By Tyler Steele
Humor writer and Wedgwood resident David Volk just released “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Seattle,” the latest travel book in a national series targeted not only at tourists, but locals looking to have fun without breaking the bank.
“I think it’s for everyone in Seattle,” Volk said while relaxing at Espresso Express at 6500 15th Ave. N.E. “Times are tough, and it doesn’t look like things are changing anytime soon. It’s really all about doing the things you’d already do for less, and working within the system while having a good time doing it.”
After the series received commercial success in New York, Chicago and Boston, Globe Pequot Press decided to tackle the Northwest.
“We needed an insider’s perspective for the book,” Editorial Director Amy Lyonssaid by phone from Guilford, Connecticut. “This one is very much for the person that lives in Seattle.”
Volkhighlighted some of his favorite free and inexpensive places for entertainment in the neighborhood:
• Cascade Bicycle Club: Cascade has several free bike rides a day every day of the year, all listed on the calendar on its Web site, including some that are only listed on its site (pg. 189).
• Cloud 9 Consignment Shop: The great news about this church-run consignment store is that they don’t mess around when it comes to moving stuff out the door (pg. 195).
• Great Harvest Bread at 5408 Sand Point Way N.E.: Sometimes the places that give free samples are so obvious that we tend to forget them. Great Harvest is a good example (pg.97).
“I’m the perfect person to do this book because I know how to pinch pennies till they scream,” declared Volk, who makes his living as a freelance journalist. “I wrote about what I’ve been doing for years — surviving on cheap haircuts and happy hours.”
Continue reading at the link below. You can find the guide at local bookstores and on Amazon.
His favorite is Pies and Pints, north of the University District, where “you can get happy hour appetizers for $ 5 or less.”
But for the “best bargain in town,” he said to check out the Seattle International Film Festival, where “you can see two free shows just by volunteering as an usher for one of them.”
“This book is for people who may have stumbled onto hard times but still like to have a nice glass of wine, want to go to a gallery or even attend an expensive show,” Lyons said. “Maybe they don’t have a lot of money anymore; that doesn’t mean their tastes have changed.”
“I wanted to help people maintain the quality of life, save money and do it all in a fun way,” Volk said. “This is what I’d been doing as a freelancer for years.”
In addition to writing for a number of national and regional publications, including Seattle Magazine, he was the editor for Coffee and Cuisine Magazine, despite hating the taste of coffee. He is also the author of “The Tribe Has Spoken: Life Lessons from Reality TV.”
“That one went nowhere,” Volk admitted with a laugh. “But I’m used to it. I could paper my walls with all the rejection I’ve faced over the years.”
As a stay-at-home dad with two preschoolers, he balanced parenthood, writing and self-employmentall at the same time.
“I had 60,000 words to write in 90 days. That doesn’t allow for a lot of time to play with the kids. On day 60, I stepped out of the office and noticed other people were living in the house,” he joked.
“We have such tight deadlines because everything changes so quickly,” Lyons explained. “We want the book to be as relevant as possible, and with the economy how it is — we’ve seen the other books do really well.”
“The fun part was writing the book,” Volk said. “I didn’t have to do a lot of research because I already knew the places.”
A resident of Seattle for the last 20 years, Volk stressed the importance of buying from local businesses and said he wants anyone interested in his book to buy it from a neighborhood retailer.
His favorite local book store, Third Place Books in Ravenna, can “usually get out-of-stock items within 24 hours.”
“Most books can be here the same day, or the next day at the latest,” confirmed book store clerk Mark Bonney, who has worked at the Ravenna location since it opened in 2003. “We do our best to support local authors by hosting events for them, allowing consignment and event printing books that you can’t get anymore” on the Lake Forest location’s own press.
“It’s like Google print — instead of being out for good we can print out-of-print books for $10 to $25,” Bonney explained.
During a time when most people don’t have a lot of extra cash, Volk said, “For $14.95, you’ll definitely make your money back on this one.”
Tyler Steele is an intern for our sister site, PhinneyWood. He is a journalism student at the University of Washington.