Your Next 5 Books: Entertaining books for vacation

Readers in Seattle: Did you know you can get a personalized list of recommended reading? Here’s an example of  Your Next 5 Books – a reader’s request and the librarian’s recommendations (these suggestions from Eric at out Northgate Branch):

A Seattle reader wrote to us and said:

The books that have captivated me most recently are: The Help, The Silver Linings Playbook, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Night Circus, and the Hunger Games series.
I am currently reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis but am working slowly through it. I have a few items saved for future reads but I often am worried to try books that are not recommended by friends. I have only recently found time to be able to read for my own pure enjoyment (graduating from college) and don’t really want to take time to read something I don’t enjoy. I like books that are hard to put down as all of the above titles have been. I do not like anything very sexual and I like strong characters. Something with a weak female character especially is disappointing to me.
I really appreciate any suggestions you can give me. I am about to go on vacation and specifically would love some ideas to keep me entertained while traveling.

And here’s what one of our librarians suggested:
Thank you for using Your Next 5 Books, our online service for readers! I created a personalized reading list for you in the library catalog, which you can find here:

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell is a smart and sweet collegiate coming-of-age story with excellent character development. Cath is a freshman in college and avid fan fiction writer coming to terms with the many changes that college brings. Rowell is, in my opinion, one of the best new authors of the past few years.

In her gripping biography “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed details her strenuous solitary journey along the Pacific Ocean. After enduring some pretty dark moments in her life (death and drugs among them), Strayed turned to an unforgiving and challenging wilderness for a fresh start. A powerful and memorable story, made even more so by the fact that Strayed had no prior experience before her seemingly reckless adventure.

I thought of “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz when I saw that you enjoyed “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” This novel isn’t written in the same way, but it’s a moving and beautifully written story of two teens finding an unexpected connection with each other as they come to terms with who they are and who they want to be. I’ll admit that this one got me to tear up more than once, and I didn’t want it to end.

Susanna Clarke’s suspenseful, magical, and impeccably written historical fantasy “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” might be a good fit for you if you enjoyed “The Night Circus,” though be warned that it’s a much, much longer story! Clarke creates a believable fictional world, blending history and footnotes, and, despite the surreal plot, relies on the character development to move the story forward.

Finally, I suggest you check out Elizabeth Wein’s unforgettable “Code Name Verity,” a stark first-person narrative of a female WWII-era spy enduring capture and torture by the Germans while retelling the steps (and friendship) that got her there. Very hard to put down!

Congrats on finishing college! It’s liberating to get to choose what you want to read, and I hope you find much to enjoy in these suggestions.



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Romantic Wednesdays: the Baddest Bad Boys

One of the great romantic themes is the redemption romance, or how someone who has been very, very good saves someone who has been very, very bad, all through the power of true love. In Regency romances, this was the “reformation of a rake” story. In paranormal romance, a vampire has been the hero of choice. After all, who could be badder than an immortal, undead, blood-sucker?

A demon, that’s who!

Demons are the baddest of the bad. We know they’ve given themselves completely to darkness and evil. But what if one of them could be saved? Then you have a sinfully dark hero with a tiny smidgen of light, just waiting for the right person to save them from their own evil nature.

demonfire by kate douglasIn Demonfire by Kate Douglas, a fallen demon is given 7 days and a borrowed human body to save the world from his demon ex-buddies. A fallen demon is one who has been punished for “good behavior” and is sent to the empty void. This mission is his one chance to earn paradise. Instead, he finds something even better on Earth, while he chases down demons with the help of a small-town reporter who can take out demon-possessed garden gnomes all by herself. (I’ve always wondered about those lawn gnomes, how about you?) With a lot of help from his new-found friends, including a lost prince of Atlantis, the demon manages to turn his netherworldly powers into a fighting chance to save earth, himself, and the ones he has come to love. Continue reading

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Seattle Rep’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf playbillPosted by Jen

We’re excited about the opening of Seattle Repertory Theatre‘s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? this Friday, April 18th. Set amidst campus politics, Albee’s hilarious and provocative masterpiece examines why we are sometimes cruelest to those we love most. George and Martha (theatre’s most dysfunctional couple) invite young Nick and Honey over for a nightcap. The evening devolves into an exercise of wits, a war of words in which the past is fair game.

We’ve selected some Library materials to enhance your enjoyment of the play. Continue reading

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Movie Mondays: A Cinematic History Lesson with Bill and Ted

Click here to view Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in the SPL catalogClick here to view The Seventh Seal in the SPL catalog    Click here to view A Matter of Life and Death

~posted by Mike

On their first outing, Wyld Stallyns guitarists Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan traveled through time in a phone booth (not unlike another wacky adventurer), kidnapping historical figures for their make-or-break history project. The fate of humanity hung in the balance. Genghis Khan went bananas in a sporting goods store. It was most excellent. Continue reading

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Frugal Friday Fun

Green Pig in Central displayMost of us don’t mind having fun that costs a little less….as long as it is just as fun as the costlier kind! Here are a few frugal AND fun ideas to get you ready for the weekend.

First, take advantage of the library’s museum passes program. With your SPL card, you can reserve and print out an admission pass to participating Seattle museums at no charge! Continue reading

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Hey, Big Spender

Your Eco-friendly Home cover imageOne of the toughest things we face when dealing with money is spending a LOT of it all at once. It feels like the minute you buy something really big it will go on sale or you’ll see something better. Face your fears by following these steps: Continue reading

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Raising a Money Smart Kid

Penny the Pig at the Central LibraryDoes trying to raise a money smart kid mean that you want to come home to a little Gordon Gecko calculating the P/E ratio for their next stock purchase? Probably not. Although my preschooler would look great in a power suit, I think I would rather focus on giving her the tools she needs to make thoughtful decisions about her personal finances based on her values. How in the world do I do that, though? Continue reading

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