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Our Seattle    by Barbara Sleeper & Mike Sedam order for
Our Seattle
by Barbara Sleeper
Order:  USA  Can
Voyageur Press, 1998 (1998)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

When I made my first trip to Seattle, I realized immediately I hadn't planned enough time. Visiting a Seattle resident, I was able to see Seattle from the inside and yearned to see more. Then I found Our Seattle and felt this book would hold me until I could return. 'This is still a frontier city, not only geographically, but of the human spirit as well. It is a place of new beginnings, fresh starts, and leaps of faith. A place where people with new ideas in the arts, sciences, and business might hear an encouraging word' says Paul Owens, artist and author in the introduction.

Though he does not wear rose colored glasses, Owens obviously loves this wonderful city. He knows its drawbacks and has to come to terms with them. His short history of the city is excellent. 'Seattle is an enigma. It always has been', says Steve Shephard, a Seattle native. 'No one has ever defined what Seattle is. All you know is that you're happy here, and you don't want to leave.' Ascend the dizzying heights of the Space Needle for a dazzling view of Seattle and beyond. Visit Pike Place Market and dodge flying fish thrown by the vendors of the City Fish Market. Sit upon Rachel the smiling pig. Ride the Waterfront Trolley. 'Seattle is a boater's paradise' says, George Lewis, entrepreneur. He's right. All manner of craft, from large ferries to tugboats to pleasure boats, ply the harbor.

Prefer a city's culture? There's the fabulous Seattle Children's Theater. And visit the Suzallo Reading Room at the University of Washington. Do not miss this. I was in awe as I stepped back in time to gaze at its arched Gothic ceiling, carved wood bookcase, stained glass windows and glorious hanging lights. Stroll the magnificent grounds at the University, which touch the shore of Lake Washington. Museums include the Seattle Art Museum, the Asian Art Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Culture. Theater and Opera. What's not to like? More in tune with nature? Hovering over it all is 14,411-foot Mount Rainier, snowcapped and silent as it creates its own weather system. The area is a hiker's paradise with two mountain ranges, hundreds of lakes and glacier-melt rivers, state and national parks and thousands of miles of wilderness coastline.

Mike Sedam's photography in Our Seattle is stunning, and the captions accompanying the photos are well worth reading. But I'm afraid this book has not satisfied my yearning to return to Seattle. It has only whetted my appetite.

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