The Mirror asked local leaders to share their current or favorite reads and recommendations to highlight the importance of literacy, at all ages, in the Federal Way community.
Mayor Jim Ferrell
Current read: “The Hardest Job in the World, The American Presidency” by John Dickerson. The book explores the complex and changing role of the presidency. It goes through successful examples of those who have held the job and those that weren’t as successful. The presidency is so central to our Republic and those that occupy the office are in the center of the news daily. It’s a great read to learn lessons about what works and what doesn’t from a leadership perspective. I really enjoyed it.
Recommendation: 1. “Profiles in Courage,” by John F. Kennedy. It won then-Senator Kennedy a Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. It profiles examples of United States Senators who exemplified rare courage in standing for principles that also came with intense criticisms for doing what they believed to be the right thing. For anyone considering public service, it is a must read. It’s also timely based on what is occurring in our nation now. I have given this book as a gift many times and it’s a hard one to keep on my shelf!
2. “Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival,” by Peter Stark. This book is a must read for those interested in Northwest history and early American history. It’s about the explorers and settlers that immediately followed Lewis and Clark. There were two teams that went to settle Astoria (named for the rich New York real estate tycoon John Jacob Astor, who financed this daring expedition). Two groups set out from New York, one by land, one by sea. It’s an amazing true life adventure story that I did not know about previously. When Gov. Jay Inslee was in my office and saw it on my shelf, he said he had just finished reading it and was moved by it!
30th District State Representative Jamila Taylor
Current read: “Children of Blood and Bone,” by Tomi Adeyemi. I chose this because I have a new love for science fiction and I love how the African culture is woven into the narrative in this book in the Young Adult genre. I’d recommend this book and I also want to read science fiction titles by other Black women authors such as Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemison when I have more time this summer.
30th District State Representative Jesse Johnson
Current read: “The Water Dancer,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I heard the author speak at a public lecture last year and was drawn to his story. I would highly recommend this book.
FUSION nonprofit Executive Director Robin O’Grady
Current read: “The Big Leap,” by Gay Hendricks. I was most drawn to the book because it describes “upper limits” and how these stand in the way of achieving our full potential if we allow them to.
Recommendation: A great book I would recommend to a friend is “The Obstacle is the Way,” by Ryan Holiday. Our toughest trials are actually our greatest triumphs, and if we keep our eyes and hearts open, we can learn so much from them.
Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO Rebecca Martin
Current read: “A Long Petal of the Sea,” by Isabelle Allende. I like her work in magic realism and this historical fiction is an interesting love story against the backdrop of Spanish Civil War. Plus, the intertwine of poet Pablo Neruda in this novel is sublime. Also, I am absorbed by the motif of fate in “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee. Truthfully, I picked this book up because it is being adapted for a film starring Lee Min-Ho.
Recommendation: “The Parable of the Sower” by the incandescent Octavia Butler. Science fiction of a dystopian society is riveting, prescient storytelling. She follows with “The Parable of the Talents,” and both are good reads.
President of Highline College Dr. John Mosby
Current read: “Black Educational Leadership,” by Rachelle Rogers-Ard and Christopher B. Knaus because of my work as an Black male, educator and college president. I’m always looking for opportunities to learn and grow as a person.
Recommendation: “The College Dropout Scandal,” by David Kirp. Sad and sobering look at our students and their many challenges to achieve an education. This book was also pre-COVID, so the information in the book packs an even more brutal and realistic punch in understanding the numerous roadblocks our students face when simply trying to receive an education. Basically, during the academic year, I read academic books. And during summer, I read everything else.
Lakehaven Water and Sewer District General Manager John Bowman
Current read: “The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars,” by Jo Marchant. It was a Christmas present from my son. He knew I liked the mysteries of the stars, science and history. This book wraps them all together. It is well written and I would recommend it to anyone with similar interests. The author explores how humans viewed the stars throughout the ages while painting a picture of how the sky above has influenced our way of thinking and our growth as a civilization.
Federal Way Public Schools Board Director District #5 Hiroshi Eto
Favorite book: “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” by Ulysses S. Grant.
Federal Way Public Schools Board Director District #3 Luckisha Phillips
Favorite book “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Federal Way City Councilmember Linda Kochmar
Favorite book: “Profiles in Courage,” by John F. Kennedy.
Federal Way City Council President Susan Honda
Favorite book: My favorite book is a book called “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. I first read it in junior high school. My mother was a teacher and taught reading and students who didn’t speak English. She used to force me to stop reading and go outside to play. I love to read and I always thought it was strange she made me play instead of reading all day.
I read the book “Christy” at least once a year. Mom took it to her school once, then one of her students read it and lost it! I was quite upset. So, Mom went to the bookstore and tried to buy me a new copy, but she couldn’t. It was out of print. We went to used bookstores and eventually found a copy. I still have that copy, even though the pages are yellow.