Benjamin Morris / NPR

Seattle is known for its love of coffee but as Pacific Northwesterners know, it's a passion not unique to the West Side. So how did coffee become such a Northwest staple?

Starbucks may be the first entity people think of as an answer to this question. And although Starbucks did play a significant role in the eventual coffee craze, the Northwest’s history with the beverage goes deeper than that.

Patty Colmer from Citrus Heights, United States / WikiCommons

Nothing says love like silk ties, long-distance correspondence, divorce and murder-suicide. OK, maybe a hug and kiss would do, but for your Valentine’s Day entertainment here are some historical Northwest stories that have something to do with love.      

University of Washington

This is what the Tacoma Narrows Bridge looked like as it collapsed on November 7, 1940. High winds caused the bridge to twist, shake, and then fall apart.

The suspension bridge had always been known for being shaky. Builders nicknamed it “Galloping Gertie,” and it became a popular joyriding location, moving like a wave beneath drivers. Nobody expected it to collapse.

Leavenworth / http://www.leavenworth.org/

The town of Leavenworth is known for its Bavarian-themed Oktoberfest, alpine skiing, and spectacular holiday light displays. Leavenworth has often been named the ultimate holiday town which gives the North Pole a run for its money!

But Leavenworth didn’t start out that way. The town’s roots lie in three Native American tribes. The Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes all shared the land between Wenatchi Lake and Icicle Creek as hunting grounds.

Frances has it bad, and that's not good. Normally she's an intelligent, reliable, resourceful young woman, a companion to her widowed mother, keeper of the large house on Champion Hill in which the two of them rattle about, now that the men of the family have died. But then Frances falls in love, and the carefully wrought edifice of her life collapses in a heap of passion and catastrophe.

There are a lot of reasons not to read James Ellroy's newest novel, Perfidia — the opening shot in his proposed second L.A. Quartet. It's a long and sprawling book with about a million pages and 10,000 characters, so if that kind of thing scares you, go back to your Hunger Games and leave the grown-ups alone.

It's a brutal book. More than one person crawls home with a handful of his own teeth. A quick gunshot to the head? That's a merciful way to go in Ellroy's Los Angeles, and not many characters get that kindness.

Architect of the Capitol

Each state is represented by two statues in the United States Capitol Building. Some Oregon lawmakers have tried repeatedly to replace one of their state's specimens. Now, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is pulling together a commission to try to settle this statue squabble once and for all. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Not long after we're introduced to John, the protagonist of Katy Simpson Smith's The Story of Land and Sea, he's reflecting on the loss of his wife, who died in childbirth several years ago. John is a former sailor on pirate ships who gave up the privateer's life to take care of his daughter, Tabitha. "The grief, besides, has waned to washes of melancholy," Smith writes, "impressions connected to no specific hurt but to the awareness of a constant. He is in no pain but the pain of the living."

British army troops once kicked a soccer ball around as they went into battle. True story! In fact, it's one of the first and best anecdotes in Paul Fussell's classic study of World War I, The Great War and Modern Memory. That astonishing image illustrates just how naive the recruits were about modern war's potential for unprecedented destruction — and it sets the stage for their devastating shock and disillusionment.

Tasmanian-born novelist Richard Flanagan named his latest book after a spiritually intense travel journal by the 17th century Japanese poet Basho, but this extraordinary new novel presents us with a story much more tumultuous than the great haiku writer's account of his wanderings. Flanagan has written a sort of Australian War and Peace, centered on the extraordinary Dorrigo Evans (also Tasmanian-born), a heroic yet philandering doctor.