#BookBingoNW2021 Olympic Host City

We love a good, challenging BookBingoNW2021  category! Case in point? Read a book – fiction or non-fiction – set in an Olympic Host City! Since the revival of the Modern Olympics in1896, the Games have been held in over forty different cities and towns around the world. Here are books featuring some of these far-flung locales.

The Rise of Athens, by Anthony Everitt. ATHENS, 1896. Presents a magisterial account of how Athens became the world’s most influential civilization, and how it helped establish the foundations of today’s world.

Vanessa and her Sister, by Priya Parmar. LONDON, 1908. This historical novel examines the adult lives of sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell circa 1900, focusing on the controversial and popular circle of the Bloomsbury Group.

Jazz Moon, by Joe Okonwo. PARIS, 1924. Ben Charles and his wife Angeline take part of the Harlem Renaissance scene in the 1920s. Ben finds himself drawn to Paris due to the influence of trumpeter Baby Back Johnston.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, by Deborah Riley Draper. BERLIN, 1936. Describes the inspiring story of 18 African Americans who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics despite the racism at home and abroad.

The Witch Hunter, by Max Seeck. HELSINKI, 1952 (1940). Investigating the grisly murder of a best-selling horror author’s wife, Jessica Niemi uncovers clues implicating a circle of dark witchcraft fanatics.

Adua, by Igiaba Scego. ROME, 1960. Adua, an immigrant from Somalia to Italy, has lived in Rome for nearly forty years, but now she must decide whether to make the journey home, and how to take charge of her own story and build a future.

The Master Key, by Masaka Togawa. TOKYO, 1964. The theft of the master key terrifies the elderly ladies living in an old apartment building in Tokyo and leads to the discovery of a child’s body buried in the basement.

Horizontal Vertigo, by Juan Villoro. MEXICO CITY, 1968. A history and tour of Mexico City from the Aztec period to today, and how fear of earthquakes led Mexicans to build their capital city outward rather than upward.

The Rat Catcher’s Olympics, by Colin Cotteril. MOSCOW, 1980. When the boycotting of the 1980 Olympic games gives the Democratic People’s Republic of Laos its first chance to compete, Dr. Siri Paiboun finagles the job of medical overseer only to uncover signs that one of the athletes may be an assassin.

The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by Vincent Zandri. LAKE PLACID, 1980. Sidney O’Keefe just wants to spend a peaceful weekend alone with his wife and daughter in the vacation paradise of Lake Placid, New York. Then his daughter goes missing.

But that’s just the beginning: check out this full chronological list of books set in Olympic Host Cities in our catalog – or share your own ideas in the comments!

If you haven’t yet, you can download your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Still looking for ideas? Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

      ~ Posted by David W

Let’s Swim! Kids Edition

Whether your little ones love the water or are a bit more hesitant to jump in, these pictures books celebrate the joy of getting in the water and splashing around. (Find our swimming-related reading for adults here.)

1, 2, 3, Jump! by Lisl H. Detlefsen
illustrated by Madeline Valentine
Recommended for ages 2+
A young girl gets ready for her first time in a swimming pool, learning about what to wear, putting worries to rest, and getting excited about what’s to come.

Bubbles… Up! by Jacqueline Davies
illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Recommended for ages 3+
Oh, the things you can do underwater! Hanging out at the community pool, a girl does handstands on the bottom, surfaces like a porpoise, and looks for treasure as families play around her. A thunderstorm interrupts the fun, and then it’s back in the water!

Swim Swim Sink by Jenn Harney
Recommended for ages 3+
Three little ducklings follow Mama into the water, and they swim, swim, until the last duckling … sinks. Determined, she comes up with elaborate solutions to solve her floating dilemma.

There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi
illustrated by Laurel Molk
Recommended for ages 3+
Eleanor, dog Sukie, and toy monkey Chunka Munka head to the beach, but while Eleanor is eager to dive in, Sukie worries about all the things that could be in the water, lobsters among them. When Chunka Munka floats off, Sukie discovers her bravery.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Recommended for ages 4+           
Finished with his swim lessons, Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board! But when he gets to the ladder, nerves hit. Jabari and his dad talk through his anxiety, and soon Jabari is jumping.

Sakamoto’s Swim Club by Julie Abery
illustrated by Chris Sasaki
Recommended for ages 5+
This true story follows Japanese Hawaiian swim coach Soichi Sakamoto as he trains the children of sugarcane workers swimming in the irrigation ditches of Maui sugar plantations, eventually creating a swim club that journeys to the 1948 Olympics.

~ posted by Andrea G.

#BookBingo2021 Asian American & Pacific Islander

There are so many great options for your #BookBingoNW2021 AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) square! Here are a few to get you started, and you’ll find many more on our latest AAPI Fiction Booklist.

The City of Good Death, by Priyanka Chapaneri. Banaras on the banks of the Ganges is esteemed a good place to truly die, never to be reborn, but when the ghost of Pramesh’s cousin Sagar returns to haunt the living, it is clear that his was not a good death at all.

House of Many Gods, by Kiana Davenport. When troubled Russian filmmaker Nikolai arrives in on Kauai, Dr. Ana Kapakahi finds her world expanding into new emotional territory, even as her once remote island home is threatened from without.

The Mermaid from Jeju, by Sumi Hahn. Nothing in her girlhood as one of the renowned free-divers off Jeju island off the coast of Korea could have prepared Junja for the coming of the Americans, or the remarkable odyssey of survival and thriving that would take her across the globe.

The Unpassing, by Chia-Chia Lin. Having emigrated from Taiwan to the wilds of rural Alaska, Gavin’s family finds themselves exposed to the ravages of illness and the suspicions of their new neighbors.

The Last Exiles, by Ann Shin. Poor country boy Jin enjoys none of Suja’s privilege among the elite of Pyongyang, but both are held in the tightening grip of an oppressive regime that does not look kindly upon their love.

Lurkers, by Sandi Tan. The residents of Santa Claus Lane in suburban Los Angeles may be a motley bunch with plenty of sordid problems, but twin sisters Rosemary and Miracle Park are pretty sure it’s better than moving back to Korea.

The Son of Good Fortune, by Lysley Tennorio. In this droll story of the devious resilience of those who don’t belong, undocumented Filipino mother and son are forced to rely on each other as they navigate their way through their lives “tago ng tago,” or “hiding and hiding.”

The Majesties, by Tiffany Tsao. Who poisoned the shark fin soup, and why? Gwendolyn, the only survivor of the freshly massacred Sulinado clan, may have the answer, but she’s in a coma, in this twisted tale of superrich Chinese oligarchs of Indonesia.

Tiare in Bloom, by Celestina Hitiura Vaite. When orphan baby Tiare lands on his doorstep, Pito Tehana gets a second chance at parenthood, and just maybe to get back into his wife’s good graces. Third of an enchanting series of Tahitian family stories.

If you haven’t yet, you can download your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Still looking for ideas? Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

     ~ Posted by David W.

Let’s Swim!

This return of warmer weather has me thinking about swimming – dipping my feet in a lake,* seeking out a pool. I’m still feeling cautious about being in proximity to people, even as pandemic precautions wane, which means that while I scope out swimming spots I’m also finding books to satisfy my urge.

Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey by Roger Deakin
Originally published in Britain in 1999 and now being published for the first time in the US, Waterlog is Deakin’s thoughtful reflection on swimming in wild places. Inspired by John Cheever’s story “The Swimmer,” Deakin began with a dip in the moat behind his farmhouse, and then conceived of a plan to swim the waterways of Britain, pristine and polluted alike. Swimming in seas, springs, rivers and ponds, he reflects on the history and geography of the waterways he visits, and on the general responsibility of environmental stewardship and maintenance of natural places that are open to all. Deakin’s work launched an international “wild swimming” movement; it’s good to see it published on our shores. (For a fantastic, in-depth review, check out Anelise Chen’s story in The Atlantic).

Continue reading “Let’s Swim!”

Celebrate Pride with the latest LGBTQIA+ Fiction.

June is here: let’s celebrate the start of Pride month by dipping into various great LGBTQIA+ Summer fiction. Here are just a few highlights drawn from our big new list of LGBTQIA+ titles in the catalog. 

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark.  Treachery and tolerance, loyalty and love clash in this action-packed queernorm epic fantasy debut set in the wild, desert outreaches of a crumbling empire under revolt.

Crosshairs, by Catherine Hernandez. As a totalitarian CIS white regime sweeps across Canada, the “Others” gather in the shadows to mount a resistance, awaiting their chance to restore their country’s sanity. Continue reading “Celebrate Pride with the latest LGBTQIA+ Fiction.”