Check our Book Club News section below for more details on each meeting and book.
Photo of building circa 1919
King’s Books is a community-oriented bookstore with 4500 square feet and approximately 100,000 books. We have an array of events weekly, from book clubs to author events, community gatherings to our annual letterpress festival. We opened on April 1, 2000 and have become the largest used and new independent bookstore in the Tacoma area. King’s Books is a proud member of the Stadium Historic District Business Association, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA), and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).
King’s Books is owned by sweet pea Flaherty, who took over the bookstore from John Schoppert and Pat McDermott in 2010. sweet pea has been a bookseller since 2000, starting at McDermott Books and A Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin. sweet pea moved to Tacoma to work at King’s Books in 2003.
King’s Books is graced by the presence of dapper shop cat Herbert, who joined the staff in 2015. You can often hear him talking around meal time. He is preceded by bookstore cats Harriet (at bookstore 2001-2008), Miko (at bookstore 2003-2014), and Atticus (at bookstore 2009-2018).
Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers traces the journeys of the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.
Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited. Twins take radically different paths: one becomes a professional gamer, the other a political activist. A woman moves to the city to work at a government call center and is followed by her violent ex-boyfriend. A man is swept into the high-risk, high-reward temptations of China’s volatile stock exchange. And a group of people sit, trapped for no reason, on a subway platform for months, waiting for official permission to leave.
With acute social insight, Te-Ping Chen layers years of experience reporting on the ground in China with incantatory prose in this taut, surprising debut, proving herself both a remarkable cultural critic and an astonishingly accomplished new literary voice.
About the author:
TE-PING CHEN’s fiction has been published in, or is forthcoming from, The New Yorker, Granta, Guernica, Tin House, and The Atlantic. A reporter with the Wall Street Journal, she was previously a correspondent for the paper in Beijing and Hong Kong. Prior to joining the Journal in 2012, she spent a year in China as a Fulbright fellow. She lives in Philadelphia.
MEET HUNTER WHITE, OUR BOOK CLUB LEADER
Hunter White moved to Tacoma in the fall of 2018 to pursue his interests in international business and trade with East Asian markets. Although originally a New England native (Connecticut, Vermont and Maine), he has worked and lived in several cities overseas including Taipei, Beijing, and Kunming.
Given his interests in various nations and cultures around the globe, he figured the Tacoma Sister Cities would be the ideal place to find like-minded folks in The City of Destiny.
This hunch turned out to be correct; soon after joining, Hunter was fortunate to receive the opportunity to begin organizing the Tacoma Sister Cities Book Club along with help from several key community members.
When not reading Book Club selections or indulging in trashy true crime novels, Hunter stays busy by serving as the chairman for the Tacoma-Taichung Sister City Committee. Outside of work and community involvement, Hunter stays active by playing competitive squash, harvesting wild shellfish, and tending to his vegetable garden.