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Originally published Monday, November 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Lit Life

National recognition for Seattle's readergirlz online book community

Reps from a Seattle-based nonprofit attended the National Book Awards ceremony in New York City to pick up one of five "Innovations in Reading" prizes for their online book community readergirlz.

Seattle Times book editor

Washington state authors didn't win any prizes for their books last Wednesday at the über-prestigious National Book Awards ceremony. But reps from a Seattle-based nonprofit attended the glam New York City event to pick up one of five "Innovations in Reading" prizes for their online book community readergirlz.

Readergirlz ( is the brainchild of five writers in the young-adult genre — Dia Calhoun, Holly Cupala, Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen Headley and Melissa Walker. Here's a description from the NBA Web site: "To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month," plus a minimum of two special literary projects each year. One is Operation Teen Book Drop, which in the first two years has delivered "nearly 20,000 publisher-donated books to hospitalized teens across the country."

If you know any teen girls, or if you are one, check out this fun, accessible and inspiring Web site: visit and, or contact

Bailey-Coy wake

The groundbreaking Capitol Hill independent bookstore closed its doors last Friday but there will be one final, fabulous party at the store (414 Broadway E.) to celebrate its 26 years in operation. Starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 3, there will be a wake at the store and an auction to "say goodbye in style — and raise some cash to help the store," according to owner Michael Wells.

Here are some of the items you can pick up, according to Wells: a pair of white boxer shorts signed by David Sedaris, original cartoons out of the store guest book by Matt Groening and Lynda Barry, a poster signed by Annie Leibovitz, an original painting from the Big (expletive deleted) Hands series by Ellen Forney, signed first editions and other "very special and very odd items." Dates with two of Capitol Hill's politicians, state Sen. Ed Murray and Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark, will be auctioned off.

Plus food, champagne and entertainment by Fuchsia Foxxx and Dina Martina. Tickets are likely to go fast; go to, or try your luck at the door.

Everything you ever wanted

to know about James K. Polk

Robert W. Merry is a Washington, D.C., insider; he's the former president and editor-in-chief of Congressional Quarterly. But 40 years or so ago (1967-68, to be specific), Merry, whose dad was the managing editor of the Tacoma News Tribune, edited the University of Washington Daily (the student newspaper) and graduated from the UW.

Merry is in town to read from his new book, "A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent" (Simon and Schuster). You can hear him at 7 tonight at a free reading at Seattle's University Book Store (206-634-3400 or, and learn how the country grew by one-third during Polk's one-term presidential administration.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Mary Ann Gwinn appears on Classical KING-FM's Arts Channel at

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