatest, most unsettling surprise would be what she learned about her own country—and herself, an American abroad in the era of American decline. It would take leaving her home to discover what she came to think of as the two Americas: the country and its people, and the experience of American power around the world. She came to understand that anti-Americanism is not a violent pathology. It is, Hansen writes, “a broken heart . . . A one-hundred-year-old relationship.”
Blending memoir, journalism, and history, and deeply attuned to the voices of those she met on her travels, Notes on a Foreign Country is a moving reflection on America’s place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation—a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.
April 8th, 2018 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Black Kettle Bites and Brew
744 Market St, Unit 102B
Tacoma, WA 98402
Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior (2017) Peter Tinti & Tuesday Reitano
Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior investigates one of the most under-examined aspects of the great migration crisis of our time. As millions seek passage to Europe, in order to escape violent conflicts, repressive governments, and crushing poverty, their movements are enabled and actively encouraged by criminal networks that amass billions of dollars by facilitating their transport.
Many of these smugglers carry out their activities with little regard for human rights, which has led to a manifold increase in human suffering, not only in the Mediterranean Sea, but also along the overland smuggling routes that cross the Sahara, penetrate deep into the Balkans, and through hidden corners of Europe’s capitals. But some of these smugglers are revered as saviors by those they move, for it is they who deliver men, women, and children to a safer place and a better life. Disconcertingly, it is often criminals who help the most desperate among us when the international system fails to come to their aid. This book is a measured attempt, born of years of research and reporting in the field, to better understand how human-smuggling networks function, the ways in which they have evolved, and what they mean for peace and security in the future.
June 3rd, 2018 3:00 – 5:00 PM**
BAMBU Desserts & Drinks
516 7th Ave. S
Seattle, WA 98104
The Sympathizer (2015) by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.
**Viet Thanh Nguyen will be speaking at Benaroya Hall on May 7th, 2018 at 7:30 PM. See link for details: http://lectures.org/event/viet-thanh-nguyen/
August 5th, 2018 3:00 – 5:00 PM
(If it’s nice out I’d love to grab coffee and move our meeting to the park, but we would wait for everyone to arrive before we move over to the park)
7208 E Green Lake Dr N.
Seattle, WA 98115
Thieves of State (2015) by Sarah Chayes
The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together? In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link: corruption. Since the late 1990s, corruption has reached such an extent that some governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment. These kleptocrats drive indignant populations to extremes—ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion. Chayes plunges readers into some of the most venal environments on earth and examines what emerges: Afghans returning to the Taliban, Egyptians overthrowing the Mubarak government (but also redesigning Al-Qaeda), and Nigerians embracing both radical evangelical Christianity and the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. In many such places, rigid moral codes are put forth as an antidote to the collapse of public integrity.The pattern, moreover, pervades history. Through deep archival research, Chayes reveals that canonical political thinkers such as John Locke and Machiavelli, as well as the great medieval Islamic statesman Nizam al-Mulk, all named corruption as a threat to the realm. In a thrilling argument connecting the Protestant Reformation to the Arab Spring, Thieves of State presents a powerful new way to understand global extremism. And it makes a compelling case that we must confront corruption, for it is a cause—not a result—of global instability.
October 13th, 2018 3:00 – 5:00 PM
4334 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Lola’s House: Filipino Women Living With War (2017) by M Evelina Galang
During World War II more than one thousand Filipinas were kidnapped by the Imperial Japanese Army. Lolas’ House tells the stories of sixteen surviving Filipino “comfort women.”
Evelina Galang enters into the lives of the women at Lolas’ House, a community center in metro Manila. She accompanies them to the sites of their abduction and protests with them at the gates of the Japanese embassy. Each woman gives her testimony, and even though the women relive their horror at each telling, they offer their stories so that no woman anywhere should suffer wartime rape and torture. Lolas’ House is a book of testimony, but it is also a book of witness, of survival, and of the female body. Intensely personal and globally political, it is the legacy of Lolas’ House to the world.